10 Armenian Must-Try Dishes
There is no lack of interesting and tasty food for you to try in Armenia. From traditional Armenian dishes, modern twists on the classics, and other international cuisines, finding delicious food will never be a problem.
It is difficult to imagine a visit to Armenia without traditional Armenian cuisine. In fact, it is so good that many tourists then complain about having gained some weight. But then they claim, that it is worth it. Finding a place to have Armenian food is not a hard task. A lot of local restaurants and cafes, as well as food delivery companies will help you find one and enjoy. In addition to the Armenian dishes, Yerevan is full of cafes offering international cuisines like Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Italian, Syrian, Lebanese and more.
1. Khorovats, or the Armenian barbecue
There is no family gathering or occasion in Armenia without the famous khorovats. Apart from having a different taste than any other barbecue or stake, khorovats is considered to be Armenian legacy. Fathers teach the art of making khorovats to their sons, and so on. There is also an annual festival of khorovats held in September, in Akhtala, Tavush region.
Tolma consists of meat, rice, and onion rolled up in fresh young grape leaves. This Armenian food is often eaten with matzoon (fermented milk) together with garlic. There is no New Year's Eve without Tolma in the central part of the festive table.
3. Armenian Lavash
Lavash is a common type of bread in Armenia that both locals and foreigners are very fond of. It is a soft, thin, unleavened flatbread made in a tandoor. The lavash-making process is an inseparable part of the Armenian culture and cuisine. For the record, lavash, together with its preparation, meaning and appearance of traditional bread is included in UNESCO’s List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity as an expression of culture in Armenia.
Harissa is a thick porridge made from cracked wheat and fat-rich meat, usually chicken or lamb. The long cooking process, usually around 5 hours, is an essential part of the tradition. Harissa too has its own festival celebrated in September, in Musaler, not far from Yerevan.
Spas is the all-time favorite soup for all Armenians. It is a yogurt soup filled with peeled wheat and greens. This white soup is finger licking tasty.
6. Zhingyalov hats
Zhingyalov hats is a type of flatbread stuffed with herbs and green vegetables. Although you can find it in Yerevan too, but it is a traditional dish of Nagorno-Karabakh. If you are in Armenia, and travel to Karabakh, eating zhingyalov hats is a must.
Before going to the sweets, the strangest but also most loved food, or rather a breakfast, in Armenia is khash. It is a dish of boiled beef feet, and locals like to eat it with dried lavash and drink some vodka. Getting together around a table of khash is a great tradition.
Feels like it is time for the dessert. Gata is an Armenian pastry or sweet bread. It can take variety of shapes, sizes and its decorated versions are quite attractive. Gata is usually the number one "brand" that tourists love most in Armenia. There is also a tradition of putting a coin inside gata before baking it, and the finder will have a good fortune. Tourists usually buy gata near Geghard monastery, a top tourist destination in Armenia.
9. Sweet Sujukh
This Armenian dessert decorates all the markets in Yerevan. It is present in all the fairs near tourism destinations in Armenia. It is a tasty dessert made of walnuts and in thickened grape juice. Many tourists take sujukh from Armenia also as a souvenir.
Lastly, pakhlava is a dessert pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and stuffed with lots of honey. There is nothing tastier than Pakhlava around Armenia.
Main image: Photography Chrisnova.