Flavors of Fresno: Lahmajoun

by Phillip on September 1, 2011

This week we started exploring and researching the culture and food of Fresno’s Armenian population.  Let me tell you, it’s been a good week so far!  There are a great variety of Armenian delis and markets in town, and that means it’s not hard to find great food from the region.  It also means that this is likely to be an ongoing investigation, and one we’re really going to enjoy!

On this journey we’ve traveled to five spots so far, including recommended favorites Fresno Deli and Occasion Bakery.  At the deli we picked up a container of Yalanchi (grape leaves stuffed with seasoned rice) and some roasted eggplant and vegetables that were recommended by the woman behind the counter.  The staff was friendly and helpful, and the food was excellent. We’ll definitely be making our way back there again.

At the bakery we talked briefly to Rose about the different types of baked goods she had to offer then bought a variety of things to sample: cheese and spinach boregs, cheese bread, and Lahmajoun.  It was all excellent, but today we thought we’d talk a bit about Lahmajoun.

Lahmajoun, sometimes called Armenian pizza, is a thin, soft flatbread topped with a spicy sauce and ground meat, usually lamb and beef.  Traditionally it is served with a squeeze of lemon and wrapped around some veggies, but it’s also great as a snack by itself.  Stacks of Lahmajoun are sold in plastic bags, much like pita or tortillas and they can be found all around town in Armenian markets, delis, and bakeries. They are best heated in the oven or in a skillet.

Occasion Bakery is tucked away on the corner of Gettysburg and Fresno street, and is open Monday through Saturday from 9am – 7pm.  Fresno Deli is located on the same corner, facing Gettysburg.

What are some of your favorite spots in town for Armenian food?

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Ruby September 1, 2011 at 8:02 pm

Thanks for sharing your adventures in exploring Armenian foods in Fresno! Great post. :)

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Phillip September 1, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Thanks, Ruby! :-)

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Tari Pie September 1, 2011 at 8:02 pm

Oh, my goodness! Lahmajoun sounds wonderful. We’ll have to give it a try.

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Phillip September 1, 2011 at 8:57 pm

It’s definitely worth the trip!

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Olga @ MangoTomato September 1, 2011 at 8:31 pm

Wish we had this during our POM trip ;)

Growing up in Russia, my family has traveled to the Black Sea and other places where Armenian food was available: LOVE.

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Nicole September 1, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Olga – I actually wanted to take you all to one of the Armenian delis while you were here, but we just didn’t have enough time! You’ll just have to come back again ;-)

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Amanda September 1, 2011 at 2:14 pm

OMG I would kill for one of those right now! Or any Armenian food! Great post! :)

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Phillip September 1, 2011 at 5:02 pm

I believe you would! Maybe you have? ;-)

Thanks, Amanda.

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Pauline September 1, 2011 at 6:08 pm

This sounds soooo good. I would like to try to make it ~

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Phillip September 2, 2011 at 10:09 am

Let us know if you’re going to make an attempt – I’d love to sample whatever turns out! :-)

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james September 2, 2011 at 9:46 am

That first lahmajoun photo is ridiculous. It makes my mouth water.

It may already be on your radar, but one of my favorite Armenian spots is Izi’s Sandwich and Deli at Chestnut and Butler – it was a regular spot when I worked across the street. It’s a small, un-air-conditioned spot in an older strip mall, but they have a small deli and a few market items, in addition to the lunch menu.

If you come across arak at any of the markets, please let me know!

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Phillip September 2, 2011 at 10:11 am

We have tried Izi’s, as a matter of fact. My grandparent’s lived there and Nicole and I stumbled across it one day while out for lunch. We really enjoyed it. Thanks for the reminder we need to get back there!

And I will definitely let you know if we find any arak. Thanks for reading and for your comment, James!

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Jared September 2, 2011 at 10:30 pm

I don’t know how you say that, but I know that I would like to eat it. Looks delicious.

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Phillip September 3, 2011 at 10:46 am

It’s pronounced Lah-mah-joon. And it IS delicious.

Thanks for stopping by, old man. When you finally make it back out this way we’ll go visit an Armenian market or two and eat like kings.

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Corrie September 6, 2011 at 10:49 am

Oh my gosh… I LOVE LAHMAJOUN!! Have you been to Marat’s Restaurant in Fresno (http://corriefood.blogspot.com/2008/07/armenian.html & http://corriefood.blogspot.com/2010/09/marats-armenian-coffee-chicken-kebob.html)?

It’s family-owned & operated restaurant that is delicious and SO consistent. My family and I have been there many times.

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Phillip September 6, 2011 at 11:50 am

No, we haven’t been there, so thanks for the heads-up! :-)

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