The Culturally Influenced Cuisine of Azerbaijan
If you are a foodie and you are about to travel to Azerbaijan, with no clue about their cuisine and how its inspired by their history, their geography and their culture then you have come to the right place, because only a true foodie understands the need to actually know what goes inside your system and eventually becomes a part of the entire experience and stays with you long after its become a part of the ecosystem.
Its all in the Kebabs
That’s right!! Muslims have ruled over Azerbaijan for over thirteen centuries and the brethren of the kebabs is as strong as it is in any other part of the Muslim world. These moist meaty marvels are an essential on meat laden grills in Azerbaijan and the locals enjoy bonding over these flavorful meals with their family and friends.
A dash of the Mediterranean
Set in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan is a typical Eurasian state that shows signs of influence by both the continents. One quick glance over a local eatery’s menu and you will find yourself bringing prominent cultures together on your table.
However it is the European influence that must be given credit for balancing the meatiness of the Middle Eastern side of the meals with a variety of raw salads, rich creamy dips and their favorite – Dolmas and Sarmas, made with vine leaves.
Nar means fire in Arabic and you have to be really thick not to notice that Zoroastrianism was the pre-historic dominant religion of the country before Islam therefore I feel no shame in admitting that I confused the local’s love for their national fruit (that they like to call “Nar”) and signs reading “I love Nar” throughout the capital city as a way of showing respect to the religion of their ancestors 😛
God bless the local juice wala in the street that helped me connect the dots and figure out the similarity between our “Anar” and “A Nar” juice.
Sharing a picture of fresh local berries because we did not go to AZB in the right season for red juicy “Nars”
The cuisine overall is the perfect blend of flavors and traditions that ranges from street side shawarmas to fancy local eateries and while it binds a culturally diverse population together over their freshly brewed tea, the halal nomad in you will not return disappointed and your palate will be bursting with flavors by the end of your trip.