Manti is a delicious traditional Armenian soup filled with dough wrapped lamb meat. It kind of looks like a ravioli with a side of it cut off, exposing some of the meat inside to the juices of the soup.
Armenian moms and grandmas are known for notoriously laboring on every little piece of Manti by hand. First they make little meatballs and cut the dough into little squares, place the meat inside, then pinch the corners of the dough against each other to create the Manti. Then they cook it chicken stock and serve it with yogurt and garlic.
Oh, and the best part, at least in my family, my grandmother would hide a button, you know from a shirt, inside one the pieces. The point was that whoever found the piece was supposed have good luck or make a wish or something like that. So, it turned out to be a like a race between my siblings and cousins to see who finds the button. I think it was more of a tactic to encourage the kids to eat more than anything else.
Context: Informant was born in Yerevan, Armenia and came to the US at the age of 14.
Thoughts: Being of Armenian origin myself, I thought it was very interesting that I have never even heard of Manti. My family is originally from different city in Armenia, and I guess that minor difference in location is large enough to evident in the food culture. It goes to show the amount of variation you can find in a single “culture.” I thought the button hidden in soup was a fun touch… although I wonder if it’s a bit dangerous.