Georgia boasts a unique Eastern European cuisine and each region has its own speciality. A blend of Caucus and Persian traditions produces mouth-watering dishes which can be enjoyed throughout Tbilisi.
Fancy yourself a big pizza fan? Then you’re going to absolutely love khachapuri, which is a national dish in Georgia. There are several different versions of this tasty, cheese-filled flatbread. One of the most popular types is served with butter and egg yolk in the middle. Khachapuri is sold in restaurants and as street food. It is so popular that it’s actually used as a measure of inflation in some Georgian cities, known as the “khachapuri index.”
If you’re planning to visit Georgia then be prepared to eat plenty of khinkali. These are dumplings made from fresh dough, packed with savoury minced meat and spices. Fillings vary depending on the region, with pork, beef and lamb all popular. There’s even a special way of eating khinkali: you hold it sideways, take a small bite and then drink the juice inside before tucking in and eating the rest of the dumpling.
Want something a little heartier? Lobio is a thick, tasty (slightly spicy) soup made with stewed kidney beans, onions, garlic, walnuts, coriander and chopped cilantro. This culinary delight is served inside a traditional Georgian clay pot served with flat cornbread called mchadi, which is used for dipping.
Another favourite dish in Georgia, we enjoyed a lovely dish of pkhali (also known as mkhali) at Shavi Lomi, a restaurant located in the heart of Tbilisi which puts a modern spin on delicious traditional dishes. Pkhali is a salad made of eggplant, spinach, cabbage, beets and beans mixed with herbs, garlic and ground walnuts.
Who knew eggplant could taste this good? Nigvziani badrijani is another speciality served all across Georgia. Eggplant is salted and divided into slices before being fried in oil and stuffed with a delicious paste filling made of garlic, walnuts, vinegar, coriander and fenugreek. These little rolls are bursting with flavour and are totally vegan-friendly.
Georgians adore their soup. Kharcho comprises beef, chopped walnuts, rice, cherry purée and coriander. This hearty dish, which perfectly blends herbs and spices, is served with fresh bread and is very, very filling. Although traditionally cooked with beef, Georgians also use lamb and veal for making kharcho and you’ll usually find it served before the main course.
Prepare your taste buds, because shashlik will blow you away. Grilled chunks of meat are placed on a skewer and cooked to perfection alongside mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, and onions. Although shashlik is eaten in traditional restaurants, it is more commonly sold as street food – enjoy it as a quick, delicious takeaway.
Chakapuli is one of the most popular dishes all across Georgia. This stew is made from lamb (boiled with white wine) green plum sauce and tarragon. It is stirred with tkemali sauce before garlic and chopped herbs are added into the mixture and cooked in the oven. Chakapuli is enjoyed during spring, when plums are typically ripe.
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