Baku is a city of contrasts and vibrant culture with a fantastic selection of bars and lounges that flawlessly fuse Eastern hospitality with a Western state of mind. The city also boasts a great range of cafes, bistros and restaurants serving traditional Azerbaijani national cuisine – and there are two dishes you should try in particular: plov and dolma.
Plov (pilaf) is a dish of rice mixed with herbs, dried fruits, meat or fish and other local ingredients which comes in all sorts of varieties such as 'fisinjan' (with ground meat in a pomegranate and nut sauce), 'shirin' (with raisins and dried apricots), and 'shah,' which is encased in layers of buttered lavash bread.
Plov is always around during any Azerbaijani holiday and so too is dolma – a dish traditionally made of grape leaves stuffed with various fillings of meat and rice, enriched with herbs or nuts. Its name comes from the Azerbaijani verb 'dolmaq,' meaning 'to stuff.' The ingredients vary from region to region and depending on the time of year. For example, in summertime, stuffed aubergines or tomatoes are popular variations