Mountainous and beautiful Armenia is not only known for its cultural sites and breathtaking nature, but also for its amazing cuisine. Despite the diversity of dishes, there is one common thing in Armenian food- it always tastes as home-made. Here is the list of top Armenian dishes you should know about:
Ghapama- a holiday dish with rich history used to be eaten during holidays on special occasions. Similar to American Thanksgiving pumpkin at first sight, it is baked with stuffed rice, dried fruits, honey or sugar, cinnamon and sometimes different types of nuts. The first stage of its preparation includes removing the guts. Afterwards, boiled rice and fruits are added and then, at the end- the nuts. The recipe might differ from one cook to another.
Ghapama can be considered as a rather flexible dish, since you can endlessly experiment with the types of dried fruits and nuts. Moreover, you can add them or the sweeteners as before, as after baking. That is why you should give it a try at different places made according to different recipes and by different cooks.
Spas is among the most popular Armenian dishes. On contrary to Ghapama it is not a holiday dish, it is, indeed, very common as an ordinary dish. Made with matsun, which is very similar to plain yogurt, also hulled wheat is added to Spas. Served both cold or hot, herbs, such as mint or coriander can be added as spices.
Khorovats- Armenian barbeque is also very famous in Armenia. Very different from other types of barbeque, it is a rather big ritual for Armenians to make Khorovats. Not only birthdays, but also many other important events cannot be held without Khorovats on the table.
Zhingyalov hats is famous in Syunik province and in Nagorno-Kharabagh. It is flatbread stuffed with ideally 25 types of herbs. After stuffing the dough, Zhinglyalov hats is fried on special griddle named “sajin”. Many variations of Zhinglyalov hats can be found in different markets and restaurants. Obviously, it is hard and almost impossible to stuff the flatbread with more than twenty types of herbs, as a result zhingyalov hats made in different places will differ in taste as well. However, it is always very simple, yet very delicious. One of traditional Armenian dishes, it is definitely worth a try.
It is no easy task to prepare Harissa, however it’s one of the most delicious dishes in Armenian cuisine. On contrary to its simple look, it has a rather rich taste. The porridge is prepared from wheat and chicken, and has a thick consistency. It requires long hours until the meat is completely melted in wheat giving the porridge almost homogenous consistency. Harissa is served with butter and is perfect in cold weather, during winter.
Very common and popular in the Mediterranean, as well as South Caucasus cuisine, Dolma is a beloved dish for Armenians, too. Here, dolma is made mostly with either cabbage or grape leaves. Other versions with stuffed vegetables such as eggplants or tomatoes are popular, too and sometimes instead of minced beef lamb can be used. Dolma with grape leaves is usually served with matsun and minced garlic, while the one with cabbage is mostly eaten with bread. Although you can eat dolma in many spots throughout the world, it will taste differently once you give it a try in a new country. So, don’t hesitate to try the Armenian version of Dolma, which is one of the most beloved and delicious dishes of local cuisine.
Being an important part of every culture, cuisine plays a big role in discovering new countries. So, once visiting Armenia make sure to taste if not all, but at least most of the mentioned dishes. Different in every province, they will never fail in surprising you. Rent a car in Armenia, travel throughout the country to discover the true tastes of Armenian cuisine.