The Food You Should Try
February 14, 2020 11:11 AM   Subscribe

There is a country named Georgia (please do not ever mix it with the state). Georgia is famous for many things, like ancient culture, alphabet, nature, wine and of course food. Georgians are proud of their food even more as about culture. Top Georgian foods are: Khinkali, Mtsadi, Chakapuli and of course Khachapuri!
posted by (37 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
Most of the food is outside of my reach due to gluten, but those are some fantastic alphabets.
posted by bile and syntax at 11:16 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]

+1 for Khachapuri being delicious; I am sad that the only way I can get any near me is to make my own.

So much cheese!
posted by dinty_moore at 11:17 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]

I have had some great khachapuri and some other great khachapuri and I am forced to conclude that there is no such thing as less than great khachapuri.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:17 AM on February 14 [7 favorites]

There is a very, very good cookbook called Tasting Georgia which, if you're at all interested the dishes, I highly recommend.
posted by heyitsgogi at 11:24 AM on February 14 [5 favorites]

I've been dying to get out and try some khachapuri, which is definitely having an NYC Moment. Perhaps this will motivate me to finally schlep to one of the restaurants.
posted by praemunire at 11:34 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]

I spent a month travelling around Georgia in 2009 and ever since have dreamed of badrijani - delicious eggplant rolls stuffed with walnut, herbs, and pomegranate. They were divine and I probably ate my body weight in eggplant on that trip. I've never been able to make a good enough replica at home, but this may be the push I needed to try again.

If you're ever in Seattle and need a khachapuri fix, Dacha Diner makes them fresh in Capitol Hill!
posted by Behemoth, in no. 302-bis, with the Browning at 11:39 AM on February 14 [11 favorites]

posted by supermedusa at 11:49 AM on February 14

delicious eggplant rolls stuffed with walnut, herbs, and pomegranate

omg Behemoth, do you know of some good recipes to try??
posted by supermedusa at 11:51 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]

Khachapuri is pizza without the vegetable/fruit pretense. Basically it was made for kid me.
posted by srboisvert at 11:53 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]

I was at a potluck years ago where a young Georgian woman brought a ratatouille-type, multicolored, vegetarian stew in a tagine bowl (with those conical lids). The flavors were so intense and reduced and well-merged, and yet the bite-sized vegetables were soft and moist without being mushy, so she was obviously an experienced cook. I never got around to asking her about it, but it became a food memory for me; coincidental to this post I was Googling yesterday, and found recipes for Ajapsandali, though I don't know if these recipes teach the technique you have to know to get the flavors to sing like that. We eat Chinese rice often and I think this would go so well with it.
posted by polymodus at 11:57 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]

Oh, I'll never ever forget going to that Georgian restaurant in Moscow with my friend. It was so good, we went back as many times as possible. We ordered stuff having no idea what any of it was, but it was so damn good. So many flavors. So many delicious spices mixed together. The kharcho. I tried to make it myself a long time ago. It just didn't taste right at all.
posted by kitcat at 12:02 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]

in NYC there's also Cheeseboat(have ordered, was great) in Willy B and Old Tblisi Garden in the West Village that I've been meaning to try...
posted by Capricorn13 at 12:07 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]

I've never tried khachapuri, so with that being said, if anyone has any recipes that are worth bookmarking, please DM or share them here, would love to try to make some. Also, this is a wonderful post, thank you for making it. :)
posted by Fizz at 12:07 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]

As a Georgian staple food, the price of making khachapuri is used as a measure of inflation in different Georgian cities by the "khachapuri index," developed by the International School of Economics at Tbilisi State University.[2][3]
posted by Mrs Potato at 12:24 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]

puri is the Georgian word for bread makes me ponder linguistic legacies merging wtih the culinary along the ancient trading routes out of India
posted by Mrs Potato at 12:27 PM on February 14 [5 favorites]

Having just had Khinkali for the first time few weeks ago (at Kargi Gogo) I can confirm that they are absolutely delicious.
posted by Dr. Twist at 12:38 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]

Fuck yes, Georgian food. Had it once in my life when we stumbled upon a Georgian restaurant in St. Petersburg, Russia. I still have dreams about what I ate there. Very sad I don't have access to anything remotely similar where I am now :(
posted by astapasta24 at 12:39 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]

Old Tbilisi Garden now delivers to my office so I am working on becoming a human sphere composed of 90% khachapuri.
posted by prefpara at 1:17 PM on February 14 [5 favorites]

We have a wonderful Georgian restaurant here in DC, Supra which has a fabulous Georgian wine list, great khinkali, and of course khachapuri. Adjaruli khachapuri has been trendy here for a few years now since Compass Rose started serving it, and it's one of the perfect foods for my tastes: the yeasty chewiness of the dough, the tartness of the cheese, the richness of the egg. Briefly, the legendary and dearly departed Ray's Hell Burger of Arlington, VA ran a Pale Fire-themed pop-up called Tasty Dugout featuring several different riffs on the adjaruli khachapuri and my dinner there (to celebrate my vegetarian brother's birthday) was one of my favorite meals of all time.

I would like to add that Georgia also kills it in Eurovision Song Contest submissions. Honestly, unbelievable to me they haven't won yet.
-Nina Sublatti - Warrior (2015)
-Ethno-Jazz Band Iriao - For You (2018)
-Oto Nemsadze - Keep on going (2019, about Russia's overnight territory grabs on its border with Georgia via stringing barbed wire fences across Georgian backyards and separating neighbor from neighbor)
-HM: the time they were sadly too transparent in protesting against Russia in 2008 with Stephane & 3G's all-out sparkly disco stomp of a track titled *ahem* We Don't Wanna Put In and got booted for violating Eurovision's no-politics rule.

I realize that engaging with an entire country's culture through food and music is pretty superficial, but those are my main hobbies so that's the lens through which I often view the world and through that lens Georgia has a lot to offer.
posted by capricorn at 1:19 PM on February 14 [5 favorites]

Georgia is also famous for having many of the world's strongest women chess players. There's been a fair amount written about why that might be, but the explanation that's stuck with me is in Shahade's book. Basically it's because there's already a culture of women playing chess going back a century+, so there's more support for girls and women learning the game. Simple really.
posted by Nelson at 2:50 PM on February 14 [2 favorites]

Wow, that Chakapuli has more tarragon than I have ever seen in one place!
posted by Oyéah at 3:18 PM on February 14

Here is one of those video recipes for Khinkali.
posted by Oyéah at 3:24 PM on February 14

Yes I would like approximately 60000 khachapuri and a vat of orange wine to go with them, and how about a side order of polyphony with that?

Georgians singing with food

Folk song in Sighnaghi after a barbecue

Hamlet Gonashvili had an amazing voice, capable of great sweetness as well as declamatory resonance. It just seems so easy for him, such perfect balance and flow. Sadly, he died at the age of 57 after falling from an apple tree.

Hamlet Gonashvili - Tskinskaro

Hamlet Gonashvili - Orovela (ploughing song)
posted by Pallas Athena at 3:57 PM on February 14 [7 favorites]

Saakartvelo gamarjos!
posted by nestor_makhno at 4:04 PM on February 14

Came in to suggest that any DC mefis should definitely go to Supra (we're having our rehearsal dinner there—that's how much we love them), and saw that capricorn already mentioned them in a much better and informative comment, so consider this an endorsement of their recommendation and their comment as a whole.
posted by General Malaise at 4:25 PM on February 14

Georgians singing with food

Why don't I have neighbors like this? Instead I just have loud stompers and late-night video game players. I would much rather hear beautiful polyphonic singing through the walls at all hours.

I keep seeing articles about Georgian food and it all looks amazing. I would love to go there someday.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:55 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]

Fizz -- not a Georgian so can't comment on authenticity, but I am fan with of Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid's khachapuri take. They sort of specialize in this sort of coffee table food writing where their books are glossy volumes that are partially travel writing, photo essay, and cookbook, but the upshot is that the recipes are pretty well grounded in talking to locals and built on some in country experience rather than just a bunch of internet research.
posted by bl1nk at 7:49 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]

Georgia is my favorite place I haven't been to yet. I had the country as a geography assignment in 8th grade, well before the end of the USSR, and I've wanted to go ever since.
Last year my kids gave me Tasting Georgia, mentioned above by heyitsgogo, and I strongly recommend.
posted by mumimor at 12:44 AM on February 15

My spouse and I had the pleasure of attending my brother's wedding in Georgia. We spent two weeks there, split between Batumi and and Tbilisi — I must have eaten several times my bodyweight. Everything was fantastic, but the wedding feast was the most amazing meal I have ever had. The wedding proper was about 20 minutes; the feast lasted several hours into the night. The courses were spread out such that I was almost always ready for whatever new delicacy arrived. Also, Georgian wine is magic—I finished off a couple of pitchers¹ on my own and had no sign of a hangover the next day.

Somehow, I actually lost weight during the trip.

¹ I'm told there is footage of me dancing so energetically that I split my pants.
posted by thedward at 12:57 AM on February 15 [3 favorites]

I fell I love with ajarski Khachapuri when we were living in the San Fernando Valley and were surrounded by Armenian restaurants. Our favorite pizza place, Royal Pizza on Oxnard, made it in the pizza oven. Come to find out it’s a staple food all over the region and has localized spellings and regional variants in many different countries.
posted by lostburner at 6:56 AM on February 15

Sorry prefpara, you may disagree... but “Old Tbilisi Gardens” in NYC is a nasty tourist trap, with the most un-Georgian “hospitality” you’ll ever experience. Avoid at all costs. The food is mediocre at best and I know Georgian food well. The service is just ugly. And the one time I ate there I left enraged. It is the single *worst* restaurant I’ve eaten at in NYC, and I’ve lived here for 23 years. Prices are pretentious at best. The service is downright mean.

Chama mama on 14th is good. Very good.
posted by spitbull at 7:10 AM on February 15

By the way, the way to spot a tourist trap restaurant in Manhattan is that they charge a fixed service fee even for parties of two. It’s 18% at OTG, and they do that because no one would ever tip them honestly after five minutes of dealing with their nastiness.
posted by spitbull at 7:15 AM on February 15

There's no beating the taste of the food in actual Georgia because of how fresh and good their ingredients are. I don't know what they do to their tomatoes and cucumbers, but they're miles above even good organic EU produce, and they do amazingly simple things with excellent meat. Cheese too - good Megrelian sulguni is unbelievable. Even for the wine there's no beating the taste of fresh from a giant clay jar. It's criminal that due to lack of agricultural industry almost none of it but the wine gets exported. I certainly did my part in smuggling a sizeable shipment of sulguni cheese to the EU...
posted by I claim sanctuary at 11:03 AM on February 15

adding a visit to Georgia to my bucket list!
posted by supermedusa at 11:55 AM on February 15

Oh god I would MURDER a Borjomi right now.
posted by LMGM at 12:49 PM on February 15 [1 favorite]

I climbed Mount Kazbek about ten years ago. Not all the way up, just as far as a bumbling backpackers could go in jeans and lightweight hiking boots. There was a team on their way up to the summit and they met us in our way back down from the foot of the glacier. They had predropped some supplies and they opened them up and shared them. And that’s how I ended up having Khachapuri and cognac for lunch at 12000 feet.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 12:13 AM on February 17 [3 favorites]

Oda House in the East Village is another good option for Georgian in NYC.
posted by Grither at 6:47 AM on February 18

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