Abkhaz Food and Drink
Abkhaz Food and Drink Sokhumi Reviews
What to Eat and Drink in Abkhazia Jul 04, 2016
Traditional Abkhaz food is not that easy to find in the restaurants of Sokhumi (maybe it is elsewhere, but as I stayed in Sokhumi, I only ate out there), as many of the restaurants on the seafront cater more to Russian tastes and serve things like borsch (beetroot soup), shashlyk (grilled meat on skewers) and, strangely enough, sushi. A couple of places (specifically Nartaa, a huge and very popular restaurant on the seafront, so popular I couldn't get a table the twice I tried) do have some Abkhaz dishes on the menu, and things to look out for include akud (a dish made of beans) and abysta (a corn porridge, similar to Romanian mamaliga), which was served to me as part of my breakfast in one hotel. Achash is the Abkhaz name for khachapuri, the famous Georgian cheese pie, and although it is a Georgian word, it is widely used as that is what it is known as in Russian too. The most common Abkhaz version is boat shaped with cheese in the middle topped with a fried egg, very like the Ajaran version in Georgia. One thing I really wanted to try was Syrian-Abkhaz cuisine, and there was a cafe on Lakoba Street run by Syrians of Abkhaz descent, but unfortunately I never saw it open.
For drinks, the local Abkhaz beer is Sukhumskoye, and very good it is too. Wines are popular, just as they are in Georgia, and wine tasting is quite a popular activity with tourists...the final stop on my tour to Lake Ritsa was a wine tasting session, where I tried a number of reds and a white, as well as chacha which is a strong spirit made from the remains of the grapes after wine is made. Locally produced wines are available cheaply in most grocery stores, and names to look out for are Dioscuria (the Greek name for Sokhumi), Psou and Anakopia, among many others.
The soft drinks are well worth a mention too. Locally made fizzy soft drinks flavoured with mint, tarragon (tarkhun) or sour cherry were a surprise for me. I wasn't expecting much from the mint one, as generally mint drinks tend to taste a bit like toothpaste, but this one tasted exactly like natural mint. Not all supermarkets have them, but look out for clear bottles with labels only in Abkhaz.
Coffee (qahawa in Abkhaz) is available everywhere, all the standard espresso-based drinks as well as iced coffee in the more upmarket cafes. Many shops also advertise coffee, mostly instant although some places also brewed Turkish-style coffee made fresh and served black with sugar. The traditional coffee is Turkish-style, boiled in a little coffee pot with sugar already added, and the local way to prepare it is on a bed of hot sand...several cafes in more touristy areas (seafront in Sokhumi, and Novy Afon near the waterfall) offer this.
Mineral water (adzykh in Abkhaz) is available everywhere, except on the road to Lake Ritsa where we were encouraged to fill our own bottles from the mountain streams. I was often handed carbonated water as that seems to be the local favourite, so knowing how to say "without gas" is useful if that's your preference, as it is always available too.
Finally, the Russian drink kvas, made from black rye bread and tasting vaguely like non-alcoholic beer, is also available in many places, and tastes very good on a hot day.
Part of the Abkhazia 2016 travel blog
Part of the list Abkhazia
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