Reporter’s Notebook: A manti restaurant brings The Silk Road ancient taste to visitors in Kazakhstan

The Silk Road was a trade route from Europe to Asia from 300 B.C. to the 16th century.  A part of The Silk Road went through Kazakhstan where my home was.

During a summer 2021 trip to central Kazakhstan, my fellow travelers and I stopped at a manti restaurant situated in the corner of a car service center in the Karaganda region. While the restaurant did not have a sign, it is very popular with truck drivers.

My friend, a Kazakhstanian semi-truck business owner, convinced me that I had to try manti, which is several large size dumplings with meat filling, at that restaurant in the middle of nowhere. Manti is a culinary brand of Asia and a traditional dish in Turkey, central Asia, Korea, and China. There is a theory that manti was invented in ancient China. Now, the entree is a popular food in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and in other places of the former USSR. See the photo essay about the manti restaurant experience in Kazakhstan.

A map indicating the physical features of Kazakhstan. Image credited to Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.
The manti restaurant service was friendly and fast. The restaurant looked clean and cozy inside. The truck drivers standing in the fast-moving line looked happy because of getting tasty food there. Besides manti, the restaurant offers soups, cakes, salads, and Korean food, which is also popular in Kazakhstan. Photo by Tatyana Nyborg.
Manti is a number of large size dumplings with pork or beef stuffing in them. The size of dumplings varies from two by three inches or larger. Manti is cooked in salted boiling water or steamed for about 45 minutes and often served with red powdered pepper on them. Butter or sour cream could be added on the side. Manti dumplings are quite juicy and delicious. It takes an average two or three manti to be filling for a petite size woman as myself. Photo by Tatyana Nyborg.
The restaurant offers tea, coffee, juices, and soft drinks. We decided to purchase a bottle of a soft drink. Its name is “Baikal,” which is the name of a famous lake in Russia. The drink has a sweet herbal flavor, and it is carbonated. “Baikal” with manti was a delicious combination. Photo by Tatyana Nyborg.