A Kyrgyz dastorqon being prepared for an afternoon meal (of paloo (pilaf), not pictured) during Nooruz.
A dastarkhan (Kazakh: дастарқан; [dɑstɑrqɑ́n], Kyrgyz: дасторконdastorqon, Dari: dastarkhawan, Urdu: دسترخوان, Pashto: دسترخوان, Tajik: дасторхон, dastarkhān, Azerbaijani: dəstərxan, [dɑstorqón], Uzbek: dasturxondasturxon[dasturxɒ́n]) is the name used across Central Asia to the traditional space where food is eaten. The term may refer to the tablecloth which is spread on the ground, floor, or table and is used as a sanitary surface for food, but it is also used more broadly to refer to the entire meal setting. It is part of traditional Central Asian cuisine. The term was introduced in South Asia by the Turkic invaders and conquerors from the Central Asia.
The word Dastarkhan is a Turkic word meaning "tablecloth" or "great spread".
The food placed on a dastarkhan ranges from simple tea and bread (for small meals shared by a family) to various salads, nuts, candies, sorpa, and meat set out for a feast.
A large cultural significance is placed on the dastarkhan among different groups, and as such, various traditions, customs, values, and prohibitions surround the use of the dastarkhan. These include, for example, that there is usually a dedicated drink (usually tea) pourer, or that one must never step on the dastarkhan.