The word “Rayhon” (basil) originates from the Arabic language and means eternal bliss. Uzbeks are fond of this fragrant herb; they plant it in gardens and add it to national meals, salads & cold drinks.
Whenever I’m hungry and willing to have a quick & delicious “Uzbek meal break”, I’ll definitely head to Rayhon. Why? It’s cheap, yummy and makes me happy.
As you enter the main hall, you can see several Uzbek women in the process of cutting noodles for norin, which is made properly here, by the way!
On a leather-covered menu you can find a variety of national dishes. Personally, I always have a course meal. While waiting for the main dish you can enjoy starters. I start with traditional Achichuk salad (tomato, cucumber, onion) — fresh and healthy. If not salad, I have syuzma, which resembles the texture of cream cheese, is pleasantly sour and goes well with hot Uzbek bread (lepyoshka). The next dish to come is the rich Mastava soup with rice, vegetables and small pieces of lamb inside.
Having the course meal means expecting to eat generously, why not order two pieces of manty?. These are thin-dough juicy dumplings stuffed with lamb meat, onion and spices. Adding black pepper and buttermilk gives manty a special aftertaste.
Finally, I am ready to conclude my meal with a cup of hot sweet black tea with lemon. Sipping my tea Tashkent-style tea, I hardly notice the noise around. I am happy and full.