The spirit of the steppe and nomadic culture is interweaved into Kazakhstan’s roots and traditions and can be seen in the food still today. The Kazakhs’ nomadic life is reflected in the national cuisine, At The Ritz-Carlton, Almaty, the chefs work hard to preserve the traditions and rich food culture of the Kazakh people.
First, guests are served koumiss or shubat. These drinks are made from mare and camel milk and have not only a healing and toning effect but also a sweet-salted flavor.
Meat is an integral ingredient in the majority of Kazakh dishes. The main course in Kazakh cuisine is "beshbarmak" which translates from Kazakh as "five fingers". You can taste authentic beshbarmak at any Kazakh wedding, where the hosts will never refuse to treat a guest. The Ritz-Carlton, Almaty is always ready to prepare this dish according to newlyweds’ own recipe, which is passed down through families from generation to generation.
For guests of honor and elderly guests, Kazakh hosts share the head as a sign of respect. Each part of the head is also given a special meaning. For example, the ears are cut off and given to young men and girls, as a way of telling them to be attentive. The best part of the ribs is always given to sons-in-law and grooms; it signifies a close connection – “touch chests and become related”. The tail part is never given to girls so that they don't grow up to be thoughtless and air-headed. Chefs at The Ritz-Carlton, Almaty, are sensitive to these traditions and work hard to honor them whenever possible.
The meal is capped off with a cup of tea with milk. Tea is not poured to the brim, only half or less, so that the guest does not feel like the hosts are waiting for them to leave. You can relax, drinking a cup of after-dinner tea in the traditional Kazakh style daily in the Sky Lounge from 15:00 until 17:00 with a beautiful view of the Trans-Ili Alatau mountains on the 30th floor of The Ritz-Carlton, Almaty.