Like many other cuisines, Armenian history has strong ties to other regions’ food and has adopted many influences from the Caucasus region. However, Armenian cuisine relies heavily on how fresh its ingredients are and relies less on spices and more on the quality of the ingredients used.
Fruit, wheat, and fresh herbs are served year-round, while legumes of all kinds are served liberally. The Armenian culinary traditions span thousands of years and use complicated cooking techniques like stuffing, whipping, thermal processing and puree. As a result, many of their dishes can be somewhat time-consuming to make as most dishes are traditionally cooked over an open flame.
Armenian Cuisine Facts and History
Armenian cuisine is the oldest in Caucasus history, forming about 2,000 years ago. Then, the Armenian Highland was the homeland, and Asia Minor and the Iranian Plateau were neighbouring territories.
Agriculture grew many grains and vegetables during the early years and used over 300 different wild herbs and flowers as spices. The fertile valleys allowed spelt, barley, rice, wheat, beans and lentils to grow, and stock raising was highly developed, which lead to a lot of meat and dairy products being used in national dishes.
For instance, spas or soups were often made from fermented milk and cracked wheat, whereas other soups were made from beef, garlic and spicy greens. Armenia is also known for its fresh fruits, like apricots, melons and pomegranates and its large variety of bread.
Armenian Cuisine Menu
- Bread with jam options
- Cold meats
- Omelettes (whipped eggs with tomatoes is popular)
- Tonrahats (a thin flatbread)
- Harisa (porridge made with wheat and sodden fibered chicken)
- Lavash (unleavened wheat bread)
- Kurkut (cereals)
- Khash (boiled bovine shanks made into a stew, served with unleavened bread)
- Choreg (sweet bread)
- Dolma (lamb and dried fruit wrapped in cabbage leaves)
- Yogurt barley mint soup
- Trakt (cracked wheat and beef patties)
- Stuffed chicken wings
- Peal barley and chicken stew
- Lentil Salad
- Walnut based soups
- Ghaurma (boiled/fried meat with butter)
- Khorovats (Barbeque both meat and vegetables)
- Khashlama (lamb dish)
- Veal with Pomegranate sauce
- Kofta (beef meatballs)
- Tolma (stuffed eggplants/cabbage/grape leaves mixed with ground beef, onions, rice and spices – seasonal dish)
- Pasuts Tolma (chickpea, bean, lentil, cracked wheat, peas, rice and maize stuffed cabbage/eggplants/grape leaves)
- Qufta (meatballs made from stewed beef)
- Lahmajo (patties with ground meat, tomato sauce and pepper),
- Ghapama (pumpkin dish)
- Kchuch (vegetable and meat casserole)
- Gata (cookies – no two are identical)
- Jengyalov Hats (grain flat cake stuffed with greens)
- Fruit sujukh (shelled walnuts dipped in grape syrup)
- T’tu Lavash (sour plum puree, rolled)
- Byorek (a pie stuffed with cheese or other fillings)
- Cheburekis (deep-fried flat round bread with spicy meat stuffed inside)
- Shashlik (grilled mutton and greens stuffed into bread)
- Khachapuri (fried eggs stuffed into chewy bread)
- Nutmeg Cake
- Barley Pudding
- Alani (dried peaches stuffed with sugar and walnuts)
- Ghataif (shredded dough with cheese, soaked in sugar with walnut filling)
- Pastegh (fruit leather)
- Kefir (fermented milk)
- Kvass (fermented bread drink)
- Tahn (yogurt drink)
- Jermuk (mineral water)
- Tarkhun Soda (tarragon flavoured soda)
- Beer (Kotayk, Kilikia, Gyumri)
- Brandy (Ararat, noy)
- Vodka (Mulberry)
- Wine (fruit wines mostly)
- Harisa (traditionally was a holiday dish)
- Nsxar (bread used for Holy Communion)
- Tanabur (yogurt and wheat soup)
- Nevik (green chard and chickpeas)
- Rojik (shelled walnuts on a string covered in grape jelly)
- Bastukh (grape jelly, cornstarch and flour dessert)
- Annooshaboor (Christmas pudding)
- Khozee Bood (glazed ham)
- Dried fruits
- Samir (cracked wheat and cream served with cinnamon and mulberries/grapes)
- Qyalagosh (lavash bread, lentils and dried buttermilk)
- Harisa (traditionally was a holiday dish)
- Jajukh (cold soup)
Armenian Most Popular Dishes
- Khash: a breakfast dish that is made out of beef feet and often served because of its medicinal properties.
- Lavash: a flatbread that is served with a lot of different dishes.
- Gata: a sweet soft dough treat that is layered with sugar and butter.
- Harisa: a porridge dish that is more like a soup made from roasted cracked wheat.
- Dolma: mined meat mixed wrapped in eggplant/tomato/cabbage leaves with rice.
Most Used Ingredients
Meats/Fish: Lamb, trout, sturgeon, whitefish, chicken, organs (beef lungs/lamb intestines), carp, Cow, mutton, pork.
Vegetables: Grape leaves, cabbage leaves (stuffed), eggplants, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, peppers, onions, potatoes, pickles, Swiss chard leaves, wheat grouts, green beans, green peas, pumpkin, leeks, artichokes, asparagus, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, okra, spinach, turnips, grape leaves.
Fruits: Pomegranates, dried apricots, fresh quince, fresh apples, pomegranate seeds, cantaloupe, dried peaches, grapes, figs, dates, melons, currants, prunes, raisins, cherries, berries, citrus fruit, plums, pumpkin.
Other: Walnuts, almonds, pistachios, pine nuts (Cilicia), tomato sauce/paste, yogurt sauce, Tahini sauce (crushed sesame seeds), mayonnaise, pepper, garlic, cumin, pearl barley, salt, dried mint, coriander, sumac, cinnamon, cloves, mahleb, dill, parsley, tarragon, basil, oregano, thyme, rice, honey, beans, chickpeas, lentils, cashews, cheese, milk, yogurt, sugar, olives, mussels, flour, egg noodles/pasta, paprika, saffron, ginger.
Travelling Foodies: What to Eat When You Travel to Armenia
Any tourist who travels to Armenia will experience an exotic experience when it comes to eating any of the dishes that you come across.
Almost all of the dishes will be different in some way or another. Armenia has a lot to offer when choosing what you would like to eat, from soups to meat dishes to fruit-filled desserts. Almost all food you will come across will be fresh, clean and organic as a lot of their food comes from new local sources.
When visiting, you have to try the Khorovats, a meat barbeque dish that is roasted over a fire and served with bread with onions and herbs. It also comes with roasted vegetables that are done over the fire. Another must-try dish is Tolma, which is either beef, pork or mutton wrapped in grape leaves stuffed with minced herbs and vegetables like oregano, rice, basil, tomatoes, eggplants and green peppers.
You should also try out Khash, a dish prepared from beef feet and is served with a fragrant broth. It is traditionally served at breakfast time. Finally, you must try out Gata, a soft dough that is layered with butter and sugar.