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A Guide to Georgian Food

Georgia is home to one of the most unique cuisines we’ve seen anywhere, and we can’t get enough of it. Delicious, hearty, and always served in big portions, eating here is going to give you everything you want from alpine cooking.

Each region of Georgia brings something different to the table. Despite being such a relatively small country, there’s a surprising amount of diversity in Georgia’s cuisine and every province has its own spin on national dishes.

Some areas like their khinkali served with lamb; others beef and onions. Other areas might serve khachapuri simply with a poached egg; many choose to add extra ingredients like spices and veggies.

And while the above might be oversimplifying things a little, the culinary permutations offered in Georgia are truly immense.

This article is a brief dive into the basics of Georgian food and the best dishes this country has to offer. You may know of Georgia’s staples (and rightly so!) but there are so many more culinary marvels waiting to be tried.

What is “Traditional Food” in Georgia Anyway?

Credits: Nathan Jordan

Georgian food is undeniably one-of-a-kind, boasting a diet that you won’t find anywhere else on the planet. This is a land of hearty mountain food perfect for keeping warm and refueling after lengthy treks.

The Georgian diet is very carb-heavy and uses a ton of bread, cheese, and various combinations of those two staples. Georgia’s most famous dish is almost definitely Khinkali – the Georgian version of dumplings – but there are more than a few other prominent standouts that every visitor should try.

Most of the time, food here isn’t too heavily reliant on meat. While it isn’t uncommon per se to see meat in a dish, it’s also not exactly a staple of the diet here. Bread, cheese, egg, and butter dominate the diet instead, meaning you will never be left feeling less than full.

What is Georgian Food Like?

Like the culture, Georgian food is an eclectic mix influenced by the many different cultures that surround it. As a nation that has served as a crossroads of sorts over the generations, Georgian food resembles many other regional cuisines but is still distinctly its own.

It doesn’t hurt either that Georgia’s neighbors have some of the best food on the planet as well. (We’d be borrowing their recipes as well if we could!) We’re talking about culinary titans such as Turkey, Armenia, and Iran, to name a few.

Plov, kabob, mezze, dolmas, and much more are all found in some form in Georgia – either using the same name or something else – and all are prepared to perfection.

So heavenly is the mixture of culinary elements in Georgia, that has been much imported into its northern neighbor, Russia. In fact, Georgian food is arguably the most popular food in Russia and restaurants serving it seem endless.

Is Georgian Food Vegetarian-Friendly?

Credits: Nathan Jordan

Absolutely, 100% yes, without a doubt. Even in the more rural parts of the country, people don’t tend to use too much meat, so vegetarians won’t find themselves struggling here.

That being said, vegans will still have a harder time than vegetarians. Seeing as Georgians use cheese and egg so frequently, it’s going to be more difficult to get by on such a diet. The major cities have plenty of vegan options available but if you find yourself exploring the country’s more remote locations, options will be limited.

How Spicy is Georgian Food?

Georgian food is incredibly flavorful and delicious, but spice (the hot kind) is rarely – if ever – present in dishes. You will never struggle to find any mild dishes to eat. Even when diners are presented with a “spicy” option at restaurants and street food stands, in practice that usually consists of more sauce being put into the dish (ketchup, in many cases) that simply doesn’t have any kick.

The default cooking style, though, is non-spicy, and in Georgia that is probably the better choice in most situations. Georgian gastronomy is already delicious and doesn’t need the unnecessary addition of sauces that simply don’t match the dishes this country has to offer.

Traditional Georgian Food to Try

Let’s get to it and check some of the best and most famous foods in Georgia already!

Adjaruli Khachapuri

Khachapuri is arguably Georgia’s most famous dish. Also known as the “cheese boat” and is quite literally that: a boat made of bread with the middle full of cheese, butter, and other toppings. When done right, this plate is to die for and can easily serve as a full meal on its own.

Hailing from Georgia’s far western region of Adjara, the Adjaruli variant of the khachapuri is probably the most beloved version. Prepared by mixing together the egg, cheese, and butter and then eaten by cutting off the bread from the edges to then dip in the middle, it is absolutely divine.

There are few dishes better suited for rewarding yourself after a long trek. This is one of the heartiest, filling, and most enjoyable plates in a country that is overflowing with delicious meals.

Just be careful to not eat too much – the infamous “khachapuri belly” is a well-known aftereffect in this country.

Khinkali

Another iconic Georgian dish, the khinkali is essentially Georgia’s version of the dumpling. Coming in various options, it is much doughier than its Asian counterparts. On top of that, khinkali have a lot of broth that is meant to be consumed before the meaty bits of the khinkali get taken on.

Typically, one khinkali is going to cost 1.50-1.80 Georgian Lari (about half a dollar) and most places require you to order a minimum of five.
Keep in mind that khinkali takes longer to prepare than most meals, so when ordering at a restaurant, you should be prepared for a fairly lengthy wait. That said, this is the food that Georgia is most well-known for, and for good reason. It’s delicious and more than worth the extra time to wait!

Also, you must know that there is a very specific way to eat khinkali, and how you go about it will influence your credibility in the eyes of the locals. The key is to drain all the soup from the dumpling without letting any go to waste. The amount of liquid left on your plate is roughly equal to how much of a tourist you will look like. Be sure to brush up on your technique.

Churchkhela

You’ll find this candle-lookalike snack at what seems like nearly every food stall in the country. Not exactly a proper meal but a sweet, quick bite instead, churchkhela is very popular among Georgians and is one of the foremost examples of traditional Georgian food.

This is the kind of grub to go for when you’re already out and about and looking for something to keep you going until your next meal, and shouldn’t serve as a replacement for a full lunch or dinner. Generally composed of condensed juice, nuts, and flour, churchkhela is a snack that’s made for sustenance, and a little sweetness.

Churchkhela is an ancient regional food that was often carried by soldiers on the move as a snack due to how filling it is. It is such an important part of Georgian culture that the style of Churchkhela haling from Kakheti is now part of Georgia’s cultural heritage list.

Megruli Khachapuri

Credits: Nathan Jordan

The Megruli Khachapuri (we can call this the “megruli” for short) is another one of Georgia’s more famous khachapuri variants. A bit similar to a pizza, the Megruli is basically a pan of warm bread filled with melted cheese. This dish is as simple as it is satisfying, and it is often a staple of the huge feasts at guesthouses in the Caucasus.

Many hikers use this as their go-to for stuffing themselves after a long, tiring day of trekking and it’s easy to see why. It’s a big, carb-heavy dish and even having just a slice or two goes a long way in satiating those pangs of hunger that inevitably come with long-distance hikes.

Coming from the western province of Mingrelia bordering the Black Sea, you can find this dish pretty much nationwide. But naturally, the best ones will be found within Mingrelia itself.

Nigvziani Badrijani (Eggplant Rolls)

Credits: Nathan Jordan

 This eggplant-based creation is one of the more distinctive meals of traditional Georgian cuisine and is quite a popular side dish and appetizer at restaurants. Stuffed with walnut filling and garlic while wrapped in eggplant, these small rolls are one of Georgia’s best offerings when done right.

Sadly, this is an easy dish to mess up as it already tends to be on the salty side – like much of Georgian food – and so occasionally this otherwise delicious spread will not live up to the hype.

However, most of the time the chefs know exactly what they’re doing and use just the right amount of seasoning with the rolls, making them a must-try dish during your adventure in Georgia.

Mtsvadi (Meat skewers)

Serving as a core part of Georgian barbecue, mtsvadi – or meat skewers – are one of the few Georgian staples that are meat-based. Not unique to Georgia (the kabob is international at this rate) but a timeless classic nonetheless.

To put it bluntly, mtsvadi is your standard meat on a stick. You can find it almost everywhere in Georgia, but the eastern region of Kakheti is particularly known for its quality skewers.

Keep in mind that the most popular meat in Georgia by far is pork, and that also extends to mtsvadi. Other meats like beef are rarer and more expensive, so if you’re feeling carnivorous, you’ll be stuck with pork the majority of the time.

Lobiani

Credits: Nathan Jordan

Georgian cuisine has mastered the concept of “simple is beautiful”; and lobiani is no exception to that rule. Literally just bread and beans, lobiani is still somehow one of the most gratifying kinds of food you can get your hands on in Georgia.

Lobiani is prepared simply: stewed kidney beans spread inside a pastry and baked to perfection. Think rice and beans (carbs and proteins) but much more convenient and arguably more delicious.

Easy to prepare and dirt cheap, lobiani is an excellent go-to for filling up on a cold day. You’ll find lobiani being served at any one of the countless bakeries lining the streets, and it also makes appearances at pretty much every guesthouse you might stay at.

Imeruli

Credits: Malkhaz Tchubabria (wikicommons)

Imeruli is the most popular kind of cheese in Georgia and a staple of the cuisine. Originating from the Imereti region. this semi-hard, fresh cheese is crafted from cow’s milk and is notable for its mild, slightly tangy flavor and soft, elastic texture. The traditional production process involves hand-stretching the curd and brining it, which gives it its unique flavor.

Imeruli is quite ubiquitous and is a key ingredient in several traditional Georgian dishes, especially in khachapuri. The cheese is also used in salads, pastries, and as a standalone snack.

Beyond its culinary uses, Imeruli cheese represents a connection to rural agricultural practices. Its production helps preserve age-old cheesemaking techniques that have been passed down through generations and underscores the Georgian values of hospitality.

Don’t be surprised when walking through regions like the Svaneti to be served copious amounts of this cheese as it is both a local product and an honor to be served.

Paska

Credits: AMartiniouk (wikicommons)

Resembling something between a cake and a giant muffin, paska is strongly tied to one of the most important holidays on the Georgian calendar: Easter.

Easter is perhaps the holiday that the vast majority of – if not all – Georgians take most seriously, with what seems like the entire country shutting down for the weekend. In the leadup to the holiday, tons of bakeries are full of almost exclusively this item for purchase. Each family either buys or makes their own paska to eat.

Paska is essentially a type of hearty sweet bread that Georgia has in common with Russia and Ukraine, and is meant as a celebratory dish. It is inseparable from Easter celebrations here and serves as a vital part of Georgian culture.

Because it’s so closely connected to Easter, it’s sadly available only during the week leading up to the holiday. If you’re lucky enough to be in Georgia during Easter celebrations (it’s a great time to visit), getting your hands on paska is something you can’t miss out on.

Wrap Up: Traditional Georgian Food Guide

Georgia is one of the most unique countries you’ll ever visit, and that also extends to its cuisine. The food Georgia is known for is without equal, with most of the traditional offerings here being available only here and nowhere else.

Whether you’re going for khachapuri, lobiani, or something else, Georgian food is wholesome, delicious, and above all else, satisfying. This tiny country in the Caucasus is a gastronomic haven and when you leave, you may find yourself hungry for more of Georgia’s culinary wonders.

Want to take a walk on the wild side of Europe?

Consider visiting Georgia with us! We organize yearly trekking tours in some truly remote parts of the country.

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Welcome to our Journal!

snow lake trek pakistan

Here at Epic Expeditions, adventure is constantly on our minds. 

Our blog – or Journal as we like to call it – contains epic trip stories, photo diaries, and news about new tours. 

Thanks for checking it out! 

What's new in the journal?

The trip we're most stoked about

NEPAL
Island Peak Climbing Expedition

Next trip: October 14th - 31st, 2024

Adventure Guide

Hailing from the Toronto region of Eastern Canada, with a background as a former standout athlete (hockey of course) and a  love of mountain adventure, Clark is a welcomed addition to the Epic team.

In addition to being a keen photographer and adventurer, Clark brings his brilliant sense of humor, leadership skills, and positive attitude to everything he puts his mind to. 

When he is not leading trips, he is working on taking over the hard apple cider game in Canada as a skilled craft brewer. 

Adventure Guide

Noemi grew up in the mountains of German-Speaking Switzerland where she naturally developed a deep love and respect for mountain environments.

She is a talented photographer, aspiring climber, and speaks at least 5 languages fluently including Arabic (and probably a few more that we don’t know about), which she taught herself in a matter of months by watching YouTube videos. 

Noemi has spent the last several years traveling, hiking, and photographing her way around many different countries in the Middle East, South and Central Asia, and Europe, and we could not be more stoked to welcome her to the Epic team! 

Adventure Guide

As our man on the ground in Mongolia, there is not much this legend can’t do. As a native the Bayan-Ölgii province of the Western Mongolia Altai, Syerik has been working as a guide and tourism entrepreneur…

for the past several years and is one of the rising stars in Mongolia adventure travel industry. 

He is currently building a beautiful Ger (Yurt) camp near his hometown where he will host Epic Mongolia team members on our trip as well as other travelers from around the world! 

He is the perfect guide for your trip to Mongolia. Serik did an amazing job giving us a well rounded experience in the Altai NP region and down in the Gobi…
The food was fantastic and Serik gave us many opportunities to learn about the Kazakh culture in that region including traditional meals. (I can’t recommend enjoying the milk tea enough!)

– Coastal

Head of canine operations

Choriza started off life as a care-free vagabond on the streets of Madeira Island without any place to call home. From the moment we met her, we knew this dog was just different, and it was pretty much love at first sight. 

She gave up the dog street life in favor of joining her new dad Chris to become a full-time member of the Epic family towards the end of 2022.

These days she can be found listening in on the fringes of important Epic business meetings while half-asleep on the couch. She is a keen hiker, lover of mud, rare steak, and might just be the sweetest little dog we have ever seen. 

Adventure Guide

An experienced trek leader and
IFMGA aspirant ski guide, avid alpine climber, devoted adventure photographer.

Organized and guided trekking expeditions, climbs and ski tours in Tajikistan’s Pamirs, Patagonia, Peru, Morocco, Nepal, Kyrgyzstan, Georgian and Russian Caucasus and Kamchatka.

A full member and meets the organiser of the British Alpine Club. Visited over 40 countries, lived in the UK for four years. Certified first-aider.

We joined Andrew on a fantastic trip to the Fann Mountains in Tajikistan, pure nature and magnificent scenery! Andrey was super prepared and led us safely up and down numerous passes and through some rough and icy cold rivers. Thank you for a very memorable trip, your planning and prep was excellent!

– Monika Steinlechner

epic expeditions team

Adventure Guide

Our man in Nepal, Sandip is what we like to call a “Swiss Army Knife”. There is not much Sandip can’t do when it comes to helping Epic to run our expeditions smoothly in Nepal.

His tireless work ethic, passion for all things trekking in the Himalayas, and smart decision-making mean that Sandip is a truly invaluable member of our team.

Sandip is passionate about showing visitors to his country an amazing time, and he goes above and beyond to make sure that happens. 

His company Himalayan Masters is Epic’s trusted partner in Nepal and one of the country’s top new tour agencies.

We really enjoyed the entire journey, and I would like to say that Sandip is truly professional. He guided us and he is a hardworking person, providing us with the best service and taking care of each one of us. Plus, he is super funny! The kind of professionnal you always want to find on your path for your explorations! 

– Alexandra Ruth

Fairy Meadows

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Our Favorite Experiences

#1 Sunrise from Reflection Lake

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#2 Hiking to Nanga Parbat Base Camp

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#3 Playing cricket with the locals

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Trips Where We Visit Fairy Meadows

Our flagship Pakistani adventure tour.  Road trip with some  hiking and cultural immersion.

A trekking-style tour that features some very remote locations, inlcuding a K2 viewpoint.

Adventure Guide

João has born in the mountains of Madeira Islands in Portugal. Nature lover, writer, musician, guide, for him, a day without contact with outdoor vibes is a nightmare. 

With a degree in Cultural Studies in Portugal and a Master of Arts in Global Cultures and Creativity in the U.K.

João found out what really matters in life can be found on the trails, and in the contact with people from different backgrounds and cultures.

Guiding, crazy trekking missions, and sharing observations about the natural world, – these are some of João’s passions. 

After trekking to K2 Base Camp and exploring all over Northern Pakistan, he fell in love with the country and the local people. His experiences resulted in his desire to share these feelings with the world.

João is one of the most experienced guides at Epic and his skillset and positive mindset in the mountains is second to none

When not in Pakistan, João is  guiding and exploring in the Madeira Islands trails –  discovering some of the hidden treasures on his Portuguese Island.

João I can not thank you enough for the off the beaten paths and views you keep giving. Definitely one of the most challenging and amazing hikes we did 1200m meters all the way up to Fanal forest and circling back to the hidden village. Wow!

– Jeffery 

travel hunza valley

Adventure Guide

Sohail is the newest addition to the Epic team and we are beyond stoked to have him on board. As a veteran of the Karakoram and a native of Karimabad in Hunza, there is not much Sohail can’t do in the mountains. 

Besides having the ability to speak more languages than we can count, Sohail has explored every corner of Gilgit Baltistan and logs more trekking miles 

in a year than most people will do in a lifetime. As of the summer of 2022, Sohail has summited Gasherbrum 1, Gasherbrum 2, and K2 – three of Pakistan’s five 8000-meter peaks. Sohail guides several trips including our annual bespoke expeditions but specializes in Hunza Valley tours.

Chris and Sohail, and the team at Epic are FANTASTIC! Highly recommend anyone to do a tour with ‘Epic’. They have the perfect balance of fun, excitement and wild adventures, tied in with being super professional and ensuring your safety/health in a foreign environment. Don’t waste a moment and book a tour with these guys as the value for money is UNREAL!

– Borgan

iran travel tour

Adventure Guide

Pedro’s been traveling all around the globe since 2009. His keen interests in documentary photography, rural life, and local people from different ethnic groups have been the focus of many of his professional projects.

Since 2012, he has developed his passion for travel and awesome shared experiences into a full-time adventure photography tour leader position.

Pedro has found himself continuously going back to the Middle East, with his likely favorite destination being Iran. Pedro lead his 11th tour in Iran with Epic in spring 2020

When Pedro’s not traveling the world with Epic Expeditions, you’ll find him based in the western south of Portugal planning he’s next adventure missions, logistics and working out his photos in local exhibitions.

 I loved the combination of hiking, camping around breathtaking scenery mixed with the cultural aspects. The guide (Pedro) is knowledgeable and work very hard to make the trip as memorable as possible. All in all an epic adventure with some extremely epic individuals! Go for it, you won’t regret it!

– Coastal

Diane Bouvet

Adventure Admin / Marketing

After fleeing from the corporate fashion world in Paris towards the start of 2020, Diane has been working as a web developer and graphic designer remotely from various bases across the globe

She brings all of her incredible design and organizational power to Epic Expeditions and is responsible for many of the beautiful behind-the-scenes design elements. 

Diane has been to Iran and to Pakistan twice including all over Gilgit Baltistan and KPK.

k2 gondogoro la trek

Head of Operations | Guide

A veteran of Pakistan travel, Ralph is an experienced guide, photographer and writer who specializes in documenting remote locations. 

Not one to simply go where everyone else does, he insists on exploring new and lesser-known areas.

Together with Epic Expeditions, he shows people parts of Pakistan that most other operators don’t even know about. He is particularly fond of the village of Barah, which he believes will become just as famous as Hunza one day.

Just got back from EBT’s Trekking Amongst Giants 15 day tour. The experience was first class. Ralph, our head guide, ensured that the entire trip ran smoothly and relatively on time (a bonus for anyone travelling in Pakistan). We had so many unforgettable days on the tour and the trekking was well-planned, safe but also a rewarding challenge. 

– Calvin


Traveling to a non-tourist destination can be a little intimidating but EBT takes all of the worry and trepidation away. From the pre-trip call to meeting the wonderful staff in person you can tell that you are dealing with a company that has a passion for what they do each and every day. Ralph, Zahid, and Khan were supportive, kind, and always willing to go the extra mile to make sure that everyone on the trip was getting what they wanted out of the experience.

– Katrina 

adventure tours pakistan

Founder | Adventure Guide | Director

Since he started exploring the world, Chris has been seeking out every shade of adventure in various parts of the globe and had visited more than 70 countries along the way. 

Over the last 10 years, Chris has logged more than 7000 trail miles across five continents and climbed multiple 6000 + 7000 meter peaks in Pakistan and Nepal.

A few years back, a distant dream and a deep passion for the mountains and the people of Pakistan led Chris to co-found Epic Expeditions at a time when foreign adventure tourism in Pakistan was almost nonexistent. Since then, Chris has guided more than 20 expeditions to various parts of Northern Pakistan.

Chris believes in using photography and powerful adventure experiences to dismantle negative stereotypes regarding what mainstream media considers “dangerous” countries while facilitating unique and meaningful memories in the mountains for countless people from around the globe. 

For him, an ideal start to the day begins with a steaming cup of good coffee, the beam of a headlamp, alpine boots, and a camera in hand.

He lives in Madeira Island when not leading expeditions in far-flung lands. 

Chris also works as a writer and photographer on his blog Off the Atlas – an adventure travel blog all about Pakistan.  

Read this interview our staff did with Chris to learn more about him!

Chris believes in Pakistan and its people, and he believes in the value of journeys shared with others and family cultivated on the road. Honesty and integrity are at the heart of what he does, and this really shines through in his work as a guide. He also makes great coffee – whether at 5am in an empty guesthouse or half way up a Himalayan peak.”

– Will De Villers

Pakistan is a magical country! Had 3 of the best weeks of my life thanks to Epic Backpacking Tours with owner, and one of our awesome guides, Chris. From detailed itinerary, preparation with an equipment list, and visa assistance. To amazing food, great porters, helpful guides, and great accommodations. Epic really hit home run after home run. […]

Their desire for adventure and amazing trip is just as high as yours. Bring a good pound of coffee for the trip. French press coffee every morning and no average tin coffee, plus you’ll be in your guides good books.

– Clark Tyler

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