Assuming you can cope with the cuisine of Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany here are some notes on what you might expect after that. You should find plenty of carbs in the form of noodles and dumplings as well as exotic meats & milks like horse and camel!
Polish cuisine (Polish: Kuchnia polska) is a style of cooking and food preparation originating in or widely popular in Poland. Polish cuisine has evolved over the centuries to become very eclectic due to Poland’s history and it shares many similarities with other West Slavic countries like neighbouring Czech and Slovak. It has also been widely influenced by other Central European cuisines, namely German, Austrian and Hungarian as well as Jewish, French, Turkish and Italian culinary traditions. Polish-styled cooking in other cultures is often referred to as à la polonaise.
Polish cuisine is rich in meat, especially pork, chicken and beef, in addition to a wide range of vegetables, spices, and herbs. It is also characteristic in its use of various kinds of noodles as well as cereals and grains. In general, Polish cuisine is hearty and heavy in its use of butter, cream, eggs and extensive seasoning. The traditional dishes are often demanding in preparation. Many Poles allow themselves a generous amount of time to serve and enjoy their festive meals, especially Christmas Eve supper (Wigilia) or Easter breakfast, which could take a number of days to prepare in their entirety.
Among the well-known Polish national dishes are bigos [ˈbiɡɔs]; pierogi [pʲɛˈrɔɡʲi]; kiełbasa; pork loin kotlet schabowy breaded cutlet [ˈkɔtlɛt sxaˈbɔvɨ]; gołąbki cabbage roll [ɡɔˈwɔ̃pkʲi]; zrazy roulade [ˈzrazɨ]; sour cucumber soup (zupa ogórkowa) [ˈzupa ɔɡurˈkɔva]; mushroom soup, (zupa grzybowa) [ˈzupa ɡʐɨˈbɔva]; tomato soup (zupa pomidorowa) [ˈzupa pɔmidɔˈrɔva]; rosół meat broth [ˈrɔsuw]; żurek sour rye soup [ˈʐurɛk]; flaki tripe soup [ˈflakʲi]; and red beetroot barszcz [barʂt͡ʂ].
A traditional Polish dinner is composed of three courses, beginning with a soup like the popular rosół broth and tomato soup. At restaurants, the soups are followed by an appetizer such as herring (prepared in either cream, oil, or in aspic); or other cured meats and vegetable salads. The main course usually includes a serving of meat, such as roast, breaded pork cutlet, or chicken, with a surówka [suˈrufka], shredded root vegetables with lemon and sugar (carrot, celeriac, seared beetroot) or sauerkraut. The side dishes are usually boiled potatoes, rice or less commonly kasza. Meals often conclude with a dessert including makowiec, a poppy seed pastry, napoleonka cream pie or sernik cheesecake.
Look out for noodles/dumplings: Pierogi. You’ll find a version of these through Poland, the Ukraine and Russia too. They can be sweet or savoury and are often vegetarian: cheese, potatoes and cabbage for example.
Ukrainian cuisine is the collection of the various cooking traditions of the Ukrainian people accumulated over many years. This Ukrainian page (in English) has lots of information and photos.
The national dish of Ukraine that undeniably originates from the country is borsch – a vegetable soup made out of beets, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, onions, garlic and dill. Be aware that meat & fish versions exist too.
Varenyky – are dumplings made with fillings, such as mashed potatoes and fried onions, boiled ground meat and fried onions, liver and fried onions, fried cabbage with fried onions. Sweet versions are served with sour cream and butter or sugar, when filled with fruits such as strawberries or cherries.
Holubtsi are also considered national favourites of the Ukrainian people and are common meal in traditional Ukrainian restaurants. They are cabbage or vine leaves (fresh or sour) rolled with rice filling and may contain meat (minced beef or bacon), baked in oil and caramelized onions and may contain as a baking sauce tomato soup, cream or sour cream, bacon drippings or roasted with bacon strips on top.
Kotleta po-kyivsky: Chicken Kiev, perhaps the most well known of Ukraine dishes.
Often referred to as the “breadbasket of Europe” the Ukrainian cuisine emphasises the importance of wheat and grain to the Ukrainian people and its often tumultuous history with it. The majority of Ukrainian dishes descend from ancient peasant dishes based on plentiful grain resources such as rye as well as staple vegetables such as potato, cabbages, mushrooms and beetroots.
- Pyrizhky: baked buns stuffed with different fillings, such as ground meat, liver, eggs, rice, onions, fried cabbage or sauerkraut, quark, cherries etc.
- Pyrih: a big pie with various fillings.
- Mlyntsi or nalisnyky: thin pancakes filled usually with quark, meat, cabbage, fruits, served with sour cream.
- Stuffed duck or goose with apples.
- Roast meat (pechenya): pork, veal, beef or lamb roast.
- Fish (ryba): fried in egg and flour; cooked in oven with mushrooms, cheese, and lemon; marinaded, dried or smoked variety.
- Guliash: refers to stew in general, or specifically Hungarian goulash.
- Kotlety/Sichenyky (cutlets, meatballs): minced meat or fish mixed with eggs, onions, garlic, breadcrumbs, and milk, fried in oil and sometimes rolled in breadcrumbs.
- Kruchenyky or Zavyvantsi: pork or beef rolls with various stuffing: mushrooms, onions, eggs, cheese, sauerkraut, carrots, etc.
- Kasha hrechana zi shkvarkamy: buckwheat cereal with pork rinds and onion.
- Potato (kartoplia, also barabolia or bulba): young or peeled, served with butter, sour cream, dill; a more exclusive variety includes raw egg.
- Deruny: potato pancakes, usually served with rich servings of sour cream.
A country so vast it must cover an enormous range of cuisines from Europe to Mongolia, and everything inbetween.
In the region where you are I imagine it will be similar to Poland & the Ukraine.
15 Tradition Russian dishes. Including Borscht and Pelmeni (dumplings).
Here’s a summary of what you might expect.
Kazakh cuisine is the cuisine of Kazakhstan, and traditionally is focused on mutton and horse meat, as well as various milk products. For hundreds of years, Kazakhs were herders who raised fat-tailed sheep, Bactrian camels, and horses, relying on these animals for transportation, clothing, and food. The cooking techniques and major ingredients have been strongly influenced by the nation’s nomadic way of life. For example, most cooking techniques are aimed at long-term preservation of food. There is a large practice of salting and drying meat so that it will last, and there is a preference for sour milk, as it is easier to save in a nomadic lifestyle.
Meat in various forms has always been the primary ingredient of Kazakh cuisine, and traditional Kazakh cooking is based on boiling. Horse and mutton are the most popular forms of meat and are most often served in large uncut pieces, which have been boiled. Kazakhs cared especially for horses which they intended to slaughter—keeping them separate from other animals and feeding them so much that they often became so fat they had difficulty moving.
The base of Kazakh cuisine is tort tulik mal (төрт түлiк мал) – four kinds of cattle (i.e. four kinds of meat): horses, camels, cows, and sheep. Horse meat is the main festive meat, while sheep’s meat is used as common meat. Camel meat is also a kind of festive meat, but not the main (as camels in Kazakhstan are not as common as horses). Cow’s meat is also a kind of common meat.
Beshbarmak, a dish consisting of boiled horse or mutton meat, is the most popular Kazakh dish. It is also called “five fingers” because of the way it is eaten. The chunks of boiled meat are cut and served by the host in order of the guests’ importance. Beshbarmak is usually eaten with a boiled pasta sheet, and a meat broth called sorpa, and is traditionally served in Kazakh bowls called kese. Quwyrdaq is another Kazakh’s national dish.
Other popular meat dishes are kazy (which is a horse meat sausage that only the wealthy could afford), shuzhuk (horse meat sausages), kuyrdak (also spelled kuirdak, a dish made from roasted horse, sheep, or cow offal, with the heart, liver, kidneys, and other organs, diced and served with onions and peppers), and various horse delicacies, such as zhal (smoked lard from horse’s neck) and zhaya (salted and smoked meat from horse’s hip and hind leg). Another popular dish is pilaf (palaw), which is made from meat fried with carrots, onions or garlic, then cooked with rice, also known as crackler, is melted fat in a large bowl with sugar, eaten by dipping it with bread and is often served with tea. Kylmai is a sausage made during fall and winter slaughtering and is made by stuffing intestines with pieces of ground meat, fat, blood, garlic, salt, and black pepper. Zhauburek, also known as kebab, is popular among hunters and travelers and is a dish in which small pieces of meat are roasted over a fire. Ulpershek is a dish made from the heart, aorta, and fat of a horse, prepared in a kettle, and is often shared between sisters-in-law as a sign of unity. Kazy is a sausage eaten in the spring when a cow has a new calf; it is a giant sausage sometimes served with rice or kurt. Mypalau is a dish made from sheep’s brain, made by putting the brain in a wooden bowl, adding marrow, pieces of meat, salted fat in broth, and garlic, and this dish is then often served to honored guests. Akshelek is a large camel bone distributed to children after slaughtering and cooking meat from a camel.
Kylmai is another kind of sausage eaten later in the year after it has aged—if smoked it will last a long time, something important in Kazakh cooking. Zhal is the layer of fat under a horse’s mane and is served only to special and honored guests, as it is such a rare commodity. Zhaya is the rump of a horse, probably served boiled. Ak Sorpa is a white broth made in the fall, and is a special meal for rich men. Kuiryk-bauyr is a meal which used to be served to kinsmen at wedding parties. It is made from boiled meat, sliced thinly, then sour milk and salted broth are added.
Sur et is salted horsemeat that smoked over elm, juniper or meadowsweet.
Traditional milk products include sut, which is boiled milk. Kaimak is sour cream made from boiled milk, and is sometimes served with tea. Sary mai is butter made from old milk, often in a leather bag. Kurt is prepared by pressing thick sour cream, and is dried until white and salty. Irimzhik is a cottage cheese processed in the spring, made from boiled, unskimmed milk and added sour cream. Suzbe and katyk are strained and thickened sour milk. Koryktyk is a herdsman’s food, which is thickened milk made out on the steppe. Tosap is made from the scum on the sides of a metal pot and is used as medicine. Airan is sour milk used in winter and summer. Shalgam, which is radish salad, and finally, shubat and kumys (fermented camel’s milk and fermented mare’s milk) are seen as good for one’s health and are imbibed often.
The introduction of flour to Kazakh cuisine brought about dishes such as baursak, shelpek, manti, and nan. Baursak is made by frying dough balls, and shelpek is a flat cake made in a similar fashion. Manti, a very popular Kazakh dish, is a spiced mixture of ground lamb (or beef) spiced with black pepper, enclosed in a dough wrapper. Manti are cooked in a multi-level steamer and served topped with butter, sour cream, or onion sauce. Nan is a type of traditional bread made in the tandoor oven, popular in cities along the Silk Way. Kuimak, kattama, and oima are flat puff cakes fried in oil then covered in cream. Another sweet is shek-shek.
Uzbek cuisine is the cuisine of Uzbekistan. The cuisine is influenced by local agriculture such as grain farming. Breads and noodles are a significant part of the cuisine, and Uzbek cuisine has been characterized as “noodle-rich”. Mutton is a popular variety of meat due to the abundance of sheep in the country, and it is used in various Uzbek dishes. The ingredients used vary by season. For example, in the winter, dried fruits and vegetables, noodles and preserves are prominent, while in the summer vegetables, fruits (particularly melon) and nuts are more prominent. Bread (nan, obi non) has a prominent role in Uzbek cuisine, and is influenced by pre-Islamic traditions. In Uzbek culture, elders are typically served food first, as a sign of respect towards them.
Here is some more information on Uzbek cuisine, including restaurants in major cities and a list of vegetarian restaurants.
16 Uzbek dishes to try.
If all else fails just have Plov (except Dale).
Tajik cuisine is a traditional cuisine of Tajikistan, and has much in common with Russian, Afghan, and Uzbek cuisines. Plov (pilaf) (Tajik: палав, Uzbek: palov), also called osh (Tajik: ош), is the national dish in Tajikistan, as in other countries in the region. Green tea is the national drink.
Palav or osh, generically known as plov (pilaf), is a rice dish made with shredded yellow turnip or carrot, and pieces of meat, all fried together in vegetable oil or mutton fat in a special qazan (a wok-shaped cauldron) over an open flame. The meat is cubed, the carrots are chopped finely into long strips, and the rice is colored yellow or orange by the frying carrots and the oil. The dish is eaten communally from a single large plate placed at the center of the table, often in with one’s hands in the traditional way.
Another traditional dish that is still eaten with hands from a communal plate is qurutob (Tajik: қурутоб), whose name describes the preparation method: qurut (Tajik: қурут, dried balls of salty cheese) is dissolved in water (Tajik: об, ob) and the liquid is poured over strips of а thin flaky flatbread (patyr or fatir, Tajik: фатир, or more accurately фатир равғанӣ, fatir ravghani, i.e., fatir made with butter or tallow for flakiness). Before serving the dish is topped with onions fried in oil until golden and other fried vegetables. No meat is added. Qurutob is considered the national dish.
Meals are almost always served with non (Tajik: нон), flatbread found throughout Central Asia. If a Tajik has food but not non, he will say he is out of food. If non is dropped on the ground, people will put it up on a high ledge for beggars or birds. Legend holds that one is not supposed to put non upside down because this will bring bad luck. The same holds true if anything is put on top of the non, unless it is another piece of non.
Traditional Tajik soups include mainly meat and vegetable soups (such as shurbo and piti), and meat soups with noodles (such as laghmon and ugro). Other dishes shared regionally, either as fast food or as an appetizer, include manti (steamed meat dumplings), tushbera (pelmeni), sambusa (a triangular pastry with either a meat and onion stuffing or a pumpkin and onion stuffing, baked in a tandoor oven), and belyash (pl. belyashi, Tajik: беляши, deep-fried cakes made of yeast dough and filled with minced meat, similar to pirozhki).
More information here.
Eating is associated with many ceremonies and traditions all over this part of Asia. Watch what hand you eat with, watch which way you put your bread down. Don’t cut it with a knife. Generally follow what the locals do. Often mealtimes will be men only.
Kyrgyz cuisine is the cuisine of the Kyrgyz, who comprise a majority of the population of Kyrgyzstan. The cuisine is similar in many aspects to that of their neighbors, particularly Kazakh cuisine.
Traditional Kyrgyz food revolves around mutton, beef and horse meat, as well as various dairy products. The preparation techniques and major ingredients have been strongly influenced by the nation’s historically nomadic way of life. Thus, many cooking techniques are conducive to the long-term preservation of food. Mutton and beef are the favorite meats, although in modern times many Kyrgyz are unable to afford them regularly.
Kyrgyzstan is home to many different nationalities and their various cuisines. In larger cities, such as Bishkek, Osh, Jalal-Abad, and Karakol, various national and international cuisines can be found. Non-Kyrgyz cuisines that are particularly common and popular in Kyrgyzstan include Uyghur, Dungan, Uzbek, and Russian cuisines, representing the largest minorities in the country.
Meat in various forms has always been an essential part of Kyrgyz cuisine. Among the most popular meat dishes are horse-meat sausages (kazy or chuchuk), roasted sheep’s liver, beshbarmak (a dish containing boiled and shredded meat with thin noodles), and various other delicacies made from horse meat.
Beshbarmak is the Kyrgyz national dish, although it is also common in Kazakhstan and in Xinjiang (where it is called narin). It consists of horse meat (and sometimes mutton or beef) boiled in its own broth for several hours and served over homemade noodles sprinkled with parsley and coriander. Beshbarmak means “Five Fingers” in the Kyrgyz language, and is so called probably because the dish is typically eaten with the hands. Beshbarmak is most often made during a feast to celebrate the birth of a new child, an important birthday, or to mourn a death in the family, either at a funeral or on an anniversary. If mutton is used instead of horse meat, a boiled sheep’s head is placed on the table in front of the most honored guest, who cuts bits and parts from the head and offers them around to the other guests at the table.
Kuurdak is one of the main meat dishes.
Shashlik, skewered chunks of mutton grilled over smoking coals that come with raw sliced onions, is served in restaurants and often sold on the street. The meat is usually marinated for hours before cooking. Shashlik can also be made from beef, chicken, and fish. Each shashlik typically has a fat-to-meat ratio of one-to-one.
Shorpo (or sorpo) is a meat soup.
Manty are steamed dumplings filled with ground meat and onions.
Samsa are little pockets with meat and vegetables wrapped in flaky pastry or bread, very similar to Indian samosas. They are most often stuffed with mutton and fat, but are also made with chicken, cheese, cabbage, beef, and even pumpkin. They can be bought in most bazaars or on street corners in larger cities.
Lagman (or laghman) is a very popular noodle dish. It consists of thick noodles created by stretching a very simple flour dough, then covered in chopped peppers and other vegetables and served in a spicy vinegary sauce. Lagman is served everywhere in Kyrgyzstan, but is considered a Dungan or Uyghur dish.
To be added. Probably have to sort this by region, but have yet to figure those out.