Author: Eirene Busa

Buying Eyeglasses in Bishkek

Ossé Optical Shop Address: Toktogula 86 (corner of Toktogula and Sovietskaya) Phone: +996-312-662-763 Today I have become four-eyed. I bought eyeglasses in Bishkek. It was on my list of things to do before heading home to Washington in 48 hours, along with buying a kazan (a cast-iron pot) to make plov, and kalpaks (Kyrgyz felt […]

Sushi in Bishkek

Furusato Japanese Dining Kitchen Address: Bokunbaev St (btwn Logvinenko & Razzakov) Hours: Weekdays 11:30am-10pm, Saturday 5pm-10pm, Sunday Closed If there’s one thing most in Bishkek can agree on, it’s that restaurant service here sucks. There is no sense of urgency, no sense of accommodation, no desire to please, definitely no smiles, and an overall attitude […]

Long and Winding Road from Bishkek to Osh, Kyrgyzstan

This past weekend, I visited Osh, the “southern capital” of Kyrgyzstan. I’ve always wanted to go because I heard the 620-kilometer Bishkek-Osh Highway, the only main road connecting Russia with the south of Central Asia, was gorgeous. I also wanted to see “the south.” People always talk about Kyrgyzstan’s cultural, linguistic, and political “north-south divide,” […]

Restaurant 134 and “Succulent Dog” in Bishkek

Restaurant 134 Address: Southeast corner of Axunbaeva and Yunusalieva (formerly Karl Marx St.) Hours: 9:00am-11:00pm Prices: Dog stirfy = 150 som ($3.13), dog soup = 120 som ($2.50) It is well known that there is a significant Korean population in Kyrgyzstan today because Stalin deported Koreans living in the Russian Far East during World War […]

Restaurant Hawaii in Tokmok, Kyrgyzstan

One of the most bizarre restaurants I have ever been to in Kyrgyzstan is called “Restaurant Hawaii,” a dining destination outside of Bishkek in a small town called Tokmok. For most people, this restaurant is one of three reasons to visit Tokmok, an otherwise sleepy, dilapidated, still-Soviet-looking town. The other two reasons to visit are […]

Samsa in Bishkek

Chaikhana Adish-Ata Address: Nekrasova Street (West Bishkek) Hours: 8:00am-11:00pm Prices: 60 som ($1.25) per samsa I have always admired the “one cook, one dish” tradition. To paraphrase food critic Anthony Bourdain, this is the tradition where one lone artisan, or family of artisans, makes the same wonderful dish year after year, generation after generation, and […]

Weekend in Bokunbaeva, Kyrgyzstan

The best parts of Kyrgyzstan summers are weekend getaways to Lake Issyk Kul, one of the world’s deepest and highest lakes. Issyk Kul, which means “hot lake” in Kyrgyz, is the ultimate beach destination. It’s “hot” because it never freezes – but that is due to its salt content, not because it’s actually hot. Lake […]

“Special Beshbarmak” in Bishkek

Ozgocho Beshbarmak Café Address: Hекрасова 9А (south side of Osh Bazaar) Hours: 7:30am-11:00pm Prices: 165-195 som for beshbarmak This past weekend, I checked out a restaurant that offers 12 variations of one of Kyrgyzstan’s most beloved dishes. What might that be, you ask? Here’s a hint: It’s noodly, meaty, and eaten with the hands. If […]

Seven of Bishkek’s Best Dungan Eateries

One of the best parts of living in Bishkek is its cuisine. With over 80 ethnicities represented in Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek offers a smorgasbord when it comes to answering the question, “What’s for dinner?” This week I bring to you the wonderful world of Dungan cuisine. But first, who are the Dungans? The Dungans, also known […]

Who are You in Kyrgyzstan

The latest online video to have gone viral is “What Kind of Asian Are You?”, a comedy sketch co-directed by David Neptune and Ken Tanaka for YouTube’s Comedy Week extravaganza, a program that features live performances and video debuts from some of the top names in comedy.  In the video, a Korean-American woman is asked […]

Summer Sips on the Streets of Bishkek

You know it’s summer in Bishkek when refreshment stands pop up all over the city. At least, that’s how I understand it. What a welcome change from the gray, wintry Bishkek I first knew when I arrived in the dead of winter of January. Kyrgyzstan’s capital is now brightened with striped umbrellas, the chatter of […]

Classic Central Asian Teahouse in Bishkek

Jalal-Abad Chaikhana Address: Togolok Moldo 54/a Meals for ~$3-6 Hours: 8am- 11pm Telephone: +996 312 61 00 83 If I had out-of-town visitors this summer, I would take them to Jalal-Abad Chaikhana, a teahouse in Bishkek named after the central-western Kyrgyzstan province of the same name. Jalal-Abad Province is located about a 10-hour drive from […]

Cave Coffee in Bishkek

Cave Coffee Address: Gorkii Street 19 Tea and Coffee for ~$2 Meals for ~$4-6 Hours: 8am-12am Telephone: 0312 89 99 22 Website: http://cavecoffee.kg One of my favorite places to get work done is Cave Coffee, a sleek and whimsical cafe conveniently located one block from the London School. Cave Coffee is a new fixture in […]

Interview with Patriotic Music Professor in Bishkek

If you want to better understand a country’s government, study its culture. (Если хочешь ближе узнать историю государства, изучай его культурe.) In that spirit, I sat down with one of Kyrgyzstan’s top experts on the most important spheres of Kyrgyz national culture — the art of storytelling. Duishaliev Kamchibek Sharshenovich is a charming music professor […]

Bigger, Better Street Food in Bishkek

Altyn Dan Address: Corner of Sovietskaya and Kievskaya Streets Price: Shawarma – 80 som, Gamberger – 60 som One of the Bishkek’s most popular street food joints is a kiosk on the corner of Sovietskaya and Kievskaya called Altyn Dan (in Kyrgyz, Алтын ден), which means “Golden Grain.” Everyday, no matter the time, no matter […]

Turkish Kebab in Bishkek

Adanali Café Address: First floor of Moto Shopping Complex. Corner of Toktogul and Sovietskaya Streets Hours: Open Everyday, 9am-9pm Cost of Signature Dish “Adana Kebab” = 165 Kyrgyz Som ($3.50) You know you’ve found your favorite eatery when you’ve eaten there three times in one week — by yourself. Yep, that was me last week […]

Chechen Journalist Calls Kyrgyzstan Her “Homeland”

Chechen Journalist Kamila Zhabrailova Talks about the Chechen-Kyrgyz Experience In Bishkek this past week, Chechen journalist Kamila Zhabrailova talked to SRAS students about the history and culture of Chechnya, the Chechen disapora in Kyrgyzstan, and her attitude towards the Boston marathon bombings. The Tsarnaev brothers are of Chechen descent and had spent some of their […]

Up Close and Personal with a Manaschi

A Performance and Interview with Nazarkyl Seydrakmanov This past week, SRAS students met with one of Kyrgyzstan’s most famous manaschis, Nazarkyl Seydrakmanov. Manaschis are Kyrgyz professional storytellers of the Manas epic poem, the longest epic poem in world history. During this meeting, Nazarkyl discussed his personal life story, the artistry of his craft, and gave […]

Seven Things to Love in Almaty

Seven Things to Love in Almaty By Eirene Busa For those looking for a spring weekend getaway in Central Asia (and who isn’t?), book a trip to Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city and previous capital. Almaty is clean, modern, full of spacious, well-manicured parks, and it has a stunning backdrop of the snow-covered Ala-Too Mountains (or, […]

Mad for Manas in Talas

Manas Ordo Address: 10km east of Talas, at the foot of the Manastyn-Chokusu Mountain, on the bank of the Kenkol mountain river Price: Adults – 20 som; Children – 5 som, Guided Tour – 300 som Hours: 9:00am-7:00pm There are few essential things to know about Kyrgyzstan. One of these is the country’s folkloric hero, […]

“Swimming on Land” in Bishkek

Nil Cafe Address: Corner of Shopukova and Zhibekzholu (Behind the Bishkek Circus) Dancing Hours: 10:30pm-5:00am Cover Charge: Sunday-Thursdays: Free, Friday-Saturday: 100 som This past weekend, I went to one of my favorite weekend haunts, a Tajik-owned place called Nil Café. It was dance time. I needed to forget about my busy academic schedule, my impending […]

Przhevalskii Museum near Karakol

Przhevalskii Museum Hours: 9:00am-5:00pm Price: Students – 40 som; Foreigners – 70 som Address: On the road to Pristan Przhevalsk and Mikhailovka Ever since I arrived in Kyrgyzstan, I have been told to go to Issyk-Kul, an oblast located about five hours east of Bishkek, and location of the famed “hot lake” that never freezes. […]

Top Ten Reasons Americans Should Visit Turkmenistan

This past week, I took a break from Kyrgyzstan and spent a few days traveling through Turkmenistan, visiting the cities of Ashgabad, Mary, Merv, Geok-Tepe, and Turkmenabad. This trip was arranged by The School of Russian and Asian Studies and The London School of Bishkek for participants of The Central Asian Studies study abroad program. […]

“Starbucks with Soul” in Bishkek

Sierra Café Hours: Weekdays 7:30am-11:00pm, Friday and Saturday open all night Address: Manas 57/1, between Toktogul and Kiev (left of Russian Embassy) Telephone: 0312-31-15-06-06 Website: http://www.sierra.kg/en/cafe Ever notice how when you go abroad, all of a sudden your eating habits change and you start craving things you never craved before? I do. For me, when […]

A Taste of the Korean Diaspora in Bishkek

Hoban Restaurant/Кафе “Хобан” ул. Фрунзе, 539 Price: Lunch Buffet = 250 som Tel: (0312) 32-31-47 Buffet hours: 11:30am-2:30pm weekdays Restaurant hours: 9:00am-9:00pm everyday Back home in the District of Columbia, one of my favorites eateries is a small Indian grocery store/café that offers a $6 buffet. Yep, you heard me right, a $6 buffet. And […]

Kyrgyz Film Showing at Cosmopark Theater in Bishkek

Kyrgyz Film Showing at Cosmopark Movie Theater in Bishkek Director and Producer: Ruslan Akun Release Date: February 14, 2013 Genre: Social Drama, Comedy Cost of Movie Ticket: 130 som For those still nursing roses (or wounded hearts) from this past Valentines’ Day, fear not: Love is still in the air — that is, if you […]

Circus in Bishkek

“Moscow Oceanarium” / Московский Океариум January 26-February 17, 2013 Saturday and Sundays, 12:00pm and 4:00pm Price: 500 som – 700 som http://circus.312.kg/ On Sunday afternoon, my London School colleagues and I caught the last day showing of the circus that has been in town the past month, the “Moscow Oceanarium.” I have been looking forward […]

Chinese-Kyrgyz Photography Exhibit in Bishkek

Песнь о земле. Китай. / Song of the Earth. China. С 4 фебрвля до 14 фебрвля Зал Союза художников КР им. С. Чуйкова “Добрый Парк” http://confederation-art.ru Cost: Free Hours of operation: Tuesday-Saturday: 10am-4pm, Monday: Closed For those interested in a Kyrgyz-Chinese narrative that does not include the geo-political centric words, “China’s economic expansion,” “China’s competition with […]

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