Armenian barbecue – must dish while in Armenia

Armenian barbecue - must dish while in Armenia

Armenian barbecue a must try dish

Ask any Armenian what must-try dish to sample while visiting Armenia and the reply is most likely to be Armenian barbecue. Locals refer to this dish as “khorovats”. Difficult to say yet delicious to eat! Marinated meat tenderly cooked over hot coals. YUM! Sounds simple but it is so central to the local culture it is present in almost every Armenian gathering. Whether it is a summer picnic with friends or a wedding celebration, Armenian barbecue is on the menu. This celebrated dish also has traditions involving song and dance. Held high above their heads, the dish arrives on the table singing a special song and dancing! A true celebration indeed!

Expression of Armenian hospitality 

Armenians are well known for their hospitality. Although the focus of the barbecue is normally on meat, there is also a vegan option too! The “summer khorovats” is a wonderful mix of barbecued vegetables. It usually includes eggplants, bell peppers, chilli peppers and tomatoes. Locals like to eat the barbecued vegetables either whole or chopped and mixed together like a salad. So when the barbecue fire starts, none of it goes to waste. First on the fire is the vegetables, followed by meat over the coals, and in between is potatoes with pork fat for extra flavour. Although the barbecue is tasty, to make it a meal it needs a worthy drink to go with it. As the barbecue song says: “Khorovats is a great thing, but without wine it’s worth nothing…”. Hence a true feast is expected when barbecue is on the menu. In fact an annual feast is held every year in the form of a festival! Normally it is held in mid-September in Akhtala. So if you are in Armenia at that time of year make sure to take part! However if you can’t make it to the festival then join our Inspiring Armenia or En-linking Caucasus Tours to sample a traditional Armenian barbecue. Here’s a video showing the barbecue making process during one of our tours.