Hospitality is an important part of Kazakh culture. A Kazakh host will feel offended if a guest does not have some refreshments, or at least a cup of tea. Refreshments might include dried and fresh fruits (grapes or melon), nuts, cakes, or baursaks (a type of bread). They also may be offered some fermented kymyz (milk from a female horse) to drink. Tea and kymyz are served in a piala (Asian teacup) or a wooden bowl. A guest is usually offered a place of honor at the table.
If invited to a person's yurt (tent-like dwelling), diners step outside to wash their hands before a meal. A prayer is said and the guest is served first. Eating is usually done with the right hand, or a knife and fork. Tea is usually served after dinner. Once the adults have eaten, children eat the leftovers.
A unique custom in Kazakhstan is the dastarkhan , a feast for visiting guests and special occasions that includes meat dishes and dairy products. Appetizers may be smoked or boiled meat, zhuta (pasta stuffed with pumpkin or carrot), and flat cakes. Vegetables, sorpa (rich broth), and shubat (a milk drink) may be offered next. For the feast, an entire animal, usually a sheep, is slaughtered and the oldest member of the family carves the head and serves the family. This is considered an honor in Kazakhstan. Besbarmak is the animal's meat, boiled, and served on a platter with dough that has been boiled in broth. Different parts of the animal symbolize traits desired by those eating them. For example, children are often served the ears as a symbol to listen better. The person who receives the eye should seek wisdom, and a tongue means that a person should be more expressive.
taken from : foodbycountry.com
National Foods of the World offers a recipe for the National Dish of Kazakhstan: Beshbarmak.
Visti Kazakhstan offers a nice write up about Kazakh national cuisine.
OrexCA has extensive descriptions of traditional Kazakh cuisine.
The archive of an old website, Zheurik.kz provides a nice in site into Kazakh restaurant life.
Kazakhstan's food and traditions are a reflection of our country's unique ethnic and religious composition. With people of more than 100 ethnic groups practicing 46 different religious teachings, one can only imagine a wide variety of cuisine art and cultural rituals that form the rich mosaic of our everyday life.
What's most remarkable is that such diversity brings to life the intertwining and mutual enrichment of cultures and cuisines.
People of all ethnicities come to enjoy the traditional Kazakh dish 'beshbarmak' , the pilav (the traditional oriental dish with meat and rice), Russian pelmenis and blinys, Korean spicy salads and the noodles of the Uighurs.
Our people welcome their guests to try their food and to enjoy our hopitality.
It is common in our traditions to welcome guests to their houses, to treat them to our best cuisine and, generally, to treat each other with genuine respect and appreciation.
Bolshoi Atlas Kazakhstana, Natsional`naia Akademiia Nauk Respubliki Kazakhstan, Institut Ekonomicheskih Strategii Tsentral`naia Aziia. Izdatel`stvo: Feoriia, Moskva-Almaty 2011
For hundreds of years, Kazakhs were herders who raised qazaqi qoy (fat-tailed sheep), cattle, ayïr tüye (Bactrian camels), and at (horses). Kazakh nomads heavily relied on their animals for transportation, clothing, and food. They usually ate mutton (sheep), milk, cheese, and flat bread baked on a griddle.
Kazakh nomads migrated from region to region, depending on available water and pastures for their livestock. They also produced goods that they traded for grain, vegetables, and fruits at markets in the more settled cities of south Kazakhstan. Cone-shaped tents called yurts were their homes, which were easy to set up, dismantle, and carry.
The nomadic way of life began to change in the 1800s, when the Russian Empire conquered the Kazakhstan region. Many Russians settled in the area, which greatly reduced the grazing lands needed for herds. Kazakhstan became part of the Soviet Union in 1922, and Kazakh nomads began to settle in rural villages or cities. There are, however, some Kazakhs who still live the nomadic way of life, moving with their yurts and herds to summer pastures every year.