A real Chinese cuisine
Today, we – friends and I – were in a Chinese cafe in Bishkek called Zi Syan, one of the favourite places of those, who like Chinese food. There are many Chinese cafes and restaurants in Bishkek, but Zi Syan attracts more clients because of its great food, fast but not great service, and reasonable prices.
Location of Zi Syan in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (small red pointer)
However, the greatest Chinese cafe I have ever been in Kyrgyzstan is located next to Karasuu bazaar in Karasuu city that’s in 25 km to the North-West from Osh. I unexpectedly came across this Chinese cafe when I was in a business trip in Karasuu doing some fixing job for a foreign journalist who did a story on Chinese migrants in southern Kyrgyzstan. On the face of it, the cafe does not look attractive – lame service, bad furniture and interior, and waiters barely speak any local languages. But the thing that makes it special is that it is real Chinese – it serves mainly Chinese people who work in Karasuu bazaar, and uses only Chinese-made products for food. And it makes the cafe very special, because unlike other Chinese cafes in Kyrgyzstan, it’s food, service, and even tableware are not integrated or assimilated (however you call it) with the local Kyrgyz/Uzbek/Russian cuisine.
Hidden behind the Chinese food store, where you can buy everything – from Chinese-made drinking water to alive turtles, the Chinese cafe attractes many clients, though, it has a very small place for visitors – just 4 tables. It is because clients mainly take their food to their shops not to lose their precious time at work. The fact that cafe has a TV with parabolic antenna set to Chinese TV channels, and that everyone speaks Chinese and barely understands local languages makes you feel like the teleport machine has suddenly taken you to China 🙂
And the food is great there! After explaining what we wanted to eat by pointing at products
(cuz neither my knowledge of local languages nor Russian and English was useful), we had a chance to watch and enjoy how a cook prepared our meals. It was an awesome scene. We did not wait long. The meals were cooked very fast and they were finger-licking delicious.
So, if you like Chinese cuisine and by chance come to southern Kyrgyzstan, do not miss the Chinese cafe in Karasuu.