Street Food & Georgia

Street Food & Georgia

Today, street food is a worldwide trend and an integral part of gastronomic tourism, reflecting the past and indeed present of a city, region, or country. Whether it be a snack, a meal, a dessert, or some other delicacy, washed down with a still or fizzy beverage, street food is prepared right in front of you. Besides the abundancy of flavors, what attracts people to street food is its low cost and easy accessibility.

What Makes Street Food Popular?

Street food is synonymous with cities, partly due to the often hectic pace of life. When rushing from  the metro to the office, or from one meeting to the next, street food satisfies your hunger quickly and conveniently. Generally, area city’s street food reflects some local cultural habits. 

In Georgia, the idea of street food has become increasingly popular as illustrated by the Taste Tbilisi street food festival, as well as other gastronomic festivals held in the regions, where versions of traditional dishes are prepared quickly for the hungry festival-goers. Traditionally, shawarma, tarragon and potato pies, donuts, and chebureki have been among the most common types of street food in Georgia but these are slowly being replaced as the scene undergoes a revolution.

In particular, Georgian cuisine is conducive to street food, since the majority of Georgian dishes can be eaten by hand, with khachapuri, being the most popular example. Meanwhile, some outlets offer street food infused with both Georgian and foreign flavors such as sulguni balls, chvishtari sticks, elarji cubes, and mchadi sandwiches. The main target market for such dishes is foreigners, but Georgians are also developing a taste for street food.

Variations of Georgian Street Food

The street food culture in Georgia is growing slowly, with outlets appearing in the main cities and the highways connecting them, as well as in shopping malls.

Bazari Orbeliani is perhaps Tbilisi’s leading hub for street food, where a number of food joints serve Georgian street dishes in the food court. As demand grows, so too does the number of such outlets. Here, you will find the ubiquitous tomato and cucumber salad, bright vegetables seasoned with herbs along with mchadi (Georgian cornbread), dishes with green ajika,, bazhe sauce with ghomi or bread, and distinctive flavors from many Georgian regions. An especially unmissable dish here is fried Megrelian ghomi with tripe and pork, which has emerged as a new favorite on the Georgia culinary scene.

Although at first, this corner of the market was largely dominated by burger joints, the selection has widened significantly and expands every day.

For those with a sweet tooth, in Tbilisi one can enjoy Central European chimney cake (trdelník), cinnabons, “fireplace cookies,” and also Georgian donuts, kada, baklava, dried fruits, churchkhela, and tklapi/pestil. Such treats bring a person comfort whatever the place or situation.

As its gastronomic culture continues to thrive and grow, Georgian cuisine has vast potential to soon become a street food paradise.

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