Saturday, January 27, 2007

Still Life with Chicken

Tried out the central market today, a busy, bustling market for all kinds of foodstuffs near the Tbilisi railway station (first time I had penetrated that far into that side of Tbilisi).

Like in all markets in all former Soviet countries, especially at the hotter end, it does not do to inspect the state of the floor too closely. Also like everywhere, however, the food is displayed at its best with piles and piles of fruits, vegetables, chickens (dead), meat, cheeses, probably honey somewhere.... The choice of vegetables is the biggest I have seen in Tbilisi - before I could never find fresh spinach, even though there is a Georgian salad involving nuts and spinach, but here it is (though I still have about 2 kg in the freezer).

Living alone, the problem is buying small quantities. Here I bought the smallest quantities I could....as seen in the photo. This all needs to be processed - the food is so ready to eat that it does not keep long. No trip to the market, or indeed the supermarket next weekend, I guess.

Points of particular interest - the round bread at the back, which someone tells me is called 'lavash' like the very thin Armenian bread (don't entirely believe this story). The pot of matsoni, Georgian yoghurt at the front - wonderful stuff. A bit of a little round white cheese, slightly salty. A bag full of mushrooms...and of course a chicken, complete with head and feet (very clean, and nearer an 'A' size than a DD size like British chickens). Of course when it is weighed you also pay for the head and the feet....

Even though the prices were not marked, I did not think I was being ripped off particularly, as I might be in some other countries - the prices seemed fairly normal compared to those I have seen written down in other shops. The lady with the cheese was appalled - she told me it cost 6 laris, I gave her six laris, but actually the price was per kilo and she only wanted two. Another lady taught me to say 'a kilo' and 'half a kilo' in Georgian. 'Erti kilo' and... the other one is complicated!

Talking of food, the Guardian led its readers to a lovely blog for quick Indian cooking which looks very interesting. Must look for something to do with all those aubergines - but I could also look at www.aubergine.org!

A couple of days ago I discovered a wonderful Turkish restaurant, the Ankara in the area quite close to the Turkish Airlines Office (around +- No 130 Agmashenebeli Avenue). It's a lokantasi where the food is on display, you pick it, a waitress loads it together with a huge basket of bread and a glass of water on a tray and follows you to a seat at a table. Great for lunch - and it's cheap, too. They have the rice pudding!!!! But with it being Georgia, nothing goes without nuts, so a teaspoonful of grated nuts is sprinkled on top of it.


varske said...

Looks like a lavash to me, and I had them in both Armenia and Georgia. They had them in that Georgian restaurant on Traku in Vilnius (which has gone, more is the shame).

violainvilnius said...

yes, but an Armenian lavash is very very thin, very flat, and baked without yeast, can be folded up, and this is supposed to be a Georgian lavash, baked with lots of yeast inside what's essentially a tandoori oven. Strange. A lepioshka is a lepioshka is a lepioshka, but a lavash is different in different countries?

turkay unal said...

ı ate thıs nıght at ankara.there was gerat turkısh food s ın there.ı am also turk...ı have problem wıth food two days ago and now ı feel good...