10 Armenian Must-Try Dishes
There is no shortage of interesting and tasty food for you to try in Armenia. Anything from traditional Armenian dishes, to classics with a modern twist as well as a big choice of international cuisines, is available for you. Finding delicious food here will never be a problem.
It is difficult to imagine a visit to Armenia without feasting on some traditional Armenian cuisine. In fact, gaining a few kilos during your trip is pretty much inevitable, however, everybody who has visited Armenia would guarantee you that discovering this exquisite cuisine is well worth the little extra weight.
You will not regret it, that's for sure!
Finding a place to have Armenian food is not a hard task. You have a wide array of restaurants, cafes as well as food delivery services to choose from. But note that the traditional Armenian dishes are not all that Yerevan has to offer, the city also allows you to take your pick from international cuisines such as Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Italian, Syrian, Lebanese and more.
Now let's focus on the Armenian specialties that will make your taste buds so delighted that you will certainly want to come back for more!
1. Khorovats, or the Armenian barbecue
There is no family gathering or occasion in Armenia without the famous khorovats. Apart from having a distinctive taste that is different from any other barbecue or stake, khorovats is considered to be a quintessential part of the Armenian legacy. The art of making khorovats is passed from one generation to the next and usually fathers teach their sons the techniques of a well executed khorovats. There is even 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) mixed with some garlic. No New Year's Eve feast is ever complete without a plate of Tolma at the center of the 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, this is the traditional dish of Nagorno-Karabakh. If you are in Armenia, and happen to be travelling to Karabakh, eating zhingyalov hats is a must.
Before going to the sweets, the strangest but also most loved food, or rather breakfast, in Armenia is khash. The dish consists of boiled beef feet, and locals like to eat it with dried lavash and accompany it with some vodka. Reuniting around a table of khash is such a warm and comforting tradition.
After all these tasty dishes, it sure feels like it is time for some dessert. Gata is an Armenian pastry consisting of sweet bread. It can take a variety of shapes, sizes and its decorated versions are very aesthetically pleasing. Having become a well known national symbol, Gata is usually one of the top things that tourists look for. 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 will most definitely catch your eye during your visit to the fairs or any touristic destination in Armenia. It is a tasty dessert made of walnuts in thickened grape juice. Also, many tourists take sujukh from Armenia as a souvenir for their loved ones back home.
Last but not least, pakhlava is a dessert pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and stuffed with lots of honey. As you may have noticed, Armenia is full of good food, but nothing can beat the taste of Pakhlava, a pure pleasure for the senses!