Amazing Shashlik in Almaty
In Kazakhstan’s biggest city, there are hundreds of places to eat shashlik (grilled skewered meats), but the best we found were at the extremely popular Shashlik on Kirova. The level of attention and care that went into this food was unreal. The owner oversees every part of the process, starting with the fresh whole animal carcasses delivered each morning and butchered on site. Horse, lamb and beef—both organs and prime cuts—are marinated, skewered and grilled over hot coals made of wood from an Asian scrub brush that burns hot and long, yielding a unique smoke flavor like mesquite. The skewers cook very close to the surface of the coals, so the meat drippings and fat fall onto the fire, turning into steam that seasons the meat as it rises. The technique is amazing. It’s simple, but don’t be fooled, it’s not easy.