Iranian cuisine is a combination of fresh herbs and spices such as saffron usually mixed with sweet pomegranate, cinnamon, and barberry, completed with a variety of dried fruits, nuts, and beans. The outcome is one delicious dish that tastes divine.
Below is a list of the most popular, tasty and commonly eaten dishes in Iran.
First up is the kebab, a dish taken very seriously in Iran. In fact, some restaurants and eateries dedicate a series of pages of their menus just for kebabs. They give you the option of every kebab imaginable. The most famous kebabs eaten by locals are the lamb or minced chunks. Most kebabs are served with side-grilled tomatoes, tasty flatbread, raw onions and a generous spoonful of rice. We asked for grilled onions once, the looks we got were quite disturbing, opt for raw. Also, especially if you're not a big eater, one kebab is quite enough for two people to enjoy.
[caption id="attachment_1227" align="alignnone" width="492"] Iranian kebab; best kebab ever![/caption]
One of the core staples of the Iranian diet is rice. Persians started enjoying rice over 4,000 years ago. It's clear from just a simple google search that a full dissertation could be written about Iran, and it's love for rice. Try not to get too confused about many different names used for various rice dishes:
Chelo: This is the traditional white fluffy rice that is often served with stews, kebabs, and other main dishes.
Polow: A tasty rice dish combined with nuts, beans, dried fruits, and vegetables.
Kateh: Most popular in the north of Iran. It is softer than Abkesh. You will struggle to find this rice unless you are visiting rural areas of traditional restaurants in villages.
Tah Deeg (Tah dig): Beautiful rice mixed with thin slices of potato, meat, vegetables, pistachios and anything else they feel like adding to the mix!
[caption id="attachment_1228" align="alignnone" width="467"] Iranian Rice[/caption]
If you think that you've consumed all the rice you can manage, then there are lots of other dishes to try such as Fesenjan. It's a savory and sweet dish which is a stew created of pomegranate juice and ground walnut mixed with meat. However, Fesenjan is a cuisine usually reserved for special occasions so don't be surprised if you can't find it on the usual menus.
[caption id="attachment_1229" align="alignnone" width="481"] Fesenjan[/caption]
Tabriz Koofteh is another great dish that you shouldn't miss. Imagine a huge meatball with a surprise inside! Although it can be difficult to find we were lucky enough to experience it twice on our travels across Iran. It is easiest to find in the northwestern parts of Iran. People compare it to Turkish Koofteh. It is a huge meatball stuffed with a variety of herbs, spices and minced meat best served on fresh pita bread.
[caption id="attachment_1230" align="alignnone" width="490"] Koofteh Tabrizi[/caption]
Lastly is 'Ashe Reshteh' a stew like soup. You will come across ash in a variety of textures, both think and thick depending where about you are in Iran. Ash soup makes a great quick meal to give you some energy for your travels. Ash-Reshteh is a divine variety made up of herbs, noodles, and vegetables. So whether you are going to Iran for the weekend or a week, try and ensure that you taste some of the delicious cuisines above, and you won't be disappointed.
[caption id="attachment_1231" align="alignnone" width="396"] Ashe Reshteh[/caption]