Sur Rue Amelot, tchaïkhana ouzbèke avec spécialités d’Asie centrale
It’s the academic dénouement in Belgium, and to unwind a little, I went down to Paris this week. Even though the ville de lumière is only two hours away by train and four by bus, this is actually only the second time I’ve been there. Seems I have an incipient knack for stumbling upon Uzbek proprietors outside of Uzebkistan, because on Rue Amelot, I stumbled upon the restaurant/chaikhana “Boukhara” (
http://www.resto-boukhara.com [Ed.: The URL appears to be broken. Instead go here.]).
It’s a lovely little restaurant with friendly staff hailing from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan — Bukhara to be exact (surprise, surprise). The waitstaff were more than happy to engage in a conversation with me in an impromptu pidgin language of English, French and Russian. In particular, I talked at length with Bekzod, an aspiring tourism entrepreneur and self-described “Bukharan” — an identity actively decided upon in conscious opposition to the stricter identities of “Uzbek” and “Tajik”. As a New Yorker, I could certainly relate to what he meant, and similar sentiments can be heard in many other metropoles (“Brusselaar”, “Parisian”, etc.).
As it was late, I only sampled the decour and a pot of green tea edged with a lovely cinnamonesque Bukharan spice. [Update: My cousin and I went the next day. The plov and manti are quite good! I must say, the manti there was better that what I've had so far in Bishkek.] If anyone else has been to this restaurant or its sister in Trevise (Grands Boulevards) and tried out its dishes, leave a comment below.
Oh, and in the photo at the top, that’s a book of essays by Claude Lefort, the French political phenomenologist sometimes described as a rouge libérale. If all goes well in the near- to mid-future, I’ll be doing some advanced academic work about Central Eurasia’s political life from the perspective of his system. ;-)