Eating out alone in Astana requires a big DGAF attitude. Mine is moderate.
I used to go for a drink/dinner on my own all the time in Vancouver. But it just doesn’t seem to be done here, among expats and locals, alike. The exception is going to a restaurant that seems more like a coffee shop (Shokoladnitsa, Maronne Rosso, etc.) and bringing a laptop with you to do work.
Even when I first arrived here, it was clear that going to the cafeteria at lunch was a group activity. Despite really liking my co-workers at my last job, 4/5 times I ate lunch alone and I had a hard time adjusting to the norm in my new workplace. But now I make a point of going at a different time at least a couple times a week to clear my head and read over whatever variation of a Greek salad I’ve made for that day. I am an extrovert but need a lot of alone time to function.
But finally, after 8 months, I decided enough was enough and went for a meal on my own.
Sundays are my long run days and I’m getting a bit bored of my two routes (leave campus and turn right or left, then turnaround and come back once you’ve reached your halfway mark). I’ve been experimenting with going for a run and ending it at the grocery store or at a restaurant to meet friends. This is only possible in cold weather so I’m taking advantage of it, while I can. I tried it once when on vacation in Kelowna during the summer and melted on the pleather seats, while everyone looked with grave concern at my bright red face.
So yesterday I ran from campus to Highvill and ended my run at Kakao Dak for Korean fried chicken and beer. I’ve written about this place before. It’s a small, dark restaurant and seemed suited to the weird foreign girl who just wants to read and gorge. I was a little scared about how much I would eat when left to my own devices here. There are times I’ve been to Kakao Dak and everyone else says they’re full and I keep silent though I could eat another basket.
You have to be really strong to be true to yourself, even in the smallest of ways, I’ve learned.
Anyways, the answer is this much:
Basket of remaining fries not pictured. Basket of chicken not fully pictured.
The waitress was so unconvinced that I sincerely wanted a whole litre of water. But then she tried to convince me to get a 16-piece combo.
Kakao Dak is a good low-key place to go to by yourself if you’re feeling self-conscious about eating alone (even though you normally don’t in your home city) and you’re tired of pasta salads from Maronne Rosso. But don’t go there if you’re feeling depressed because it’s dark and strange to go there during daylight hours (no windows!).
You don’t have to run there, of course, but it would’ve felt excessive to me to take a taxi by myself both ways and it would take so long to get to Highvill by public bus. Running there also helped me not hate myself post-meal for eating so unhealthily (this has never actually happened to me, run or no run, but I hear it is a thing).
Post-run Japanese beauty mask