Countries with the Most Similar Food to Turkmenistan

Country Food Similarity Index - Map of Countries with Similar Food to Turkmenistan

The Country Food Similarity Index is a statistically-based attempt to quantify how similar the food in one country is relative to another. By comparing the weight of raw food ingredients used in each country, a score is assigned that reflects the degree of similarity between the respective countries. The methodology is exactly the same for each country studied. 

The Most Similar Cuisines to Turkmen Food

Turkmenistan boasts a rich culinary heritage influenced by its nomadic traditions and the cultural exchange with its neighboring countries. The five countries with the most similar food to Turkmenistan are all landlocked. Four of the five are predominately Muslim. With the exception of Afghanistan, these countries were all once part of the Soviet Union before becoming independent.

  1. Tajikistan is another Central Asian country. Central to both cuisines is the use of ingredients such as bread, lamb, and vegetables. Plov, shashlik, and manti are commonly eaten in these countries. In addition, both Turkmen and Tajik cuisines embrace hearty soups and stews, featuring ingredients like beans, herbs, and spices. However, Turkmen cuisine features more prominently cooked vegetables like pumpkin and eggplant.
  2. Uzbekistan borders Turkmenistan to the north. Both countries are predominately Muslim and their people speak similar Turkic languages. Both countries have cuisines that feature a medley of rice, meat, and spices, along with flatbreads. Moreover, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan share a love for kebabs, where marinated meat, predominantly lamb or beef, is grilled to perfection.
  3. Azerbaijan is across the Caspian Sea from Turkmenistan. It is yet another predominately Turkic country on this list. Kebabs (grilled meats) and dolma (stuffed vegetables) are commonly eaten in both nations. In addition, these countries often serve hot and fresh flatbread with their meals. Azerbaijani cuisine features a wide range of aromatic herbs and spices, just like Turkmenistan.
  4. Afghanistan is located to the south of Turkmenistan. Lamb and beef are staple meats in both countries. They are often combined with grains and legumes. Fragrant spices like cumin and coriander are common in both cuisines. Plov, a rice dish, is a popular delicacy in both countries, prepared with meat, vegetables, and spices.
  5. Armenia is the only predominantly Christian country on the list. However, it also has many culinary connections to Turkmenistan. Both countries commonly eat grilled meat skewers. Moreover, Armenians and Turkmen share a love for thin and soft flatbread. Furthermore, both cuisines also incorporate yogurt-based sauces and various flavorful herbs.

Related: The 10 Most Similar Countries to Turkmenistan

The Least Similar Cuisines to Turkmen Food

The countries with the least similar food to Turkmenistan are in tropical regions, so their climates are much hotter and wetter. They are also much more densely forested. These factors make the crops typically grown in these countries far different from the Central Asian region. Their diets rely far less on the consumption of wheat, meat, and potatoes.

  1. Democratic Republic of Congo is a former Belgian colony located in the middle of Africa. Cassava is the dominant staple food in the country. The most commonly eaten meat in Congo is freshwater fish, whereas beef and lamb are more popular proteins in Turkmenistan. Furthermore, their diet has relatively little meat in it.
  2. Cambodia, like Turkmenistan, is located in Asia. However, its cuisine is far different from Turkmenistan’s. The Cambodian diet is heavily based in rice and cassava, while relatively little wheat and potatoes are consumed there. Another difference is that freshwater fish are more commonly eaten in Cambodia.
  3. Burundi is a landlocked country in the tropical regions of Africa on this list. Its diet is in large part based on cassava, sweet potatoes, plantains, and bananas. Very little potatoes or wheat are eaten in Burundi, compared to Turkmenistan.
  4. Liberia is yet another African nation on this list. The country has a reliance on rice, cassava, and plantains for a large portion of its diet. Furthermore, seafood is a much larger part of Liberia’s diet than Turkmenistan’s, since many of the country’s residents live near the coast.
  5. Solomon Islands is a Melanesian archipelago located in the Pacific Ocean, so its geography is far different than landlocked Turkmenistan. As a result, the country’s diet generally consists of a lot of seafood, tropical fruits, and coconuts. Raw fish and taro leaves are commonly consumed there.

Related: The 10 Least Similar Countries to Turkmenistan

Full Food Similarity Ranking of Countries and Territories

Turkmenistan’s Most Common Food Ingredients

Protein: Beef, Lamb
Fruit: Watermelon, Grape
Vegetable: Tomato, Onion
Starch: Wheat, Potato

Primarily based on 2020 data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N.

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