Cheapest Shopping For Nuts and Dried Fruits in Tashkent and Samarkand

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Mamra Almonds (soft shell) with or without shell, and shelled walnuts are perhaps the two types of nuts that most tourist purchase during their holiday in Uzbekistan. The shops stock dried apricots, raisins, and flavoured almonds too and some tourists buy those. Almonds and walnuts in Uzbekistan are not only cheap but of top quality too. I am not an expert on the quality of nuts but here is what I know. The better quality and more expensive almonds in Uzbekistan have darker colour shells and there are no tiny holes in the shells. There will be a gap in the shell on one side and you will easily be able to crack open the shell just with your thumbnail of one hand while holding the almond in the other hand. The bigger sized almonds will cost more but that will not make any difference to the quality. The nuts will have a good sweet taste and no unpleasant smell. I have given below a picture of the almonds that I bought in Tashkent. Keep reading for tips on the best prices...

Shopping For Nuts and Dried Fruits in Samarkand

Consumer Prices of Almonds and Walnuts in Uzbekistan

As compared to prices of almonds and walnuts in India, I found the prices in Uzbekistan at least 50% lower and in some places even lower than that. How much you are actually able to save will depend on the market, the vendor, and your bargaining skill. Out of the two cities that I saw during my first trip to Uzbekistan - Tashkent and Samarkand - Tashkent was way cheaper. Another general tip, a shopping complex where your travel agent takes you may be the more expensive. For example, our tour operator (iTravel Uzbekistan / McTrip Holidays Delhi) did not want us to visit Chorsu Bazaar and instead suggested that we did our nuts / dried fruits shopping in Samarkand. It was bad advice.

Cheapest Prices for Almonds and Walnuts in Uzbekistan

Mamra Almonds Purchased in Uzbekistan

Against the advice of my tour operator, I went to Chorsu Bazaar in Tashkent. The almonds that you see in the picture above cost 35000 Uzbekistani Som (UZS) per kilo in Chorsu Bazaar Tashkent. In the market recommended by our tour operator - Alayskiy Bazaar (also known as Alay Bazaay or Oloy Bozori), the price of this same exact quality was 40,000 Som per kilo. In Samarkand's "Siyob Dehqon Bozori", where our tour agent took us, the price of this quality of almonds was 55,000 Som per kilo. Similarly, the shelled walnut halves (picture below) cost 60,000 Som per kilo in Samarkand, 42,000 Som per kilo in Alayskiy Bazaar, and 38,000 per kilo in Chorsu Bazaar Tashkent. Bargaining is expected. With a little polite bargaining, the price on offer will come down by 20-25% or even more. Do check the prices in a few shops before deciding to buy. Never buy nuts / dried fruits, etc. in a super market. The prices in super market are at least double of the bazaar prices. Also, do not buy cashew nuts in Uzbekistan. Those are imported to the country and are just too expensive.

Shelled Walnut Halves

Siyob Dehqon Bozori Samarkand Uzbekistan

Siyob Dehqon Bozori in Samarkand is bad for tourists in terms of prices but may be good for the locals. I did not see any crowd there. The local market of preference must be somewhere else in Samarkand. But the story is a bit different in Alayskiy Bazaar in Tashkent.

Alay Bazaar / Oloy Bozori / Alayskiy Bazaar Tashkent

Alayskiy is known as the VIP bazaar of Tashkent where the quality of the merchandise is better as compared to Chorsu. The shopping area is cleaner and better organised and hence commands slightly higher prices. Again the local customers will know how much extra to pay. For a tourist, spending a couple of hours browsing and haggling in the crowded Chorsu Bazaar will be a better way to experience shopping in Uzbekistan. The upper floor of the round and green domed building of Chorsu Bazaar is the place to buy nuts and dried fruits and this part of the bazaar is not very crowded. The lower floor where the wet market is located is way more crowded. The fresh fruits & vegetable market is in an adjoining building outside the domed structure. In case you are wondering, "Chorsu" literally means a building with doors on its four sides. In Uzbekistan, you may come some other buildings also having the word "Chorsu" in their name.

Walking To Chorsu Bazaar's Domed Building

Chorsu Bazaar Tashkent Uzbekistan

Chorsu Bazaar in Tashkent is a centuries old historical market that was an important stop for traders on the silk route. The old buildings have been replaced with modern ones but the location of the market remains the same.

A vendor in Chorsu Bazaar Tashkent Uzbekistan

Therefore, even if your travel tour operator does not want to take you there, you must not miss this place. A taxi ride to the market from Hotel Uzbekistan / City Palace / Le Grande Plaza / Emir Timur Square will cost between 7000 and 10,000 Som. Chorsu Bazaar also has local souvenirs and other touristy stuff if you are interested in that. Just know that most bazaars in Uzbekistan close early, by 7.00pm. There is no night shopping. So plan your visit to Chorsu early in the day.

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I left my day job in October 2013 and became a full time blogger. I love travel and hence a travel blog was the obvious place to start from. The result is I currently live in Bengaluru, India. - Narinder Singh.


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