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For most travelers, one of the interesting parts of each travel especially when they go around in a new destination is trying the local cuisines. By traveling to Iran you will definitely notice and become surprised by the number of local dishes you can find in every four corners of the country. While there is a different type of dishes served in the country, in each city or village there are also some local dishes.Read more
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When you travel to Iran and visit different cities in every corner of Iran, you will understand that the national and local cuisine has a great diversity.Read more
Abgoosht (Ab stands for water and goosht for meat) is one of the most traditional stew in Iran.Read more
Many people enjoy trying traditional dishes, or local foods when traveling to a new destination. If you are among this group, Iran will be an amazing choice for your next vacation. Iranian are popular for being great cooks. Moreover, what you will notice when traveling in Iran is the variety of dishes they have.
In addition to traditional Iranian dishes that are cooked in all parts of the country, most cities and villages have their own type of local foods and Persian food recipes too. Persian foods are divided into different types, including Abgoosht and Dizi, Chellow, Stew, and Kebab.
Here is the list of the best Persian food that you should try when traveling around Iran.
When checking a menu of an Iranian restaurant you will definitely witness some foods called Khoresh (some say Khoresht). This term is a generic word for stew dishes in Iranian cuisine.
You will find a wide range of khoresh in Iran, there are some of those like Ghormeh Sabzi, Gheimeh, and Fesenjan that are cooked in all cities and also some like Khoresht Mast which is only cooked in Isfahan.
In this article we are going to introduce some types of Khoresh to make you familiar with those, so, don’t forget to take note or memorize the names of the ones you liked most to order when you are at a restaurant in different cities in Iran!
Ghormeh Sabzi is the most beloved Persian stew among Iranian and international tourists and you can find it in almost any menu of the restaurants.
The main ingredients of the stew are meat (lamb or veal), fresh herbs (parsley, coriander, and spinach), and kidney beans. To cook the stew, onion and some spices are used.
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The main ingredient of Khoresht-e Karafs is celery, therefore, the stew is very healthy. In addition to celery, other herbs are mint and parsley. It is cooked with lamb or veal. Some people also add kidney beans and pomegranate paste which is not that much popular. Usually, the taste of Khoresht-e Karafs is a little bit sour.
Badenjan (Eggplant) is used in many different dishes in Iranian dishes, however, the one which is most popular is Khoresht-e Bademjan. The main ingredient of the stew is meat and eggplant with onion and spice. Tomato sauce is also added to the stew.
Fesenjan is the kind of stew that has different recipes among Iranian. Some people cook Fesenjan with chicken and some with meatballs. Some cook it sweet and some sour. Whatever you choose as meat the major ingredient is crushed walnut with pomegranate taste.
Meat and yellow split peas are the basic ingredients of the stew. Tomato paste, onion and spices are also added while cooking. The stew is served with French fries in small and thin slices. If you ever heard the word “Nazri” you may know that Iranian distribute food for free on some religious occasions. Khoresht-e Gheimeh is the most popular stew for Nazri.
This stew is mostly cooked in Isfahan, it is a little bit strange by the name, but, very delicious. People eat it as a main dish or even as dessert because of its sweet taste.
Beef, plain yogurt, and saffron are the main ingredients in addition to onion, turmeric egg, and sugar. The stew is a mixture of all the ingredients and it’s not possible to identify the components.
The same as Khoresht-e Mast this stew is not that popular in Iran and only cooked in Kerman province.
The mixture contains beef, beans, whey kashk and onion. Garlic, saffron, turmeric, salt, and pepper are also added to the stew as spices.
Abgoosht (Ab stands for water and goosht for meat) is one of the most traditional foods in Iran.
When Abgoosht is cooked and served in stone crock pots it’s called Dizi. Whether the name is Abgoosht or Dizi, you should absolutely try this local cuisine when you travel to Iran. The food has been cooked for so many years and therefore, the ingredients and recipe of it have been changed in different parts of Iran.
It used to be cooked with lamb, onion, and chickpeas only, but nowadays tomatoes and potatoes are also added to the stew. However, the way it’s served still remained the same all over the country. When cooked, serving as a special custom, people eat both Abgoosht and Dizi in two-part.
First, they split the soup or broth from the remaining ingredients and poured it into a bowl, then put small pieces of bread (usually Sangak) into the soup and eat the mixture with a spoon.
The process of adding bread to the soup is called “Tilit”. Then they mash the rest of the ingredients and eat it with onion, pickles, basil, and radish. In Kerman, they cook Abgoosht with meat, lots of caraways, and some garlic, there don’t add any potatoes or beans to the stew.
Abgoosht Bozbash is another type of Abgoosht which is mostly cooked in Tabriz. Instead of chickpeas, they use cowpea and also add chives, parsley, and fenugreek. This Abgoosht is mostly green rather than the red color of the traditional one.
Another type of Abgoosht is called Abgoosht Baghi (Bagh stands for the garden). In addition to all traditional ingredients, different types of fruits such as peach, apple, cherry, and apricot are added to the ingredient.
You may find some other types of Abgoosht & Dizi while traveling in Iran, here we mentioned the most popular ones in the country. All we can suggest is to try traditional cuisine!
| Read more: Different types of bread in Iran (Persian bread)
Having rice for lunch is very common and popular in Iran. To have tasty and various types of foods with rice there are two ways of cooking Iranian rice. The first one to cook it plain with salt and oil which names Chellow. In this way, the cooked rice is served with a type of Kebab, Stew, or chicken.
The second type of cooking rice is with a mixture of vegetables, fresh herbs, meatballs, etc. When the rice is cooked as a mixture it is called Polow. You can find this type of rice dish in buffet restaurants and traditional ones.
Adas Polow is a very delicious mixture of rice and lentils. If you are a vegetarian this cuisine would be suitable for you. However, some people serve it with chicken, meatballs, or fried eggs.
Reshteh is almost the same as Chinese noodles but thinner and flat. To cook this dish what you need is rice, reshteh, chicken, and onion. This cuisine is very popular to eat on Persian New Year’s Eve because it’s believed that you will have a better clue of your destiny in the following year.
Loobia Polow is cooked with rice, green beans, layers of chopped meats, and fried onions. Tomato paste and lots of spices like cinnamon are added to the mixture to make the dish tastier. It is very common to eat Loobia Polow with Shirazi Salad or pickles.
This type of Polow is cooked with different ingredients and instructions over the country. The main components are rice and tomato, some also add cubed potatoes, and others in addition to potatoes add meatballs.
Tahchin is cooked in different layers. Rice is mixed with saffron, yogurt, and egg. The other layer is usually cooked chicken, however, you can find some with meat or eggplant.
With a variety of Iranian food culture, and therefore, numerous cuisines in different parts of the country, Iran is one of the greatest places for food lovers!
If you are a vegetarian and have some concerns about what to eat when you travel to Iran, you don’t need to worry about that at all. There are several dishes in Iran, which prepare and serve without any type of meat.
Borani Bademjan, a mixture of cooked and chopped eggplant, and dried yogurt
Naz Khatoon, a mixture of cooked and chopped eggplants, basil, parsley, mint, angelica powder, walnuts, olive oil, and pomegranate juice
Yatimcheh, a mixture of cooked and chopped in cube forms of eggplant, tomato, and onion
Kashk-e Bademjan, a mixture of cooked and chopped eggplant, kashk (whey sauce), fried onion, and fried mint
One of the common dishes in Iran calls Kookoo, which is a mixture of egg with another type of vegetable, cooked in round shapes, like fried cookies, here is a list of the most popular ones:
Kookoo Sibzamini, cooked with potato
Kuku Sabzi, cooked with mixed herbs, some people add walnuts and berries also
Kookoo Kadoo sabz, cooked with zucchini
Eshkeneh, cooked fried hers, and potato
Nargesi, cooked with spinach and onion
Dampokhtak, cooked rice with beans, and turmeric is the main spice of this dish, so it is colored in yellow!
Dami gojeh, cooked rice with tomato, some people also add potato
Loobia polo, cooked rice with green beans, is cooked with meat and without meat, so as a suggestion check before you order
Adas polo, cooked rice with lentils and fried raisins, is also common to cook with meatballs or chicken, so as a suggestion check before you order
Havij polo, cooked rice with carrots and walnut
The Persian dishes, we named above, are the ones that could be found all over the country.
It may be not that easy to find them all in big, fancy restaurants, but in smaller ones, especially the old, traditional ones, you can find those.
However, the provinces in the northern part of Iran; Gilan and Mazandaran, are popular for some of the best vegetarian foods in Iran, they are specialized in cooking some of the most delicious foods in the country.
One thing that you should keep in mind, and will notice when you are at these places, is that to add lots of garlic to food is very popular in these provinces.
The following list is the most popular dishes in Gilan and Mazandaran:
Mirza Ghasemi, a mixture of barbequed eggplant with tomatoes, and egg
Baghala Ghatogh, a mixture of cooked Rashti fava beans, egg, and dill
Torshi Tareh, cooked herbs with different types of beans, in some places, they also add egg
Paneer Boroshteh, is the same as an omelet, cheese with egg
Iranian pay a lot of attention to their food and that is the reason why you can find a different type of one kind of food in the menus of their restaurants.
As an example, you can find at least five to six different types of Iranian Kebab or as Iranian pronounce Kabab in the menus of most restaurants.
Usually with all type of Kabab one or two grilled tomatoes is served. You can ask for your dish with or without rice.
Koobideh is the signature of Iranian Kabab and the most famous one between local and international tourists. It is cooked from ground lamb or beef with chopped onions. Sometimes you can find it with chicken but it is not very common and popular.
Joojeh Kabab is barbecued chicken marinated in olive oil and saffron. Different parts of the chicken are used, such as tenders, wings, and thighs.
In the menus, you can find Joojeh Kabab with bone or boneless. The boneless one is usually with chicken breast.
The main ingredient of Kabab-e Barg is fillets of beef tenderloin or lamb shank. The mast is marinated in onions, saffron, olive oil, and mild spices.
Shishlik with the same name is very popular in different countries of central Asia, eastern and southern Europe. However, the one you will find in Iranian restaurants is different from the ones that are cooked in other countries.
In Iran, it is cooked of large parts of lamb, served in five (and sometimes six) pieces per dish.
Kabab torsh is a traditional kebab from Mazandaran and Gilan provinces in the northern part of Iran.
It is somehow the same as Kabab Barg which is cooked from beef but marinated in a mixture of crushed walnuts and garlic, pomegranate juice, and chopped parsley. Because of the pomegranate juice, it has a sour taste.
Kabab Soltani (Soltani stands for Royal) is served with a combination of one skewer of Kabab Barg and one Kabab Koobideh.
Kabab Vaziri literally means minister and compared to Soltani it is a combination of one skewer of Joojeh and one Koobideh. So if you like to taste both chicken and meat this is a good choice for you.
Kabab Bakhtiari sometimes called Kabab Bolghari: is a combination of one skewer Joojeh kabab and one Kabab Barg.
If you are a meat lover and prefer the real taste of the meat this is what you most enjoy. Chenjeh is cooked from the meat of newly slaughtered sheep in small rocky-shaped pieces.
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Different types of Ash and Soups are one of the most popular and traditional bowls in Iran. Some of those are cooked with the same recipes almost all over the country, while the others are unique and specially made in only one or two cities.
Generally speaking, ash is a type of soup with more ingredients. It is also heavier than soup and can be considered as a lunch or dinner itself.
Soup-e Morgh o Sabzijat (Chicken and Vegetable Soup) and Soup-e Jo (Barley Soup) are the most common soups in the country and could be found in most of the restaurants.
The main ingredients of the Chicken and vegetable soup are chicken, onion, carrot, celery, tomato, parsley, and noodles.
Barley soup has a variety of recipes and ingredients in different parts of the country. Some add chicken and carrots, while others only cook it with barley and milk.
Iranian’s favorite ash is Ash-e Reshteh (Reshteh is similar to noodle), the ingredient is reshteh, brown lentils, chickpeas, pinto beans, and whey (Kashk).
The other popular ash in Iran is Ash-e Jo (Barley Ash). As it is obvious from the name of it the major ingredient is barley, in addition to onion, carrots, and chicken stock. Some people also add sour cream.
If you travel around Iran, you will find so many different types of ash in each province. As an example, Ash-e Dough (Dough is a sour drink from milk) is very common in West Azerbaijan and Ardabil,
Ash-e Shole Ghalamkar (the main ingredient is meat and beans) in Tehran,
Ash-e Miveh (Fruit) in Ardabil,
Ash-e Tarkhineh (Dried mixture of wheat and barley) in Lorsetan and Kermanshah,
Ash-e Torsh (Sour ash with local vegetables) in Mazandaran and
Ash-e Abghoreh (Sour juice from unripe grapes) in Fars.
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