The Dish on Armenian Dishes – Part One: Daily Meals

One of the top questions for anyone who lives abroad is “What is the food like?” “What do you eat?” “Is the food good?”.

First of all, you should know that the typical Armenia village diet is very seasonal. Because most people have a garden and an orchard, the availability of food is based on what is in season or what has been preserved and stored away for later use.

At my site, my host mom has a garden with carrots, potatoes, peppers etc. and an orchard with apple, apricot, pear, peach and cherry trees.

Right now, most of the fruits and vegetables aren’t ripe yet. I get my fresh fruits and veggies at the open air market where they have been shipped in from places with warmer climates.

Later, I’ll post about food preservation methods, but until then here are my typical daily meals.

Breakfast

Oatmeal, prepared a variety of different ways. Before I had the language skills and the confidence to request things, I was eating hot dogs, cheese and cake for breakfast during training. Sine then, I have learned to negotiate making my own breakfast and found several ways to make oatmeal here. Eating the same thing every day can be boring so here is what I do:

Oatmeal with fresh strawberries.

 

Oatmeal with cinnamon and apples.

 

Oatmeal topped with cereal and strawberries.

Besides oatmeal, I usually have tea with my breakfast. The variety of tea here is really excellent. There is a good selection of loose leaf tea, as well as bagged tea. Most Armenians are coffee addicts and I don’t partake in coffee drinking, but having tea seems to be a good compromise. I even caved and got a french press, although I usually just put a tea bag in it and use it like a regular tea pot.

Lunch

Since I’ve moved to my permanent site, I’ve begun to occasionally cook my own lunch. My diet has changed as a result and I am learning the struggles of cooking from scratch.

Dolma made with grape leaves.

Dolma is one of most popular national dishes in Armenia. Curiously, this dish is often also served as Mediterranean food or Arabic food. Personally,  think the Armenian version is the best. Dolma usually contains seasoned beef and rice. Pictured above is dolma made with grape leaves, which is the most popular method. There is also another way to make dolma using cabbage instead of grape leaves.

 

A light meal of rice with some fresh fruits and vegetables.

 

The first non-breakfast meal I prepared for myself in Armenia. Potatoes and sausage, with a side of strawberries.

Dinner

Dinner here is usually a lighter meal. I often eat cutlet paired with some kind of salad, or potato. On occasion, I will also have pasta, or buckwheat.

Cabbage salad with corn.

As I adjust to Armenian food and learn how to cook more myself, I’ve grown to appreciate all the times when I had American food prepared for me every evening. I am hopeful to be able to learn to cook American foods with the resources I have available in Armenia.

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