Hmm... I wonder what kind of food they sell here?

Burrito Stand in Bishkek

Published: April 24, 2014

Mexican Fast Food Stand
Советская пр.
(Walk South from London School on the West side of the street for about 15 minutes)
Meals for $3

If I told you that my favorite Burrito in the whole world was from a stand in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, you probably wouldn’t believe me. Heck, I don’t believe me when I think about it. Then I get smashed back down to Earth and realize that this is reality, and it is usually way stranger than fiction. My favorite burrito on this planet, in fact, is from a small stand in Bishkek.

I heard rumors that this place makes a mean burrito, at least for Kyrgyzstan, so I decided I would try it. I wasn’t going in just as some half-starved, travelling student who found himself in Central Asia, I was also going in as a Buffalonian. You see, back home, in Buffalo, New York, we pride ourselves on our cheap, low-quality food, whatever it may be, from many local and beloved establishments. Low quality food is one of the only high quality things we have back home. In so many words, cheap food is what I do. I take it over anything five-star, any day of the week.

Give it to me please. Thank you.
Give it to me please. Thank you.

So when I heard of this burrito joint being not too far south of The London School (where SRAS students dorms are and classes are held) on Советская (Sovietskaya) Street, I decided I would check it out. I heard about the guy who ran the place from a few different people, and began to feel like I was in a kung-fu movie where instead of martial arts, it was burritos that he had mastered. “Some say he lived in America and worked in restaurants there;” “Some say he studied abroad in Mexico just to learn their culinary arts.” Some say this, some say that. If the lore surrounding the guy who ran this joint was extensive enough, I figured there had to be some merit to his food.

These burritos sure did knock my socks off. When I came upon the stand, the first thing I noticed was how clean it was – down to the polished windows, microphones, containers for foods and all of the shelves. This place was clean by American and Western European hospital operating room standards. The hypochondriac in me was given carte blanche to stuff his face.

Rug burrito! Your mother loves it, your father loves it... your whole family loves it!!
Rug burrito! Your mother loves it, your father loves it… your whole family loves it!!

There is a very minimalist quality to this stand. Everything is simple from the menu to the aesthetic of this place. No fluff, no nothing save for the food. I got myself two beef burritos (planning on saving one for later if I liked it, or giving it to someone who would rather have it if I didn’t like it). They have a system not unlike Chipotle type restaurants in the United States, except the hype surrounding this burrito is justified, unlike Chipotle (you hear that New Yorkers????).

The burritos all together were cheap, 180 soms ($3.31), in fact I would stay grossly underpriced for the quality and taste of the food.

By the time I got back to the dorms with my loot, my mouth was watering. What is there to say really that hasn’t already been said? I bit into the burrito and my eyes watered too. It was cathartic almost. It was the first thing I ate in this part of the world, from back home, that didn’t have some Central Asian/Russian spin on it. No offense to dill or anything, but god, they like putting it in everything. It is like an Easter egg of disappointment to be found in every meal.

The burrito tasted just like a perfect, classic burrito, no more, no less. Whatever sort of sorcery the Kyrgyz burrito master uses at this place works.

About the author

Nick Cappuccino

Nick Cappuccino is currently a junior at CUNY Hunter College in New York City, majoring in Russian language, and double minoring in Geography and German language. Nick has also been studying Persian Farsi for the past two years with instructors from New York City’s ABC language exchange, and Turkish for one year with instructors from New York City’s Ataturk School at the United Nations. He has also studied Russian language at Indiana University’s SWSEEL summer language workshop. Nick is doing his semester abroad with SRAS in Bishkek Kyrgyzstan, where he is studying Russian and Tajik with a Charles Braver Grant.

Program attended: Challenge Grants: Funding for Study Abroad

View all posts by: Nick Cappuccino

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