When I travel to different countries the first thing I do at the beginning of my path to explore the country is trying local food. Food talks a lot about local people, their culture and traditions. To know better how Armenia “tastes” you have to try traditional dishes. Today I will tell you about three more dishes and will help you to select right restaurants and right food while traveling to this country.
Ghapama is a very popular dish in Armenia that is great for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. It looks very festive but you can try it any time of the year. Basically, it's a pumpkin filled with rice, random dried fruits such as cornel, apricot, plums, dates, prunes, and raisins, sometimes apples sliced with cinnamon and crushed nuts. This is kind of a dish that makes you enjoy not only the taste itself but also the process of eating. You can try a really good one at Tsirani Garden Restaurant (better to order it in advance as it takes time to be prepared) .
Spas is a white soup much liked by locals (again good for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians). You can find this soup in the lunch menu of almost all the cafes and restaurants of Armenia. The soup is made with yogurt and some groats. On top, they usually crush fresh herbs. This light soup can be both a starter or something to try after the main dish as it also helps to digest heavy food. It can be served the way you prefer- either hot or cold.
Credits to AnnaPystynnikova
Harisa is also a dish to be tasted while you are in Armenia. It's made with wheat and chicken. It is cooked in water (while being mixed all the time) until becomes homogeneous. Before, this dish was considered to be festive but now it’s widely used on any occasion. Long time ago Harisa was cooked only in a clay jar but now it's not a must anymore.
When Grigor Illuminator got freedom after staying in Khor Virap for 13 years (you will learn this story in details in my upcoming articles) he asked to prepare food for poor people with wheat and meat and told guys to mix that food until being cooked (“mix this” in Armenian is “hari sa”. This is where the word "Harisa" came from).
During the Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman Empire, until being rescued by the French Navy, Armenians survived on Musa hill (dagh) eating Harisa as with the limited food they had that was the only possible thing to cook. That is why it’s a very important dish for Armenians. More about Musa Dagh you can learn from the book “The Forty Days of Musa Dagh” by Franz Werfel.
The photo is provided by Lavash restaurant
I hope that trying all the above-mentioned dishes, the ones mentioned in my previous article "Traditional dishes: Food made with love- part 1" and more to be presented in my upcoming articles, you will know how Armenia "tastes".
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