Georgians have developed a taste for fast food during the fasting period of Lent. The trend has highlighted a cultural paradox in this South Caucasus state, where Orthodox Christianity forms perhaps the main pillar of national identity.
Visit a Moscow market, or courtyard, or construction site, and it’s easy to forget you are in Russia’s largest city, not Tajikistan or Uzbekistan. Central Asian languages resound all over the Russian capital.
As Georgia rushes to embrace the West, American-style fast food franchises are trying to make inroads into a country with a rich culinary tradition. For now, local restaurateurs and gastronomers say, Georgian cuisine still has the upper hand. But the times they are McChanging. Sensing a market opportunity, two global fast-food players are set on expanding their footprint in Georgia.
With the approach of spring, Kyrgyzstan’s traditional season for airing public grievances, food prices are skyrocketing. Many now fear that rapid inflation could spark fresh instability and street protests. While some officials want to impose price controls, economists warn that such action could foster shortages.
Officials in Georgia hope that obtaining trademark protection for khachapuri, the cheese-filled Georgian pastry that has a lip-smacking fan base throughout the former Soviet Union, can help open new markets in the United States and Western Europe for Georgian cuisine and food products.