Interview with Lebanese Food Blogger – Anthony Rahayel

A couple of months ago, famous Lebanese food blogger Anthony Rahayel, mostly known for his blog called “No Garlic No Onions”, was in Armenia. During his trip he had been in different regions and tried different dishes in the restaurants of Armenia.

Classy.am held an interview with the blogger about his latest trip to Armenia.

1) How would you evaluate your travel experiences? Why did you choose to visit Armenia? What did you like most in the country?

It was my second trip to Armenia. I liked it a lot at the first time, and decided to visit it again.  I like that people are very friendly here. The most interesting thing is how everybody was reacting to the camera, how they were enjoying it and nobody asked me, “why are you taking pictures?” Another thing that I like in Armenia is its green areas, snow, water. So, it is the combination of 4 seasons in one country. Coming from Lebanon, one of the world’s oldest countries, I discovered that Armenia is even older. So, when I left the country I recommended all my friends to visit it because it’s not expensive and it has lots of things to discover.

2) Where do you position the Armenian cuisine? Do you like it? Which is your favorite dish?

I love Armenian cuisine because it’s very rich and authentic, and it has a certain inspiration from everything that Armenia has overcome over the last 100 years. I like the dolma in Dolmama, because they took the national Armenian dolma and flavored it with international flavors. I like Mayrig restaurant which upgrades Armenian cuisine with Lebanese dishes. I like bread, jengyalov hac, pork.

3) What places for good food and dishes would you recommend to someone who is interested in visiting Armenia?

I have been in lot of restaurants in Armenia, I don’t remember specific names but I would recommend my friends to visit villages, because people in villages have a certain approach towards the food. They focus on authentic and traditional flavors, not complicated ones.

4) How do you evaluate the service and the atmosphere? What tips you can suggest to enhance the hospitality service in Armenia?

I have been in Armenia in 2018 and in 2019, and in one year the evolution and improvement of service was tremendous. I believe that there are some innovations that people don’t know, but things are improving so fast, so I don’t even know what to expect in 2020 when I visit Armenia again.

5) You had the chance to visit different places in Armenia. Which region did you like most? Did you have a chance to visit a family in a village preparing traditional food with Lavash bread?

I have been in different regions and it is very hard to name one of them, because each of them had something special. I loved the snow on the mountains, I love the lakes, etc. Every day was a new discovery for me. We have done something interesting: we have added some Lebanese flavors to Armenian jengyalov hac and it was amazing.

6) During your previous travels what was the strangest food you have ever tried in your life?

I ate alive octopus which was moving on my tongue. I also ate warms.

7) Will you visit Armenia again?

Of course, I am already planning my third trip to Armenia in 2020.