>> Cheburechnaya Tashkent To Go | Eat the World Los Angeles

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Cheburechnaya Tashkent To Go

UZBEKISTAN 🇺🇿

COVID-19 UPDATE: The grocery is operating as usual, and despite signs posted to adhere to social distancing, the small store can get quite tight for those that are uncomfortable. You can call in orders ahead of time if you already know what you want.

Despite technically having its own sign and door separate from Tashkent Produce, the sign on the door advises you to use the grocery entrance. Just as well, this affords the opportunity to look over the meats, cheeses, boxed and packaged goods, and general joy of the store. Exploration of the tiny place only takes around five seconds, but is still fun nonetheless.

For those looking for hot prepared foods, make your way to the back and turn left to find the steam table and pre-packed stacks of plov and many other meals just made that morning. They also bake their own breads and have these arranged nicely for Europeans that cannot stand bread in the United States.

If you are at all Central Asian or Russian-passing (and do not forget Russia is a big place with many types of people) customers and employees alike will start talking to you in Russian, and might even try a second time before reluctantly switching over to our boring common language. You are not expected to be here, so it is your fault. Apologize and smile.

During visits over the years, the clientele has been almost exclusively older women and men, but things seem to have changed since the market's first review on Yelp in 2007:

"If you're a single guy, this is the Laurel Canyon equivalent of Tower Records. "Browse" around the produce section, and within 10 minutes you will meet the five sexiest, most gorgeous women in West Hollywood or that melon you're squeezing is on me."

Obviously he gave the place five stars.

So check out the homemade soups in the refrigerator, ask for some of the baked goods to be packed up for you, and grab what you want from the steam table, a couple bottles of Russian beer and Georgian wine, and pay back on the grocery side.

Plov connoisseurs will not be wow'd by their version, more the type you might expect from a grocery, but this hearty working man's dish is really economical and good for the price. At $4.99/lb the chicken plov (below) purchased on this occasion came out to a hefty $7.34. The beef version is a bit more expensive at $6.99/lb.

Without a lot of Central Asians in Southern California, we must rely on our Russian neighbors to make the foods like this that are ubiquitous in countries like Uzbekistan and cities like Tashkent. Since they have named the prepared foods portion of the operation a cheburechnaya, you can rely on them to provide chebureki prepared daily as well.

A large carton of mushroom soup ($4.99, below) was an impulse purchase from the last visit, and one that turned out to be a win. At five bucks, the delicious and simple soup has a simple name (the Russian translation is no more evocative) and lists four ingredients: Mushrooms, barley, potatoes, and greens, which are dill.

The flavor of each item works together very well as a whole, and the mushroom-potato combination gives the meatless soup plenty of filling character. This dish is entirely Russian, and as you will find plenty of the items here at the Uzbek-named Valley Village institution follow suit.

But the baked goods section might have no better representative than the thoroughly Central Asian samsa ($2.99 each, below). While there may not be a traditional tandoor oven hiding in another room here, they have done an excellent job with the pastries anyways and it will certainly make you want to have more baked items on a future visit.

The crust around this lamb samsa is flaky and delicate yet strong, holding all the meat's juices and fats inside perfectly. A more perfect samsa might not exist on the west coast.



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