23 Aug

These are not two words I associate each other, and I was surprised when we were served fish.  I should have remembered the photos of the big hauls of large fish my Mongolian friend has caught for in both Kazakhstan and Mongolia lakes and rivers contain numerous fish.  Kazakhstan also has the Caspian Sea as a western border and the Aral Sea in the southwest; there are numerous large and small lakes in the southeast and north.

IMG_0611 We went with our host family to Burabay National Nature Park one weekend.  A three hour drive north from Astana through the steppe on a brand-new six lane highway, it is a summer vacation destination.  Along the highway, in rest stops, parking areas, or just wherever, people come from local villages vending locally harvested mushrooms (pickled) and honey (absolutely delicious). Burabay was full of people.

IMG_0613In one of the bazaars it finally dawned on me that the local lakes were not just for swimming.

IMG_0612These huge crayfish were boiled.  And delicious.

IMG_0839We eventually went swimming at a smaller lake which was not crowded further away through the steppe.   And came back to our rented log home to eat a feast out doors which included dried smoked fish.  Also delicious.

The other event where fish was served was the large gathering of women to celebrate and bless my goddaughter.  During the first course, there were little tarts filled with some cheese and topped with roe and two kinds of cured fish.


The third course was this beautiful presentation:

IMG_1737Salmon on rice in cream with a parley-oil emulsion and roe.  Quite marvelous.

Astana also  has a wonderful Oceanarium, the furthest from any ocean in the world.  One walks through a tunnel with fish enclosing you on both sides and from above.  The fish found in the Oceanarium are not natives.  Nor are they eaten.


There was a man in scuba gear feeding fish when we went.


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