Friday, 13 January 2012

Khinkali - a bit like dumplings but much, much bigger!!

From Stepanakert in Nagorno Karabakh we got a direct marshrutka back to Yerevan. The snow was worse than ever and had turned the roads to ice rinks. Our marshrutka driver was a maniac. Chain smoking, he weaved in and out of the more cautious traffic. I was exhausted and fell asleep to be woken up by James swearing at the driver who had decided to race another marshrutka. Side by side the two marshrutkas had hurdled down the slick road until they had caught up with another vehicle, at which point our marshrutka had overtaken it, whilst the other had undertaken it, in order to continue the race.

Through pure luck we survived the journey and allowing us to spend several days in Yerevan. One evening we met up with Steve, the British defence attache based in Tbilisi, Georgia, and who we had met in the KGB bar with the tag line 'we are still watching you' (the bar is actually nothing more exciting than a chain, but it provided us with some amusement to have a drink there), in Tbilisi a few weeks earlier. He was on a work trip in Yerevan and invited us out. We walked from our cosy little backpackers hostel down to Republic Square to meet Steve in the lobby of his hotel - the Marriot. Steve introduced us to some of his work colleagues, some Brits, some Americans, all greying ex-military men. It looked like it was going to be a long night, but they were buying the drinks at the bar which was just as well really with the prices in the Mariott.

We all headed to a local restaurant where I was expecting to have to make stilted small talk all night whilst downing glasses of wine to numb the pain. It actually turned out to be a hysterical evening resulting with belly ache from both eating too much and laughing so much. It begun with everyone ordering starters as well as mains, Steve then ordered a couple of other local dishes which he thought we should try and then, as an after thought, decided to order 2 khinkali each, which are rather large steamed, meat dumplings. That amounted to 14.

We should have guessed when the first couple of plates amounting to 20 dumplings appeared that the waiter may have got the order wrong. Another couple of plates followed giving a total of 40 dumplings. Together with all the other food we had ordered there was an obscene amount of food and there was no way that we could eat it all. After the meal James and I spent the rest of the evening visiting every dark alley and underpass in Yerevan to try to find some homeless to donate the surplus Khinkali to. Earlier that day it had seemed like we were tripping over people begging in the street. Unbelievably, we had great trouble in finding anyone to give the food to and after an hour of searching we gave the the Khinkali to some flower sellers who were still open. They promised to pass them on to someone who needed them.

Flower stall outside the covered market, Yerevan

1 comment:

  1. Which restaurant it was?
    It must be some problem of understanding between a waiter and a guest, but I'm sure if some problem like that happen, they must take the over-khinkali back and do not include it into the account.