Georgian cuisine is arguably one of the underrated ones in the world. Alexander Pushkin, a Russian poet from the 19th century stated “Every Georgian dish is a poem” and honestly, there would not be any other better way of describing Georgian cuisine.
Our country was ruled by Greeks, Iranians, Romans, Mongolians, Byzantines, Ottomans and Russians over the years and the history is reflected on our cuisine too- all of them brought their ingredients to Georgia and Georgians managed to incorporate these new ingredients to create an identity for local cuisine. Whenever you eat Georgian food it does not remind you of anything but Georgia itself.
The Georgian Cuisine is unique
Food is the great unifier that connects people across cultures and generations. The difference between food cultures around the world is influenced by many factors: history of a country, geographic location etc.
No matter which country you visit, you are always looking for your new favorite food and in my opinion, trying local cuisine is one of the best ways of learning about the new culture.
In today’s article I want to talk about the Top 10 Dishes Of Georgian Cuisine that you must try when visiting our beautiful country.
If I did not start this list by naming its majesty- Khinkali, I think I would upset Georgians, including myself.
Khinkali- Georgian dumplings are considered to be one of the best national dishes of our country; They are filled with meat that is mixed with local spices and one of the fascinating things about them would be traditionally twisted knot at the top.
Great thing is, Khinkali can be eaten by vegetarians too as potatoes, mushrooms or cheese can be used instead of meat.
Defining feature of the dish is delicious meat juice inside. Remember: you have to eat Khinkali with your hands and try not to spill any juice on the plate. Trust us, your experience of eating the dish is going to be more than amazing.
Khinkali definitely is one of the best dishes of Georgian cuisine.
“No supra is complete without a platter of steaming khinkali being served toward the end of the meal”.Carla Capalbo, author of Tasting Georgia, talks about khinkali to the blog Food and wine, where you also find the complete khinkali recipe.
Satsivi- A thick nut paste with chicken or turkey is one of the main attributes of New Year’s feast in Georgia. If you asked me, Satsivi, made from poultry, walnuts and piquant Georgian spices, could make even royal dinner better.
Satsivi in the Caucasus is similar with its texture to the nut paste sauces to the south, such as hummus, but with its texture, it does not taste like anything but Satsivi.
This chicken in garlic walnut sauce is a fresh way to enjoy chicken!Find the complete satsivi recipe on vikalinka.com
Khachapuri is my personal favorite- pastry filled with cheese that has different versions from region to region.
My advice would be trying Adjarian Khachapuri first- pastry shaped as a boat is filled with Georgian cheese and has a raw egg on top- just looking at it will make you drool.
Another common versions are Imeretian Khachapuri- shaped and sliced as a pizza and Megrelian Khachapuri shaped into a circular form and topped with melted cheese.
I am sure whenever you return to your country you will be craving Khachapuri, an amazing dish of Georgian cuisine, more than anything.
You’ll want to dive face-first into this swimming pool made of bread and cheese.Find the entire khachapuri recipe on Tastemade.
Kharcho is a traditional Beef soup and because of its amazing taste, it is well known outside of Georgia too.
The soup is traditionally made of beef chuck or brisket, added extremely delicious spice mix and traditional sour plum sauce- Tkemali on top of that. This soup is the perfect choice to warm your body up on a cold winter’s day.
The kharco soup is exceptionally delicious and has a characteristic rich flavor thanks to the spice mix that goes in it.Find the entire kharco recipe on cravingtasty.com
Lobiani -Traditionally eaten on St. Barbara’s day is a popular Georgian bread filled with mashed kidney beans that are flavored with onions and Georgian spices.
In Racha- region of Georgia Lobiani is usually baked with ham inside of it- to enhance its already unique taste. Vegetarians as well as vegans can enjoy delicious Lobiani that holds honorable place in Georgian cuisine.
#6 Nigvziani Badrijani (Eggplant with Walnuts)
Georgia is home to delicious fruits, vegetables and varieties of nuts and our cuisine includes them wisely very often.
One of the great example is Nigvziani Badrijani or Eggplant with walnut, to be more understandable. It might sound weird but trust me, this is the best eggplant that you will ever taste in your lifetime- Fried eggplant is stuffed with spiced walnut mix and topped with pomegranate seeds.
The dish is usually served as an appetizer and can be ordered anywhere- that speaks a lot about its place in Georgian cuisine.
The eggplant has a long history in Georgian cuisine. Many dishes are made with this vegetable; however eggplant with walnuts is considered the king of Georgian cold dishes.Find the complete Nigvziani Badrijani recipe on Georgian Journal.
Elarji is a famous dish from Samegrelo region and is made from cornflour, cornmeal and Sulguni – traditional Georgian cheese.
Ingredients might sound simple but cooking is not easy at all- It consists of cooking for an hour with special technique and steering occasionally. This work definitely pays off as stretching cheese with crunchy cornmeal melts in the mouth.
Elarji is a popular dish from Samegrelo region, made from coarse cornmeal, cornflour and Sulguni cheese.Find the complete step to step guide for the Elarji recipe on Georgiaabout.
#8 Soko Ketsze
Soko Ketsze or Mushrooms on a clay pot is a culinary masterpiece of Georgian cuisine without a doubt.
The mushrooms are baked and served in a special dish- Ketsi that is hand-made out of clay. Most of the times mushrooms are filled with butter and Georgian Sulguni cheese that is stretchy and gooey.
Achma is a type of Khachapuri but I feel the need of describing it, as it does not have the same texture, shape or taste.
Achma is originated from the Western Georgia- Adjara region and is a dish consisting of a few layers of tender dough, lots of cheese in between and a crispy top.
Achma could be compared to the famous Italian dish- Lasagna as they both have layered sheets of dough, but trust me, they do not taste the same.
You have to taste Achma if you are a cheese lover.
#10 Mchadi and Cheese
Mchadi and cheese is the most iconic duo that one can ever name.
Mchadi is a cornbread that would be served as an appetizer or a side and besides cheese, it is traditionally eaten with Lobio- beans made with Georgian spices. Warm Mchadi and cheese will warm your soul and body.
Want to discover the Georgian cuisine?
Hopefully you have enjoyed this reading! I invite you to try out some delicious and local specialties. These are my best 10 dishes of Georgian cuisine:
- Nigvziani Badrijani
- Soko Ketsze
- Mchadi and Cheese
With the help of the videos, you can even prepare them at home! Which one is you favorite?