What's the food like in Azerbaijan?
Azerbaijan’s cuisine blends influences from Turkey, Iran and the Mediterranean. Dishes tend to be meat-based, with a focus on mutton, meaning that it can be a struggle to find options for vegetarian or vegan travellers. In rural areas outside of the capital Baku, restaurants rarely serve any other dishes besides flame-grilled kebabs.
Azerbaijani breakfast foods include bread, butter and cheese, perhaps with honey or sour cream. This is accompanied with sweet tea known as cay, which is the country’s national drink. While Azerbaijan’s leading fast food is the doner kebab, classic non-kebab dishes include dolma. This consists of baked vegetables such as tomato, aubergine and pepper stuffed with a mixture of rice, minced lamb and herbs.
Other common dishes in Azerbaijan include plov or pilaf, which features saffron-flavoured rice, fried meat and vegetables. If you’re looking for something sweet, try a pakhlava – also known as baklava. This middle eastern sweet pastry is stuffed with layers of nuts and syrup. It’s traditionally eaten to celebrate the Iranian New Year in March, but is often enjoyed throughout the year.
Safe eating while travelling in Azerbaijan
Food and water-borne illnesses can occur in any destination, so we recommend following basic food safety precautions whilst travelling in Azerbaijan. Check that fruits and vegetables are washed before eating and avoid anything that looks under-cooked, particularly meats, fish and eggs.