1. The food is incredibly cheap! One Kinkali (dumpling) may cost only .70 laris, which is equivalent to 28 cents, and 4 of those could easily be a meal.
2. Mushrooms everywhere! I recently discovered that I love mushrooms, and it’s a good thing Georgians always have a plentiful number of dishes involving mushrooms on the menu. Mushrooms with Sulguni cheese, mushrooms and rice, mushroom soup, stewed mushrooms… you name it!
3. Eggplant and walnut paste. I actually hate eggplant, but smothered in delicious walnut paste I couldn’t only stand it, but I actually loved it!
4. Churchella: the “snickers” of Georgia is actually much healthier than the chocolate bar I often eat. Walnuts (or other varieties) covered in dried grape juice, churchella is a delicious and somewhat healthy snack.
5. Donuts! I don’t know if they have these fantastic cream filled donuts anywhere else in Georgia, but at the top of the funicular stop in Tbilisi they have the absolute best donuts I have ever tasted, freshly made, with warm cream oozing out. YUM.
6. Flavored lemonades. The Georgians claim to have invented lemonade, and they have a very special twist on it. You can drink pear, cream, chocolate, tarragon, and countless other flavors of lemonade, which are surprisingly very tasty.
7. Lobio. Simply translated as “beans in a pot,” lobio is exactly as described: a clay pot filled with freshly cooked beans. It may be a simple dish, but it is very tasty, filled with protein, and only costs about 3 lari ($1.20).
8. Kinkali! Kinkali is a dumpling, usually filled with meat, but there are plenty of vegetarian varieties! My favorite was filled with cottage cheese, but I also tried versions filled with Sulguni cheese, potato, and mushrooms (again with the mushrooms…). Apparently when eating one you must leave the top on your plate as a polite gesture, but it also helps you count how many you’ve eaten!
9. Khatchapuri. We’ve now come to the (perhaps) most famous Georgian food. Chatchapuri is bread and cheese, simply put, but comes in many different varieties based on region. My favorite is shaped like a boat, with cheese, butter, and an egg yolk inside. To properly eat this type of Chatchapuri you must mix the cheese, butter, and egg together, and then dip the edges of your bread into the mixture.
10. Chvistari. This was my absolute favorite Georgian dish, hot cornbread with cheese baked inside. You must try Chvistari when visiting Georgia (or at your local Georgian restaraunt) and more importantly you must bring me back some!
Happy eating! Have you been to Georgia? What was your favorite dish? Which dish would you most like to try? Comment below!