Food

The following is some information about food availability in Armenia. I wrote it in the late fall. It’s based on my experiences and opinions in my small Armenian town, which means it doesn’t reflect the state of every place or every person in Armenia. Click here to read more about why I created this list.

PRODUCE
A lot of produce is available here, but it’s becoming more scarce and more expensive now that winter is coming.

It’s always hard or nearly impossible to find broccoli and leafy greens. Corn here is disgusting. They eat feed corn. It’s usually super easy to find cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, onion, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, garlic, and herbs like basil, cilantro, parsley, green onion. We also have eggplant.

CANNED ITEMS
The stores generally have a lot of canned goods available like tomato paste, pickles and other pickled veggies, peas (although I don’t love peas), various fruit jams, and other stuff I can’t remember right now. We don’t have tuna.

DAIRY
We do not have good cheese, so do not create a cheese dish, unless you also make the cheese from raw milk (which I did once, several years ago in Arizona. Not sure how hard it would be to do here, but it’s probably possible. There is rennet and citric acid.) Sometimes (unexpired) milk can be hard to find, but it’s not impossible. And if needed, I could probably find a neighbor with a cow. It’s really easy to find something similar to plain yogurt and greek yogurt at the stores. Also, sour cream, kefir, and butter are easy to find. Our butter is always unsalted.

FRUIT
There are tons of apples right now. We also have persimmon, pomegranate, pears, clementines, and grapes (with seeds). In season (so not at the moment) we also have cherries, plums, watermelon, apricots and tons of different kinds of berries: raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, currants… (just not blueberries or thimbleberries). Dried fruits include figs, pears, apricots, prunes and golden raisins.

STAPLES
A lot of cooking staples are available like salt, pepper, flour, egg, yeast, baking soda (we don’t have baking powder), vanillin (which is powdered vanilla with sugar added), chicken, beef, and vegetable bullion, white sugar (not brown), olive oil, vegetable oil, vinegar.

We don’t have crackers, maple syrup, or peanut butter. I usually make my own bread. We can also get something called lavash, which is similar to humongous tortilla shells. Lavash comes in an oblong shape, usually about 2.5 feet long by maybe 1.5 feet wide. We (Americans) use it when we make things like tacos or faijitas.

I cook a lot with lentils, rice, and noodles.

BAKING
I live at a high altitude but have never found it to affect what I cook. I can easily make a cake, a pie, and most cookies. We don’t have chocolate chips, but can buy a dark chocolate bar and smash it up. We have powdered sugar, cocoa, and condensed milk, but not evaporated milk. We don’t have corn starch, but have potato starch, which is basically the same thing.

OTHER
Some nuts are really easy to find, but a little more expensive, like almonds, walnuts, cashews, and peanuts. Peanuts are cheap.

I have a blender, which I recently got but have never used. It’s from a former volunteer. I have a small electric oven, and gas stovetop burners. I do not have a mixer, but I’m pretty good at beating stuff by hand. I do not have a fridge, so if I buy something that needs to be refrigerated, I eat it right away. Of course, now that it’s getting colder, my entire kitchen is a fridge, so I’m not worried that things will spoil.

Clean, cold water is readily available.

I usually don’t buy or eat meat. Right now our butcher shops are closed anyway, because we had anthrax in our area that came from a cow. Even when they’re open, it’s hard to get a certain cut of any animal. You usually order by the kilo, and they just hack a chunk off of what remaining animal part is left, using a gigantic axe on a wood chopping block.

I like to stir-fry, I eat a lot of spaghetti, I often make pizza, lentil soup, and many potato-based dishes. I’ve made pasty as well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *