In the heart of Eurasia lies a country which guarantees a food experience that is both exquisite and eccentric. While the culinary scene in Armenia is yet to take over the culinary world, it definitely speaks to the inner foodie in you. The country over centuries has become a melting pot of several unique cultures, customs, and cuisines. This lead to development of unique flavours through a combination of ingredients that creates an experience like no other. Below is an interesting listicle on the top 8 food in Armenia to try when visiting the country, do read!
Food In Armenia – Top 8
Let’s start with this simple-looking piece of unleavened flatbread that is available across Armenia. Lavash, a must-try treat, is a common and popular bread in Armenian cuisine. The bread forms the basis of Armenian food and resembles a Roomali roti (Indian-style flatbread). However, it’s the art of making this bread, which is quite unique.
The steps involve rolling the dough into thin layers and spreading it over an oval cushion. The raw dough is then smacked on the inner walls of a Tonir (Armenian clay oven), where it cooks for about a minute. The resulting bread is perfect for wrapping up kebabs and other side dishes served at Armenian restaurants.
The next Armenian food to try is Basturma. It is a meaty piece of air-dried beef or lamb filet generously coated with a special Armenian spice mix. The mix includes spices like cumin, turmeric, red pepper, fenugreek powder and allspice. Basturma goes well on its own or in sandwiches. A basturma sandwich would include paper-thin slices of Basturma along with pickles and onions placed on a piece of sub-style sandwich bread.
These flaky delights are one of the best, crispy juicy treats that you must try when visiting Armenia. Boreg may form up an entire course as it can e served as an appetizer, main course and dessert. Wondering how? Well these flaky pastries can consist of a cheesy stuffing to form a savoury appetizer Boreg. The next course may consist of minced meat stuffing and can be serves as a main course Boreg. Finally, for a sweet treat, this flaky pastry consists of stuffing of either dry fruits soaked in a sugary syrupy or cream and fresh-cut fruits to create a lip-smacking dessert Boreg.
Khash is a winter favourite in Armenia and is a festive delicacy. The dish derives its name from the Armenian word ‘khashel’ which translates as “to boil”. This is due to the preparation method of this filling dish which includes stewing of bovine and sheep parts. Like the head, the legs, the tripe, the brain and other parts not popular with the general population. A piece of crispy lavash often accompanies this soup as a condiment. The locals consider the soup to be the best cure for hangovers.
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Arabic cuisine has had a massive influence on cuisines around the world for many generations. One such visible influence in the Armenian style of cooking is Harissa. This dish has several existing versions across several countries. The general idea of Harissa includes mashing grain and meat protein into one succulent mouthwatering treat. The Southeast Asian version of this dish in countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and India is popular as ‘Haleem’.
The Armenian version includes cooking bulgur wheat with chunks of meat and the Armenian spice mix over a slow flame for hours. Other Asian versions of this dish include wheat, lentils or other grains being instead of bulgur wheat.
One of the must-try food in Armenia is the popular dish of Manti. This dish is present in both Armenian and Turkish cuisine, however the way it is done in Türkiye is different. Manti is similar to an Italian ravioli, often consisting stuffing of lamb, beef, chicken, veggies or even cheese. In comparison to the Turkish Manti dumplings, which are cooked in hot water and served with a sauce consisting of yoghurt and spicy chilli oil. The Armenian Manti, on the other hand, is baked in a casserole and then topped with a seasoned tomato sauce and garlic yoghurt.
A dish you may have heard about several times across several countries. Dolma is that one dish which serves as a mark of the Arabic influence in several countries. Dolma is a juicy dish consisting of spiced rice and minced meat rolled up in grape or cabbage leaves. Other ingredients used in dolma’s stuffing are onions and tomatoes or minced beef cooked with tomato sauce. The Armenian versions may also include dry fruits which enhances the richness of the leaf rolls.
One of the best appetite-satiating food in Armenia to try is a dish popular as Lahmajun/Lahmacun. This Armenian delight is popular with travellers visiting the country and a hit with pizza lovers. The dough for this flatbread is rolled into a thin sheet. After that, the dough is topped with a mixture of minced meat and finely chopped onions, bell peppers, peeled tomatoes, garlic and parsley.
The dough is then put in a brick oven where it bakes till the crust is crispy. The baked juicy treat comes with side portions of lemon, mint leaves, parsley leaves and long-sliced onions. Which helps in enhancing the flavour quotient of this crispy and juicy marvel.