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Top Iranian Foods to Try While Visiting Iran

What are the Top Iranian Foods?

There are so many factors effective on the quality of a trip and among them is food and the gastronomic experience. Food has always been a significant component of tourism, but its true place hadn’t been recognized just until recently. Today’s tourists are looking for new experiences and ways through which they can learn about the destination and comprehend its pure culture. Food offers a gateway into other cultures; through taste, through recipes, and the whole eating terms, resulting in a deeper insight for the tourist into where they are visiting. Foods and drinks provide lasting memories that define a trip.

Over centuries, Persians have been known for their hospitality and as a part of this attribute, they are obliged to welcome their guests with the finest food available along with the most bountiful manner. Iran’s critical geography has caused it to be subjected to repeated invasions, all of which shaped its rich history and diverse culture. All these are reflected in the Iranian food, with various kinds of ingredients and cooking techniques, making Iran well-known worldwide in this matter.

In the trip to Iran, awaits a stunning variety of culinary delights, each region offering something special of its own. There is a wide range of food for tourists to try; different kinds of khoresht (stew), kebab, soup, etc. If not exaggerated, rice is at the core of Persian cooking culture and has become a staple food item for Iranians over time. Being used in a lot of Iranian food, meat could be replaced with other alternatives in case you are a vegetarian; so there’s no need to worry, there are tons of choices for you as well.

Here is presented some of the top Iranian food:

1. Dizi / Abgoosht

If you’re looking for traditions, this is the right alternative for you. The entire process of preparing the food and even the way it’s served represents the highly valuable national traditions, dating back hundreds of years ago. It’s a broth dish with chickpeas and meat as the basic ingredients, as well as onions, tomatoes, potatoes, and beans, all put into a pot with a small amount of water.

The serving is made up of the two following stages; firstly, the broth is strained off, served as a soup that small pieces of bread have to be put into it, called Tilit. As for the second step, the rest of the ingredients are pounded together and eaten with fresh herbs or pickles.

Dizi Sangi or Abgoosht
Dizi or Abgoosht – by Farshad Jahedfar

2. Kabab

If you’re heading out for dinner in an Iranian restaurant for the first time, the chances are you will be recommended to try out Iranian-style kebabs, which are best known for being particularly succulent and tender. Based on the kind of meat and the recipe, there are at least five to six types of Kebab in the menus of most restaurants, including Koobideh, Barg, Shishlik, Joojeh Kabab, Kabab Torsh, and also a mixture of two of them coming together. It is usually served with grilled tomatoes and it can come with or without rice.

3. Ghorme Sabzi

If you want to try a top Iranian food, Ghorme Sabzi is a perfect offer. Ghorme Sabzi is a kind of stew made up of meat, fresh herbs, and kidney beans with a sour taste. The recipe could vary slightly in different regions. Beloved among both Iranians and tourists, it’s a proper meal for whether festive occasions or family gatherings.

Ghorme Sabzi
Ghorme Sabzi – by Hami @igotitfrommymaman

4. Fesenjan

Fesenjan is an iconic kind of stew that can’t be taken for granted. This delicious stew is a perfect blend of crushed walnut and pomegranate syrup, along with meatballs or chicken, or even duck in northern Iran. The consistency would better be thick and creamy with a relatively dark color. It can taste sour, sweet, or something in between; either way it’s a must-try whilst in Iran.

Fesenjoon Stew
Fesenjoon Stew – by Hami @igotitfrommymaman

5. Tahchin

Among the most delicious Iranian food, Tahchin is an elegant Iranian saffron-flavored rice cake layered with chicken fillets and barberries. Although instead of chicken it can be prepared with meat, veggies, or plainly as a side dish; such a versatile Persian classic!

6. Baghali Polo

In Persian, Baghali implies fava bean and polo stands for pilaf, a type of cooked rice. Baghali Polo is a fragrant dish that combines the mentioned flavors along with dill and saffron. It can be served with different kinds of meat or chicken; however, the most reputed choice would undoubtedly be lamb shanks.

Baghali polo with Maahiche
Baghali polo with Maahiche – by Hami @igotitfrommymaman

7. Loobia Polo

A nostalgic comfort dish made up of a mixture of rice, green beans, spiced ground beef, and tomato paste with an appetizing collage of colors and tastes. A piece of Tahdig on the top can take it to the next level; a specialty of Iranian cuisine consisting of crisp, caramelized rice taken from the bottom of the pot. Don’t miss Loobia Polo’s Tahdig!

Loobia Polo with Tahdig
Loobia Polo with Tahdig – by Nicolas Petit

Iranian Vegetarian Foods

Most of the recipes above can be vegan-friendly by replacing one or two of the ingredients. The list goes on by some vegetarian food for you to believe diversity is the first feature of Iranian cuisine:

8. Ash Reshte

Generally speaking, Ash is a type of soup only with more ingredients, considered as a complete meal itself and it’s a traditional bowl in Iran. Among different kinds of Ash, Ash Reshte has the highest number of fans. It’s a heart-warming dish suitable for cold seasons, including reshte which is similar to noodles, beans, chickpeas plus plenty of herbs, decorated with fried onion, fried mint, and whey.

Ash Reshte, a classic Iranian Food
Ash Reshte – by Mariam

9. Kashk-o Bademjan

Considered as either a starter or a light dish, Kashk-o Bademjan is basically cooked with smoked eggplant and whey, and the optional usage of caramelized onions, roasted nuts, herbs, and spices. This dish is usually served with fresh Iranian bread such as Lavash or Sangak.

Kashk-o Bademjan
Kashk-o Bademjan – by Tessa Horehled

10. Kookoo

Kookoo is a classic Persian vegetarian bite that can be served as either an appetizer or the main dish. In Iranian gastronomy, Kookoo refers to any egg-based food with a crispy outside and a soft texture inside. Two common types of Kookoo are Kookoo Sibzamini -potato- and Kookoo Sabzi – vegetables- that are best for picnics as well.

Kookoo Sabzi
Kookoo Sabzi – by Hami @igotitfrommymaman

11. Mirza Ghasemi

In northern Iran, the favorable climate and fresh crops have led to a wide variety of food that is famous nationwide; a great destination for foodie tourists and vegans in particular. Mirza Ghasemi is the first food this region offers; consisting of grilled aubergine, garlic, egg, and tomato along with the option of rice.

This was only a glimpse of Iranian food; the reality is much more colorful and intriguing. While traveling in Iran, level up your journey by eating or even participating in the preparation of the local meals; it’s a one-of-a-kind experience. In case you are wondering about having a tour that mainly focuses on food, here is an Iran tour package just for you! or just simply tailor-make your desired tour and we’ll de the rest.

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