One of the biggest highlight of your trip to Iran has to be the food. Iranian cuisine is often referred to as “Persian.” This is because, until 1934, Iran was known as Persia.
Food is aromatic and colorful and could be as sophisticated as caviar or humble as “balal”-char grilled corn on the cob sold on streets. From juicy stews (khoresh) to succulent kebabs and tasty appetizers, each region has something to offer thanks to the diverse climate across the country.
Many ingredients are native to Iran, including pistachios, almonds, walnuts, saffron, mint, oranges, pomegranates, grapes and an array of fragrant herbs resulting in a bright, sensuous, fruit-and-herb filled cuisine. Generally speaking dishes are not hot and spicy at all. Here are only a few must-eat dishes:
Zereshk Polo (Barberry Rice)
This classic rice dish is studded with some unique red berries called barberry which are dried and then rehydrated before cooking. It’s often paired with chicken.
Kabab (Lamb, Chicken, Lamb Liver, Ground Meat)
Most famous in this group are kabab-e barg (thinly sliced lamb or beef, flavored with lemon juice and onion and basted with saffron and butter) and koobideh (ground meat seasoned with minced onion, salt and pepper).
Gormeh Sabzi (Green Herb Stew)
This deep green dish is made from herbs, kidney beans, and lamb and seasoned with dried limes (limoo amani). It is served with plain steamed rice.
Fesenjan (Pomegranate Walnut Stew)
This iconic stew is an essential part of every Persian wedding menu. Ground walnuts, pomegranate paste and onions are slowly simmered to make a thick sauce which will be completed later by adding chicken or duck pieces.
Bastani Akbar Mashdi (saffron and rosewater ice cream)
This extremely popular sweet delight is served on its own or often time with Faloode which is also a cold dessert, consisting of rice noodles mixed in semi frozen rose water and sugar syrup. You got to try drizzling fresh lime juice over it…say what? Trust me it’s so yummy!