The national Tatar cuisine is rich and diverse; it is inseparable from the history and culture of the Tatar people; it also has its own traditions and customs. We’ll tell you about the most popular ones.
Oddly enough, the most famous Tatar dish is not a main dish at all, but rather a dessert. Due to its high flavor and nutritional properties, minimum of ingredients, and ease of preparation, it is chak-chak that became popular beyond the boundaries of Tatarstan. This delicacy can be stored for a rather long time, so tourists delightfully bring it home as both a souvenir and a sweet gift.
This dessert consists of dough fried in honey. It is a perfect treat with either tea or coffee and it can be served both as an everyday and as a festive dish. The world’s largest chak-chak, weighing one ton, was prepared for the 1000th anniversary of Kazan in 2005.
Meat lovers will enjoy beshbarmak. They will be able to touch upon ancient traditions in the literal sense while eating this dish. This dish is traditionally eaten with your hands and this is evident in its name (beshbarmak means «five fingers» in the Tatar language). But if you don’t want to get your hands dirty or you’re not enticed by the nomads’ traditions, you can always ask for cutlery.
A ‘number’ can also be found in the name of the echpochmak, a local pastry with a meat filling (echpochmak means «triangle» in the Tatar language). This pastry has a triangular shape. The national Tatar beverage is kumys, which is a fermented dairy product made from horse’s milk. It is sour-sweet in taste and does an excellent job of quenching thirst, which is very important during the hot season, although it’s certainly not something that everyone will like. But you should not be upset if you don’t like it, as the Tatars have other national cultured dairy products made from cow’s, goat’s, or sheep’s milk — ayran and katyk.
Finally, there’s plov. This dish made from meat and rice is usually cooked in a large cauldron, which symbolizes abundance and hospitality. It’s not a mere coincidence that the main wedding palace in Kazan, the Kazan Family Center, is built in the shape of a huge cauldron and bears the same name (kazan means «cauldron» in Russian). From the viewing platform on the center’s roof, you can enjoy the beautiful panoramic view of the Kazan Kremlin, the Kremlin embankment, and many other attractions of Kazan.