Top 20 Most Popular Armenian Foods
With a history that spans over 1,800 years, Armenia has a rich culture, a wide array of traditions, and, of course, many delicious traditional dishes. Being a very hospitable country, Armenians love to have big parties, invite everyone, and enjoy their time together, even when there is no particular event that requires celebration.
Here we give you some of the most famous and delicious Armenian traditional dishes and a little insight into their uniqueness. If you are hungry while reading this article, you might want to grab a snack, as all the deliciousness laid out below will make you even hungrier.
Khorovats is basically a barbeque. In Armenia, it is usually the men who prepare the meat, putting their hearts into chopping and skewering the pork, beef, or chicken. There is no party without khorovats, always made with love and care.
Armenians love to eat grilled vegetables and potatoes with khorovats. So make sure to try this amazing and most famous dish when visiting Armenia.
This is another popular dish of meat and potatoes that Armenians love to make for different occasions. As a hot dish, it is welcome during cold weather. Khashlama is made with beef that is cooked for so long that the meat falls off the bone. So tender is it, the meat simply melts on your tongue. It is something unreal.
While khorovats is eaten during all seasons, khash is a dish that really should be served only when it’s cold outside. Normally, the “khash season”, as the locals call it, starts in October and lasts till the end of February.
This traditional meal is prepared with leg of pork. It cooks for at least 12 hours, with the water being changed several times so it is always clear. This makes the pork perfectly cooked. The dish is served with its cooking water, to which is added salt and garlic, and dried lavash (Armenian traditional flatbread) is served on the side.
The authentic way to eat khash is with your fingers. You take fresh lavash, grab a piece of khash, and simply enjoy the delicious mouthful. Homemade mulberry vodka goes very well with it. Armenians are known to celebrate the first khash of the season on the slopes of Mount Aragats, the country’s highest mountain.
Khash, with lots of garlic, lots of alcohol, out in the fresh air—once the bowl is finished, you’ll just want to sleep!
Harisa is made with cracked wheat, called korkot. Chicken can be added to this porridge to make it tastier. It is cooked for a long time, and stirred continuously to ensure the meat doesn’t stick to the pan.
Harisa is served with pickled vegetables, pickled cauliflower, carrot, green tomatoes, etc., and a spoon of butter on top to give it a richer taste.
5. Zhengyalov Hats
While Armenians love meat, they are not opposed to a little vegetarian food. Zhengyalov hats is the perfect choice for vegans and vegetarians, as it is different types of greens in a dough. The dish is specific to a particular region of Armenia where the climate is perfect for growing various types of green veggies.
About 12 different green vegetables go into this dish, and some of them only grow in Armenia. We chop and mix the greens together, add some seasonings, put it on the dough, shape it like a boat, and bake it. It is truly unique.
Tolma is one of the most talked-about dishes in Armenia. Neighboring countries have similar dishes and it is similar to the Greek stuffed grape leaves.
All Armenians love these traditional stuffed grape leaves, and every Armenian family has their own special recipe for the meat stuffing. Then there is summer tolma—stuffed tomatoes, eggplants, and bell peppers all cooked together.
This unusual dish is unique to Armenia. Ghapama is a rice-stuffed pumpkin. Raisins, other dried fruits, and nuts are added to cooked rice, and that is stuffed into the pumpkin which is then put it in the oven.
Armenians even have a special song for this dish: “Hey jan, Ghapama, Hamov, hotov, ghapama.” This basically means that everyone is excited to try ghapama. When served to guests, a few spoons of the rice are added on top of a slice of pumpkin and honey is poured on top, to make it even sweeter.
8. Fish Gata
Gata in Armenian means pie, but this dish is not a fish pie at all. I don’t know why this is called fish gata, but I know one thing for sure; the taste of this dish will stay with you for a very long time.
Armenia is known for its trout, and Armenian trout is one of the most delicious freshwater fishes in the world. The entire recipe is like a pan-fried fish filet, but the special taste of Armenian trout makes it truly unique.
Another dish with meat that Armenians absolutely love! Kyufta is made with beef. First, you beat the meat with a wooden hammer to make it as soft as cotton candy (I know, not the best comparison…).
Once soft, you add chopped onions, season it with salt and pepper to taste, roll it into medium-sized balls, and toss them into boiling water. Add butter once they are on your plate and enjoy the delicious taste.
10. Eggplant Rolls
Eggplant rolls are a very popular traditional dish in Armenia and can be made with various stuffings. My mom always puts either tomato sauce or strained yogurt with cucumber and garlic. First, you cook the eggplant slices, then add the stuffing and roll them. Voila! The perfect lunch, ready in a few minutes.
Manti is another common dish in Armenia and its neighboring countries. It is similar to dumplings and is served with either yogurt or tomato sauce. The dough is made with egg, flour, salt, and water and the stuffing is beef, seasoned with onions, garlic, and greens.
Place small amounts of stuffing onto little dough squares, fold them up, and bake in the oven. The final result is both beautiful and delicious.
12. Armenian Trout
We have already talked about the famous Armenian trout and the traditional fish gata. Many Armenians also love to cook trout as it is or with sauces in the oven. In the 1980s, Thursdays were considered fish day and almost every family would cook trout. That tradition is dying out, but Armenians still love trout and make it during holidays such as Easter.
Spas, or tanapoor, is a traditional soup served either hot or cold. The main ingredients are Armenian yogurt, matsun, and wheat. To make the best smooth and creamy spas, you stir the yogurt and then add the wheat, season it with salt and pepper, add some greens, such as cilantro, to taste, and enjoy with a piece of bread. In some regions, people use rice instead of wheat. This comforting soup is the perfect choice for cold weather.
Tatar boraki is an Armenian pasta, often made by grandparents for dinner. You can buy boraki dough in the shops, but it is very simple to make: mix flour, salt, egg, and water. After setting aside for about an hour, roll it out and cut it into rectangular shapes. Boil it, like pasta, in water, strain it, add the matsun sauce with minced garlic and enjoy the rich spicy flavor of Tatar boraki.
Ghavurma is a preserved meat that has been part of Armenian cuisine since ancient times, when it was made in late fall and eaten through to springtime. This preserve is made with beef or lamb. The meat is carefully washed, drained of excess water, and cooked for hours.
Once perfectly cooked, it is fried in its fat and preserved in clay pots. This dish is perfect in winter, though it can be eaten hot or cold. It is quite time-consuming to make, but the unique taste is certainly worth it.
This traditional dish is common in the Caucasus region. Armenians also consider it a traditional dish as it has been made for centuries. It is a delicious soup with lots of vegetables, so it is full of vitamins. You cook together with chicken breast, chopped onions, peppers, green beans, stirring until the chicken breast is fully cooked.
Add canned chickpea, potatoes, pepper paste, and tomato sauce to the mix and stir for a few more minutes. Leave to boil until all the ingredients are well cooked. After adding salt and pepper, the soup is ready to try! As Armenians say, “bari akhorzhak”, bon apetite!
17. Red Bean Soup
Armenians make this soup with dried beans. First, boil the beans for a couple of hours until they are completely cooked. When they are almost ready, start preparing the rest of the ingredients.
Chop the onions and cook them with a little oil, add a tablespoon of flour, and mix until it takes on a dark shade. Add tomato paste, seasoning, garlic to taste, and stir everything together.
Add a small amount of the bean water to the mixture and stir until you get a thick consistency. Add the beans and some water and let it boil. You can also crush some of the beans to give it a thicker texture. Season to taste. Many people also add walnuts to give it a richer flavor.
18. Rumex Soup
The next soup on our list is rumex soup. Not all regions of Armenia make it, but its unique flavor makes it worth a try. It is also called avelook, as it is made with dried avelook, which is placed in water for a couple of hours to soften. In the meantime, boil a few cups of salted water, add potatoes and bulgur, and boil until cooked.
Once the avelook is soft, cut it into small pieces and add it to the boiling mixture. Add chopped coriander to taste and enjoy the soup in cold weather. For a richer and more delicious flavor, add a minced garlic clove.
19. Rice with Dried Fruits and Raisins
This traditional dish is made during Easter. Along with Armenian trout, locals prepare rice with dried fruits and raisins, which makes the rice sweet. Some people eat it with honey and many add fried lavash. Although this dish is traditionally made once a year, it is considered a favorite meal by all Armenians.
Kerusous means “eat and shush!” The ingredients of this traditional meal are beef, potatoes, green beans, peppers, tomatoes, chili peppers for spice, onion, peas, and various greens; practically anything that comes to mind!
The preparation is very simple. Cut everything into similar sizes, sauté them in an oiled skillet, and add seasoning. The dominant tastes come from the beef and fried potatoes, but each ingredient gives the dish its unique flavor.
There are so many other Armenian traditional dishes that can be added to this list; it is endless. Armenia is famous for its unique and delicious dishes so it is worth trying a few, even if you’re not in Armenia.
But, trust me, the way Armenians make their traditional dishes is unreal. You can absolutely feel the love that is put into the preparation and cooking of every meal. So, if you get the chance, experience dinner with Armenians.