One of the attractions of Iran that draws many tourists from around the world to visit this country is the great variety in foods in different regions of the country.
A problem tourists always have while traveling to Iran and ask our colleagues in Iranviva about is that they are not familiar with Persian foods, especially when they go to restaurants for a meal. That is why we are going to introduce the Persian foods with their ingredients in the following article.
We hope it can help you get more acquainted with different Persian dishes and have a proper food program on your visit to Iran.
To enjoy your visit to Iran more, read the following article.
Types of stew
Ghormeh Sabzi is a very popular dish in Iran. It is, actually, the most beloved Persian stew that is incredibly delicious. The main ingredients of Ghormeh Sabzi include a mixture of sauteed green vegatables such as parsley, chives, fenugreek, coriander, leeks or green onions being cooked with beans, onions, lamb or beef and dried limes. Ghormeh Sabzi must be cooked slowly to be well-prepared and thicker.
Ghormeh Sabzi is an Iranian stew that is served in almost all Iranian traditional restaurants because it is Iranians’ most favorite food.
Iranviva Group highly recommends you try Ghormeh Sabzi in Iran.
Fesenjan is a ceremonial stew in Iran that is mostly cooked for celebrations and ceremonies. Fesenjan Stew is made with ground walnut and pomegranate sauce and, along with duck or chicken meat. However, it is also served with red meat in some restaurants.
As indicated in its ingredients, like pomegranate sauce, this food is originally from Gilan Province.
Gilan province, in north of Iran, has a variety of traditional dishes, with pomegranate sauce as one of the main ingredients. Most of the foods of this province are highly regarded by the people of Iran due to their delicious taste.
If you are looking for a destination in Iran where you could experience delicious cuisine, Gilan province is undoubtedly one of the best destinations for you.
Gheimeh is one of the Iranian traditional stews that is made with red meat, split peas, potatoes, tomato paste and dry lemon (as a spice). This stew is served with rice and is one of Iranian main foods that is prepared as part of ceremonies, rituals or religious occasions.
The word ‘Gheimeh’ is a Turkish word that refers to chopped meat. Gheimeh Stew is cooked in different regions of Iran with some changes, the most famous ones are:
This stew is originally from Qazvin province and the major difference between this type of Gheimeh and the original one is in using a variety of sliced nuts, including pistachios, almonds, along with sliced orange peel and barberry instead of French fries. If your travel destination is the city of Qazvin, do not miss this wonderful dish.
Another very popular type of Gheimeh that is cooked in most of cities in Iran is Gheimeh Bademjan. Its main difference with the simple one is in using eggplants instead of French fries.
One of the dishes that is originally from Rasht, in Gilan province, is Gheimeh Rashti. This type of Gheimeh is, in fact, the most similar one to the original one. Tomato juice and pomegranate juice (or verjuice) is used in this stew.
Gheymeh Pichagh is one of the traditional dishes from Ardabil province that is made with onions, eggs, saffron, red meat and spices. This delicious food is very popular among tourists who have traveled to the province and that’s why it is also seen in menus of some restaurants in major tourist cities in Iran.
If you have not chosen your Iran tour yet, read the following article.
Types of Cooked Rice
A very popular kind of cooked rice in Iran is Chelo. This type of rice is served with saffron along with a variety of foods such as Kebab and stews in Persian restaurants.
Iranians make Tah Dig, a layer of crispy crust of bread, lettuce, potatoes, etc., at the bottom of the rice pot.
Tah Dig is very delicious and most Iranians love it, especially potato Tah Dig.
Iranviva recommends trying chelo with potato Tah Dig, along with foods like different kinds of Kebab and stews.
Smoked Chelo or smoked rice, is the rice that has already been smoked with charcoal so it has a smoky flavor.
To prepare smoky rice, bags of rice are placed in a room where wood is burnt but not completely so that a lot of smoke is produced. Then, the smoke is directed to the rice bags and gives the rice a unique flavor. As a result, it gets free of any germs.
Reading this text, perhaps you may not find this type of rice interesting. However, to many Iranians, some foods and stews are more interesting only when they are served along with smoked rice. In fact, you can find any kind of stews and kebabs more interesting with smoked rice.
Tahchin (Rice Cake)
Tahchin is another kind of cooked rice that seems like a cake, the outer surface of which is a thick layer of saffron Tah Dig and in the middle of it there are different kinds of meats with other ingredients.
The ingredients of Tahchin are rice, yogurt, eggs, etc. There are a variety types of Tahchin, including chicken Tahchin, turkey Tahchin, eggplant spinach Tahchin, ducks Tahchin, fish Tahchin and goose Tahchin.
Tahchin is mainly from northern regions of Iran and it is made a little differently in these regions than in any other parts of Iran, for example using plums and pomegranates to make it slightly sour.
Polo is another kind of cooked rice that is served with other substances like meat, vegetables, grains, nuts, etc.
In this style of cooking, rice generally gets into the color of other ingredients that it is cooked with. Among the most popular Polos in Iran are Baghali polo, Lubiya polo and sabzi polo.
Baghali Polo with Lamb’s Shank or Neck
One of the delicious Iranian dishes that is served in ceremonies and parties is Baghali Polo. Baghali Polo is a kind of Iranian rice prepared with fava beans and dill.
In Iran, Baghali Polo is served with various kinds of meat, including chicken, beef, mutton, lamb, etc. But the most favorite is Baghali Polo with the meat of lamb’s shank or neck.
Iranviva suggests trying this kind of food to you on your trip to Iran. You will undoubtedly enjoy it.
Another kind of Iranian Polo is Lubia Polo (Green Bean Rice) that is really simple yet delicious. It is one of the favorite dishes of Iranian people due to its delicious taste and fragrance. Lubia Polo is made with Iranian rice, green beans, minced meat, tomato paste and spices.
Some people say that this food is so tasty that the more they eat, the more they feel hungry and want to eat.
In Iran, Lubia Polo is served along with a kind of salad called Shirazi Salad that is made with cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and lemon juice or verjuice.
As mentioned earlier, rice is cooked along with a variety of fruits and vegetables in Iran to make different kinds of polo. Another kind of formal polo is Albaloo Polo that is made with rice, cherries, red meat or white meat, almond slices, pistachios slices, and spices.
Albaloo Polo is a little bit sour, which makes it different from other kinds of polo in Iran.
Another type of Iranian polo is Sabzi Polo that is made with rice and some vegetables like dill, coriander, parsley and leek.
Sabzi Polo has long been one of the main and special parts in Iranians’ food table and it has always been Iranians’ food in ceremonies and Eve. Iranians have Sabzi Polo with Fried fish as a traditional food in Nowruz at New Year night.
Sabzi Polo is also served with Kuku Sabzi, a fresh herb kuku.
Shiraz is one of the main destinations for tourists who travel to Iran.
A question that tourists who travel to this historical and cultural city ask Iranviva is about the local delicious food of the city.
Kalam Polo is originally from Fars province and the city of Shiraz. This food is very popular, especially among people who are interested in vegetables and vegetarian foods.
Kalam Polo is made with chopped and fried cabbage, rice and herbs.
To get more acquainted with Iran and choose this country as a travel destination, read the rest of the article.
Types of Kebab
Kebab is the first popular food that Iranians serve their guests in their parties.
Kabab Koobideh is one of the tastiest Persian foods that we recommend you not miss on your trip to Iran.
Kabab Koobideh is made with ground lamb meat with sheep fat and it is better to be served with Iranian drink, named Doogh.
Rice with pieces of cooked meat chops has been used by Iranians from the distant past (Safavids), but since Naser al‑Din Shah Qajar, kebab has been common in Iran as a copy of kebabs from Caucasus.
Kabab Koobideh is not the traditional food from any of the cities in Iran. However, Lorestan Province, Khomein (in Markazi Province) and Bonab (in East Azerbaijan Province) are some of the places where you can eat delicious kebab.
Since Iranians love Kebab very much, other kinds of kebab are also prepared in the country, each of which has its own special flavor and characteristics.
This kind of kebab is made with fillet lamb meat that is served with rice and roasted tomato. The best drink with this food is Doogh (Iranian traditional drink).
Kabab Soltani is the combination of “Kabab Barg” and “Kabab Koobideh”, and it is a delicious and elegant food in Iran.
Trying this food can be more interesting for tourists who are interested in Persian food, because they can taste both Kabab Barg and Kabab Koobideh at the same time.
Kabab Chenjeh is another Iranian kebab that is also served in other Asian countries as well as around the world.
Kabab Chenjeh is made with lamb meat flavored by different ingredients and it is served with grilled tomato with or without rice.
In fact, Kabab Chenjeh is the most similar to the kebab from other countries of the world.
Shashlik is a delicious kebab that is known as a luxury food. Shashlik is also found in other countries neighboring Iran as well as in Central Europe. Kabab Shashlik is made with the marinated meat of lamb ribs.
Shashlik, with its awesome and delicious taste, is served in most restaurants in Iran, but in Mashhad it is the main food served in restaurants and one of the tourist attractions of this city.
We recommend you try Shashlik on your trip to Iran, too.
Kabab Bakhtiyari is one of the traditional Iranian kebabs that was introduced by the Bakhtiari tribe of Iran. Bakhtiari Kebab was traditionally made with a piece of lamb and a piece of tail fat used alternately and it is still made as such among Bakhtiari tribes.
But this Kebab is made in another way in restaurants in urban areas of Iran because of its high fat content. In most restaurants in Iran, chicken fillet is used instead of tail fat, and Kabab Bakhtiyari is, in fact, a combination of Kabab Barg and Jujeh Kabab.
Jujeh Kabab (Chicken Kebab)
Here we are going to introduce Jujeh Kabab that is one of the most frequently used foods in Iran because it is made with marinated chicken and so it is the lowest calorie kind of kebab in Iran.
Jujeh Kabab is made easily so it is the best picnic food in Iran, and most Iranians have it when they are on a picnic.
Jujeh Kabab is also served in all Iranian restaurants (except for fast food restaurants).
If you’re on a diet or you cannot use greasy foods, you’d better have Jujeh Kabab.
Kabab Torsh is one of the popular dishes is the northern regions of Iran and Gilan Province. Kabab Torsh is made with the meat flavored with pomegranate juice, pomegranate sauce, local vegetables, walnuts and spices and it is cooked on charcoal slowly. Kabab Torsh is a kind of kebab with sour taste.
If you are going to travel to the northern Iranian provinces, especially Gilan, make sure not to miss this delicious food.
Dandeh Kabab (Rib Kebab)
Dandeh Kabab is one of the delicious kebabs in Iran that is made with the meat of lamb rib. The meat, weighing approximately one kilogram, is marinated then it is put on skewers and cooked on medium heat.
Dandeh Kabab is a famous dish and one of the tourist attractions of Kermanshah Province.
Kermanshah is one of the provinces in Iran that is highly regarded by tourists interested in adventure due to its amazing caves. Iranviva Group has introduced the province’s caves in a series of articles.
To get more information about the amazing caves of Kermanshah read article “Best Amazing and Technical Caves in Kermanshah, Iran“.
We suggest that tourists who travel to Kermanshah province should not miss this delectable kebab.
Other Kinds of Kebab
In addition to what mentioned above, names of other kinds of kebab are also found on the menu of the restaurants. You should know that based on the customers’ taste in some Iranian restaurants, kebabs may be combined together with new names. The most famous one is named Mixed Kebab that is a skewer of Kabab Koobideh and a skewer of Jujeh Kabab.
In this case you can simply ask the waiter about the combination of the new kebab.
Read the following article, before choosing an Iran tour.
One of the popular dishes among Iranians and tourists who travel to this country is Abgoosht or Dizi.
Abgoosht (Dizi) is a kind of Persian broth that is made with red meat, chickpeas, white beans, potatoes, tomatoes and spices. There is not much information about the history of this Persian food, but the written document about this dish is related to the Qajar period.
This food is very attractive for tourists both for its delicious taste, and the way it is served.
To eat this food first you need to put and soak small pieces of bread into the water of the food. Then the solids are mixed together and mashed to create a puree that is called Gusht Kubideh and is served with the broth.
Abgoosht is also found in countries like Armenia, Azerbaijan and Afghanistan with some little changes.
Abgoosht Bozbash is a kind of Abgoosht that is very famous and is one of the main dishes in Hamedan and Khorasan. This is similar to the typical Abgoosht but lots of herbs are also used in it in addition to its other ingredients. Due to its green vegetables, this food is green and some tourists name it as ‘Juicy Ghormeh Sabzi’.
Abgoosht Bozbash is also one of Armenians’ favorite foods.
Types of Chicken
Chicken is a delicious food in Iranian cuisine that is cooked and served in a variety of forms. One of these cooking methods is cooking it as stuffed chicken. To prepare this kind of food, the chicken is packed with spices and a range of delicious fillings and then it is cooked up.
Stuffed chicken is originally from the northern regions of Iran, especially the provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran. In northern regions of Iran, pomegranate sauce is also used in this delicious food.
As mentioned above, Tahchin is a cake made with rice and different kinds of meat in it. If chicken is used within this rice cake, it is called Chicken Tahchin that is used for parties and ceremonies in Iran.
Zereshk Polo with Chicken
Zereshk Polo with Chicken is the most popular type of food that most Iranians make and serve in their parties and ceremonies.
As mentioned earlier, Zereshk Polo is a kind of cooked rice that is served with barberry, almonds, pistachios and saffron along with chicken.
Zereshk Polo, along with kebab Koobideh and chicken kebab, is served almost in all Iranian restaurants.
Another very popular Persian food is Kaleh Pacheh that is usually served for breakfast. This food is made with sheep head and feet and because of its high fat content it is not recommended for people who should follow a low-fat diet.
Kaleh Pacheh might not seem interesting first, but since Iranians are highly reputed for their delectable foods, trust our recommendation and try this delicious food.
Iranviva Group suggests you have this wonderful food as breakfast on your trip to Iran. It is better to have it when you need higher energy during the day.
There are some restaurants in Iran just serving a kind of kebab that is made with sheep’s liver, lung, guts, etc. These restaurants are named Jegar Sarai or Jegaraki.
Jegar Kabab (roasted liver) is one of Iranians’ favorite foods so that there are specific restaurants in Iran just for this kind of kebab.
Jegar Kabab is suitable for lunch and dinner. In fact, this kind of kebab is so light that you can also have it as a great midday snack.
This article is provided for you to have an unforgettable visit to Iran.
Iranian Potage (Aush)
One of the most popular traditional dishes in Iran is Aush or Ash. Aush has an important place in Iranian culture and it is served in some of the rituals and ceremonies in Iran.
Every region of the country has its own special Aush based on the geographical location, climate and agricultural products. Aush is mostly used as an appetizer or midday snack.
Tourists who travel around Iran overland have seen locals selling local Aush on the roads. The following are some of the most popular Iranian Aushs in Iran:
The most popular kind of Aush among Iranians that are found in every part of the land is Aush Reshteh. Aush Reshteh is a nutrient-rich food that is made with white noodles (reshteh), legumes (peas, beans, lentils) and herbs and it is served with Kashk which is a type of yogurt whey (or yogurt), fried mint and fried onions.
Trying it once, you will definitely love this wonderful Aush.
Aush Sholeh Ghalamkar
Every region and every city in Iran has its own food and its own special Aush. Aush Sholeh Ghalamkar is originally from Tehran, the capital.
Aush Sholeh Ghalamkar was first made in Qajar era by order of Naser al‑Din Shah, and from then on it became common among people.
This kind of Aush is made with meat, rice, vegetables and legumes and it is sold in many shops in Tehran.
Ash-e Doogh is the popular food in Azerbaijani and northwest regions of Iran. This Aush is actually a symbol and part of identity of this region and has become one of the attractions of this area. This food is so popular among Iranians and tourists so that it is sold all around the tourist sites in northwest of Iran.
Ash-e Doogh is made with legumes, herbs and Doogh (yogurt) and it is white because of large amount of yogurt.
Fish is a popular food that is served in all parts of the world. The only reason that encourages a tourist to try fish in another country is the different methods of cooking fish in different regions.
Iran is bordered by the Persian Gulf and Oman Sea to the south, and by the Caspian Sea to the north, so the kind of fish caught and cooked in the northern regions is completely different from those in southern regions. We cannot say which one is better, it actually depends on your taste.
Fish, served along with Sabzi Polo (rice cooked with herbs) is a traditional food in Iran, and, according to Iranian tradition, people tend to eat it on the first night of the New Year.
Iranviva Group recommends you experience Sabzi Polo with fish on your visit to Iran, if you are interested in seafood.
‘Meygu’ is a seafood that is called ‘Shrimp’ in English language. This food is mainly made in southern Iran, in areas around the Persian Gulf and Oman Sea. Meygu is made in a variety of ways, including frying, roasting, in stew, in rice (cooked with rice) and in different Hindi and East Asian cooking methods.
Undoubtedly, Meygu, made in southern Iran, is the best shrimp you can experience because this food is a traditional local food in these areas.
Ghalieh Mahi is a traditional food, originally from southern regions in Iran like Hormozgan, Bushehr and Khuzestan. This food is a kind of stew that is made with fish and tamarind, and it is generally spicy in accordance with the taste of people in southern Iran. The fish that is caught in the southern Iran is used in this stew.
If one of your trip destinations is the southern part of Iran, don’t miss this wonderful food.
Havari Mahi is another food from southern Iran, which is made with fish, rice, tamarind, tomatoes and herbs. Havari Mahi is in fact a kind of polo.
Havari Meygu is a kind of seafood originally from the southern regions of Iran that is similar to Havari Mahi, but shrimp is used in this food instead of fish.
The way this food is cooked is slightly different in different cities of southern Iran.
Sholezard is one of the tastiest desserts in Iran that is made with rice, rose water and saffron, and is served with cinnamon, slices of pistachio, almonds, etc.
This yellowish dessert is originally from Kerman province and its name is derived from the word ‘Zard’ that means ‘yellow’ in English. In Iran, Sholezard is mostly used during Ramadan. Iranians serve this delectable dessert in their religious ceremonies too.
Haleem is one of the most popular traditional foods in Iran that is made with wheat, barley, meat and oil. Most people in Iran have Haleem for breakfast in the morning or after a day of fasting, during Ramadan. Haleem is originally served with cinnamon but now it is also served with sesame, coconut powder, sugar, grape sap, etc.
Ingredients used in Haleem are different in different parts of Iran, for example, in some areas red meat is used in this food and in some other areas white meat or turkey meat is used. Haleem is also served with sugar in some parts of the country and with salt in other parts.
Haleem is originally from the central provinces of Iran, especially Markazi Province. It is also made with little changes in other countries in the region, including Afghanistan, Armenia, Iraq, etc.
Iranian delectable Haleem is highly recommended for breakfast on your trip to Iran.
Haleem Bademjan is a traditional cuisine originally from provinces of Shiraz, Kerman and Isfahan in particular.
The main ingredients of this delicious food are meat and eggplant and, depending on various tastes in different regions, other ingredients are also added like rice and other grains.
If you are planning to visit Isfahan and Shiraz on your trip to Iran, you can have this wonderful food.
Eshkeneh is a traditional food in Iran that is a vegetarian food with no meat in it.
Among the vegetables used in Eshkeneh are onions, potatoes and dried vegetables. This food is eaten with Small pieces of bread soaked into it.
If you wish to eat Eshkeneh on your trip to Iran, it is better to have it in traditional restaurants.
Iranviva group will help you if you need help in searching for traditional restaurants in Iran.
Kaleh-Joosh is a traditional food in Isfahan, Yazd, and Khorasan, which is made with Kashk which is a type of yogurt whey, onions, mint, etc., and is served with bread.
Kaleh-Joosh is a good choice for people following a vegetarian diet or those who do not eat meat.
If you would like to experience this food you can have it in local resorts in provinces mentioned above.
Jaghoor Baghoor is a traditional food from Zanjan. This food is made with sheep’s heart, liver and kidney. This food is now beyond the city of Zanjan and is found in many small fast food shops in Iran.
You can eat this delicious food in its traditional form in Zanjan if you have a stop in this city on your trip.
The food is also found in most tea houses in Zanjan and it is suitable for breakfast, lunch and midday.
Beryan is the traditional food originally from the city of Isfahan. Beryan is made with lamb, walnuts, almonds, barberry, sheep’s lung and dried herbs and it is one of the attractions of this city that draws many tourists from around the world.
Tourists like Jean Chardin have mentioned the name of this food in their diaries and travelogues as one of the tastiest foods they have eaten on their trip to Iran.
Beryan is so important in Isfahan that it is served specifically in some food shops.
Beryan is a greasy and heavy food, so most shops in the city offer the food only for lunch.
Isfahan is one of the main destinations for tourists who travel to Iran to visit the manifestation of Iranian art in crafts and architecture of this city.
Torsh-e Tareh is one of the popular foods from Gilan province. Torsh-e Tareh is a kind of stew that, unlike any other kind of stew, it is made based on vegetables and no meat is used in it.
Among the vegetables used in this stew are parsley, coriander, spinach and mint.
Like Kabab Torsh, that is a food from this province too, Torsh-e Tareh has a sour taste.
If you like foods with sour taste, do not miss this delicious food on your journey to the northern Iranian province of Gilan.
Baghali Ghatogh is the most famous food from Gilan province, and can be found only in this province. Baghali Ghatogh is a food symbol of Gilan province and Gilan is known among Iranians for this food.
Baghali Ghatogh is a delicious Iranian stew that is a good choice for vegetarians. This delicious stew is made with fava beans, dill, egg, garlic and spices and is served with Persian steamed rice.
Since it is a high-fiber food and no meat is used in it, Baghali Ghatogh is a suitable food for people who suffer digestive problems while traveling.
As mentioned above, Gilan province is a region in Iran that is highly regarded among tourists for its foods diversity. Mirza Ghasemi is another delectable food from this province that is made with eggplants, garlic, eggs and tomatoes. Mirza Ghasemi is not only a perfect food for dinner, it is also served as an appetizer in most restaurants of Iran. This food is served with rice by people from Gilan province, but it is also served with bread in some restaurants in many parts of Iran.
Kashk-e Bademjan is one of the Iranian traditional foods. Kashk-e Bademjan is made with eggplants, fried onions, mint, walnuts and Kashk which is a type of yogurt whey. Of course, other ingredients like garlic are used in this food based on local tastes in different parts of the country. Eggplants used in this food can be prepared in different ways, i.e. they can be fried, grilled or poached. This food is served with bread.
Kashk-e Bademjan is served as an appetizer in most restaurants in Iran. In addition, this food is a perfect snack in the evening or for dinner.
As its name indicates, Koofteh Tabrizi is the famous and popular food from Tabriz and Azerbaijan Province and it is also known around the world. It is one of the favorite foods of tourists who travel to Iran.
There are different types of Koofteh made in Iran with different ingredients and different recipes depending on the region it is cooked in. It should be noted that different types of Koofteh is also made in the Middle East countries, which in some cases there are similarities and differences.
Koofteh Tabrizi is made with ground meat, split peas, and a variety of herbs and spices. Boiled eggs, plums, etc. are also used inside the Koofteh balls.
Its big size makes Koofteh Tabrizi more appealing to those interested in high-volume and high-energy food.
Perhaps one of the foods on the list of Iranian foods that may seem familiar to you is Kuku. Kuku is a kind of food that is made in different ways with different ingredients in most parts of the world.
One of the most popular types of Kuku in Iran is Kuku Sabzi that is made with aromatic herbs, eggs and different kinds of spices prepared in accordance with different tastes. Kuku Sabzi in prepared in two ways in Iran, i.e. poached or fried. In Iran, Kuku Sabzi is served either with Sabzi Polo or bread.
Persian Fast Foods
Falafel sandwich is a delicious fast food that is served in most fast food restaurants in Iran. Falafel is in fact the street food sold in the Middle East countries, including Iran, Lebanon and Iraq.
Falafel is a delicious and spicy food that is entirely made with peas. Iranviva Group suggests those tourists, who are interested in street foods, try this food in Iran, especially in southern cities like Ahvaz.
Brain and Tongue Sandwich
A kind of sandwich that may be unfamiliar to tourists, who are visiting Iran, is Brain and Tongue Sandwich. This delectable sandwich is made with sheep’s brain and tongue, and is very popular in Iran.
If you are interested in experiencing a special food, this sandwich will undoubtedly be a good choice for you.