Top 10 Iranian Food You Must Not Miss in Iran
Best Iranian Food
Tasting Iranian food is a culinary adventure for every tourist in Iran. From the flavored Khoresht (stew) to the Persian Kabab to the different kinds of authentic Ash (Persian soup), there is always something coming out of the Persian food menu that you will love.
Iranian dishes are diverse and differ from region to region and are also made from fresh and local ingredients. From a light soup to the fancy dishes served in the ceremonies, here are the top 10 Iranian food you must not miss in Iran.
Tahchin is one of the best Iranian food you can not find in other destinations. It consists of rice, various types of meat (chicken is more common), yogurt, eggs, and saffron. This Persian food is a kind of rice cake that is one of the traditional Persian foods for the feasts due to its beautiful shape and flavor. Tahchin has a thick crust saffron Tahdig (crispy rice), fillings (a layer of meat and other ingredients), and a softer layer of saffron rice. It is usually decorated with fried barberry.
It is interesting to know that different types of Tachin are cooked in the north of Iran, in which medlar paste, plum paste, and duck or goose meat are used. Finally, you can order Tahchin in all traditional Iranian restaurants.
Ingredients: Rice, Chicken or other kinds of meat, Saffron, Yogurt, Egg, Turmeric, Black pepper
Dizi or Abgoosht is an Iranian broth served with Persian bread. Since the recipe of Dizi varies in different parts of Iran, it usually consists of meat, beans, chickpeas, and potato in a delicious broth.
Interestingly, Iranians have a unique method to eat Dizi. Accordingly, they separate the ingredients and the broth. Then they squish the ingredients together and call it “Goosht Koobideh.” On the other hand, they soak shattered Sangak bread in the broth and call it “Tilit.” And, finally, they serve it with bread and greens.
Notably, since meat is the principal ingredient of Dizi, this traditional Persian dish is not suitable for Veg travelers.
Ingredients: Mutton, Beans, Chickpeas, Potato, Tomato or Tomato Paste, Onion, Dried Limes, Black pepper, Turmeric
Sabzi Polo ba Mahi
Sabzi Polo is the “Persian Rice with herbs,” and the Persian word “Mahi” means fish. So, Sabzi Polo ba Mahi is on the list of the top 10 Iranian food that consists of a vegetable pilaf served with fish (usually fried or grilled). Interestingly in different regions of Iran, the rice is mixed with various vegetables that some of which are local. Also, the types of fishes are different in the north and south of Iran.
Notably, this popular Persian dish is a traditional meal for the first day of the Persian new year (Nowruz).
Ingredients: Rice, Fish, Herbs (Dill, Parsley, Leek, and Coriander), Saffron, Spices
Ash Reshteh (Persian Noodle Soup)
“Ash” includes all kinds of soups that are mostly thick and full of ingredients, and Iranians are professional in making diverse kinds of Ash. So, these dishes are among the top Iranian food.
Ash Reshteh is a thick noodle and vegetable soup usually cooked for the feast and ceremonies. To prepare this popular Persian dish, Iranians mix different legumes with the chopped vegetables and flat noodles. They also add a lot of Kashk (curd) to the soup. Finally, they garnish Ash Reshteh with Kashk, fried onions, fried garlic, and fried mint. Usually, there is no meat in this Iranian food, so it is a suitable dish for vegetarians.
Ingredients: Persian Noodle, Legumes (Chickpeas, Beans, Lentils), Vegetables ( Leek, Parsley, Coriander, Spinach, etc.), Kashk (Curd), Onion, Garlic, Mint
Zereshk Polo ba Morgh (Persian Barberry Rice with Chicken)
Zereshk Polo ba Morgh is an authentic Iranian food, which like Chelo Kabab, you can taste in every Iranian restaurant. It is also served at ceremonies and parties. This Iranian dish consists of a mixed rice dish (Polo) and chicken (Morgh); The brewed rice is garnished with saffron, barberry (Zeresh), fried onions, sliced almonds, and pistachios; And the chicken is cooked with saffron and tomato sauce. Traditionally Iranian serve this dish with a bowl of chicken broth.
Ingredients: Rice, Chicken, Barberry, Tomato Paste, Saffron, Lime Juice, Onion, Sliced Almonds, Sliced Pistachios, Turmeric, Black Pepper
Baghali Polo ba Goosht or Baghali Polo ba Morgh
“Baghali” means fava beans, and “Polo” means pilaf; So Baghali Polo is the mixture of steamed rice with fresh fava beans and dill. Iranians serve Baghali Polo with chicken or mutton meat. Accordingly, when it is served with mutton, it is called “Baghali Polo ba Mahicheh” or Baghali Polo ba Goosht; And when they serve the pilaf with chicken, it is called “Baghali Polo ba Morgh.” Notably, Baghali Polo ba Goosht is more popular than Baghali Polo ba Morgh and is considered one of the top Iranian food.
Traditionally, Iranians garnish the pilaf with saffron and serve the dish with broth.
Ingredients: Rice, Fava Beans, Dill, Saffron, Mutton or Chicken, Saffron
Chelo Khoresht Gheymeh
Chelo Khoresh Gheymeh (Gheimeh) is one of the best Iranian food with various cooking styles in different Iran cities. In other words, On your trip to Iran, you can taste various types of Khoresht Gheymeh in different regions of this country. This traditional Iranian dish served in most ceremonies consists of a split-pea and chopped meat (Gheymeh means chopped meat) stew with white rice.
Iranians garnish the dish with fried potatoes and serve it with rice like other Iranian stews.
Ingredients: Mutton, Split Peas, Onion, Tomato or Tomato Paste, Potato, Saffron, Turmeric, Cinnamon (Optional)
Chelo Khoresht-e Fesenjan (Fesenjan Stew with Rice)
Chelo Khoresht-e Fesenjan, one of the most popular Iranian dishes, especially for ceremonies, is a sour-sweet stew served with white rice. The stew mainly contains pomegranate paste, walnuts, and chicken or duck meat. It must be cooked slowly for hours to be well-simmered.
Interestingly, Khoresht-e Fesenjan is one of the oldest Iranian foods; Inscriptions containing a list of Persian food that belong to 515 BC have been found in Persepolis, which has a recipe of Fesenjan.
On your trip to Iran, you can taste different kinds of Fesenjan in Iran’s cities. For example, some cooks add sugar to make it sweeter while others prefer it sourer. Besides, in some regions, they add saffron or cinnamon to Fesenjan to make it more flavored. By the way, some tourists believe that Khoresht-e Fesenjan is the best Iranian food.
Ingredients: chicken or duck meat, onion, ground walnuts, pomegranate juice or paste, cardamom. cinnamon or saffron (optional), sugar (optional)
Chelo Khoresht-e Ghormeh Sabzi (Ghormeh Sabzi Stew)
The Persian word “Khoresht” or “Khoresh” means a kind of stew that is mainly served with rice, and the whole dish is called “Chelo Khoresh.”
Chelo Khoresht-e Ghormeh Sabzi is an Iranian Chelo Khoresht (stew and rice) with a unique aroma popular among Iranians and outside Iran’s borders. Interestingly, the pizza of Ghormeh Sabzi is served in some countries.
Khoresht-e Ghormeh Sabzi consists of local vegetables, herbs, beans, and meat. Also, in some cities, they add tomato paste or pomegranate paste to this stew. Finally, this Persian food, like other Persian stews, is always served with rice.
Ingredients: Sliced lamb or beef meat, Dried red or black-eye beans, Onion, Fresh vegetables (garlic, parsley, spinach, chives, fenugreek, cilantro), Persian dried limes, Turmeric, Local green vegetables or herbs
Chelo Kabab (Persian Kebab with rice)
Chelo Kebab is an authentic Iranian food containing flavorful Kebab (barbecued meat), served with steamed rice (Chelo or Kateh).
Actually, this delicious Iranian dish came from the Caucasus during the Qajar period, and the Iranians have changed its recipe during the time. Today, Chelo Kabab is a famous Persian dish served in all Iranian restaurants inside and outside the country.
In addition to rice, the Chelo Kabab side dishes include barbecued tomato, fresh basil, lemons, and a traditional Persian yogurt drink called Dough. Here are the most famous Persian Kebabs.
Here are the most famous Persian Kebabs:
- Chelo Kabab Koobideh: it is the most famous Iranian food served at parties and weddings, containing a mixture of ground meat, chopped onion, and herbs.
- Chelo Joojeh Kabab: This traditional Iran food is made of barbecued chicken pieces. The Iranians marinate the sliced chicken in different ingredients such as lemon juice and onions or yogurt to prepare it. Then they cover the slices with saffron and butter while grilling them.
- Chelo Kabab Barg: It is another type of Persian Kebab, more or less like a thin steak, made of lamb or beef slices. To prepare it, the Iranians marinate the sliced meat in onions and lemon juice. Then they cover the pieces with saffron and butter while grilling them.
- Chelo Kabab Chenjeh: Chenjeh is a small piece of soft mutton or beef fillet marinated in flavorful ingredients and cooked on the grill. In the north of Iran, Chenjeh is served with steamed rice called Kateh, and the whole dish is named Kateh Kabab.
- Kabab Torsh: It is a kind of Kabab Chenjeh that is cooked in the north of Iran. To prepare it, they marinate the lean cuts of beef or lamb in a mixture of pomegranate paste, walnuts, garlic, olive oil, and herbs before grilling.
- Chelo Lari Kebab (Chelo Kabab Lari): It is a popular Persian dish, particularly in the south of Iran. To prepare it, the Iranians marinate the chopped meat (lamb, beef, or chicken) in sour yogurt and onions for hours before grilling. So, due to the use of yogurt, The texture of Lari Kebab is softer than the other kinds of Iranian Kabab.
- Shishlik (Shashlik): Shishlik or Dandeh Kabab is the barbecued ribs of the sheep, and you can find the best of it in Mashhad and the west of Iran.
Ingredients: Meat (Lamb, Beef, or Chicken), Onion, Black pepper, Sumac, Fresh lemon, Yogurt, Saffron, or other flavorings based on Kebab’s type
Where to Eat and How Much to Pay for the Top Iranian Food
You can try the mentioned 10 Best Iranian food almost anywhere in Iran. However, according to the diversity of climate, geography, and culture of Iran, each food is cooked better in some places than in others. Hence, in the table below, we have brought the list of the top 10 Iranian food, the places where you can try the best of them, and the approximate price of each food portion.
|Persian Dish||Best Places to Eat in Iran||Approximate Price||Veg or non-veg|
|Tahchin||The North, Shiraz||3 Euro||Traditionally Non-veg (Has Veg version)*|
|Dizi||Tehran, Mashhad, Tabriz, Kermanshah, Kurdistan, Qom, Kerman, Arak, Kashan, Hamedan||3 Euro||Non-veg|
|Chelo Kabab||Tehran, Mashhad, Tabriz, Kermanshah, Kurdistan, The North, Lar||2 to 8 Euro depending on the kebab type||Non-veg|
|Chelo Khoresht-e Ghormeh Sabzi||Tehran, The North||2 Euro||Traditionally Non-veg (Has Veg version)|
|Chelo Khoresht-e Fesenjan||Tehran, The North||3 Euro||Non-veg|
|Chelo Khoresht Gheymeh||Yazd, Tehran||2 Euro||Non-veg|
|Baghali Polo ba Goosht||Tehran, Mashhad, Kermanshah||7 Euro||Non-veg|
|Zereshk Polo ba Morgh||Almost all over the country||3 Euro||Non-veg|
|Ash Reshteh||The western region of Iran||1 Euro||Veg|
|Sabzi Polo ba Mahi||Rasht, the coastal cities of the Caspian sea, the coastal towns and islands of the Persian Gulf (Bushehr, Bandar Abbas, Kish and Qeshm Islands)||7 Euro||Non-veg|
* You can find the veg version of the foods that are traditionally non-veg in special restaurants, not everywhere.
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