Khash: The King Of Armenian Table
Khash is one of the most popular Armenian dishes, eaten mostly in the cold season. Its cooking and consumption is highly stylized and it is enjoyed early in the morning with good amounts of garlic and vodka. Eating khash in the morning gives the body time to digest, and it fuels a person with energy for the entire day.
Khash is truly an Armenian institution and ceremony for the men – sort of a bonding ritual if you will. It’s primarily a men’s meal, prepared outside in the dead of winter by men who spend the entire night cooking.
Khash is cooked by boiling bovine shanks for long hours until the tendon falls off the bones, and the water becomes a thick broth. The cooked stomach pieces are also added to the dish.
Khash is eaten with dried lavash bread, which is crumbled into the broth. Sometimes another soft piece of lavash is used as a wrap. When you order khash, make sure to add crashed garlic and salt right away before eating it. Remove the meat from your plate or bowl of khash, place them on a separate plate, and cover with lavash to keep them warm. Crumble dried lavash into the broth until the liquid thickens.
Once you are done with all the preparations, dive in and enjoy the meal. You can eat the meat, which you put aside, after you’ve enjoyed the khash, or you can cut the meat into pieces and add it back right away into the bowl of khash.
It’s all washed down with icy cold vodka – lots of vodka and toasts from the tamada (a toastmaster). Armenia is a country where traditionally many toasts are made at gatherings and parties. However, during the khash ceremony only three toasts are made:
The 1st toast is for the people who have joined the early morning party. The 2nd toast is for the cooks who cooked it all night, and the 3st toast is for the khash itself, that has brought everyone around the table.
Many Armenia’s restaurants and taverns offer to try khash throughout the day. It comes in a small bowl, so you might want to order a few other delicious staples of the local cuisine as well. Prices are quite affordable, and a bowl of khash costs approx. 2,000-3,000 AMD (5-6 USD).
To learn more about Armenia’s food & drink, please visit our ARMENIAN CUISINE page