Food can represent the rich customs and traditions of a nation, and eating a delicious local meal can create a sweet memory for the tourist. Thus, most of the people are interested in trying traditional dishes when they travel to a new destination. Among the cities in Iran, Tehran, the capital of Iran, is a city where all travelers to Iran are visiting. So, tasting Tehran traditional food can double the fun of visiting this historic city. Notably, as these days, Tehran’s residents are mostly immigrants who have their own local culture and food; it isn’t very easy to distinguish the traditional Tehran food precisely.
Here, we as locals, introduce you to the different kinds of popular Tehran food, their ingredients, and approximate prices.
Also, you can get more information about the most popular Iranian dishes and their approximate prices on the Persian Food and Drink page.
Tehran Food & Drinks Menu
* The prices are rough and based on a qualified dish served in a popular traditional restaurant in major cities. Usually, the prices are a little lower in casual dining restaurants and in small towns.
- Sar Gonjeshki $4
Rice, Shredded Cabbage, Ground Beef, Onion, Fresh Green Vegetables (Parsley, Chives, Persian Basil, Tarragon, Dill, and Leek), Turmeric, Salt, Pepper
- Dami Balghur $3
Oat, Red Beans, Chickpeas, Lentils, Rice, Vegetables (Leeks, Parsley, Coriander, Spinach), Onion, Powdered Mint, Pepper, Turmeric, Cinnamon
- Eshkeneh Esfenaj $3
Eggs, Potatoes, Onions, Spinach, Sumac Water, Spices
- Ash-e Shole Ghalamkar $3
Lamb’s Neck Meat, Parsley, Spinach, Coriander, Leeks, Beans, Lentils, Rice, Chickpeas, Turmeric, Mint, Garlic, Onions
- Valak Polo $3
Rice, Valak, Garlic, Oil, Salt
Sar Gonjeshki, the potato and meat dish, is one of the ethnic foods of Tehran. Despite its deliciousness and nutrients, this food is relatively easy to cook. Firstly, they first make small meatballs from the ground meat, chopped onion, and some herbs and fry them. Then, they add water cut potatoes and tomato paste and cook it for 45 minutes.
Ingredients: Minced Beef, Potatoes, Tomatoes or Tomato Paste, Turmeric, Onions, Herbs, Garlic (Optional)
Dami Balghur is one of the traditional foods of Tehran originating from the Lavasan region. Traditionally, they use oat and a local vegetable called “Tableh”. To prepare this Tehrani food, they first cook the oat and legumes and then add the vegetables. Afterward, they add spices, fried onions, and mint. Finally, they pour the rice and let it brewed. It is interesting to know that Dami Balgur is suitable for vegetarians.
Ingredients: Oat, Red Beans, Chickpeas, Lentils, Rice, Vegetables (Leeks, Parsley, Coriander, Spinach), Onion, Powdered Mint, Pepper, Turmeric, Cinnamon
This traditional Persian dish is originally a Tehran food that is cooked all over the country. Despite its deliciousness and nutrients, this dish is relatively easy to prepare. Firstly, they fry the onion and then add flour, spinach, pepper, and turmeric. Then, they pour some water and let it boil. Afterward, they add cut potatoes to the pot. Finally, they pour the sumac water and serve the dish.
Ingredients: Eggs, Potatoes, Onions, Spinach, Sumac Water, Spices
Ash-e Shole Ghalamkar
Ash-e Shole Ghalamkar is a delicious thick soup that belongs to Tehran and the time of Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar. In addition to being delicious, there is an interesting story behind this traditional Tehran food that has become a Persian proverb. According to the narrators, Nasser al-Din Shah used to go to the countryside once a year in the spring. On that day, he ordered to cook 12 pots of soup. Therefore, the Shah’s relatives, and their family members, tried hard to get ahead of others in preparing this soup to show their devotion to the king. To make this dish, they poured whatever they could, from meat and a variety of legumes to several types of herbs and spices. As a result, the cooking of this soup created true clutter, insofar as it later became a proverb for clutter. As, the term “Shole Ghalamkar” means hodgepodge, this food or anything that is cluttered is called “Ash-e Shole Qalamkar”.
To prepare the dish, the locals use aromatic herbs, different legumes, lamb’s neck meat without the bone. Finally, they garnish the dish with fried peppermint, fried garlic, and onion. Although Preparing this food is very time-consuming and hard, but its tasty result has worth it.
Ingredients: Lamb’s Neck Meat, Parsley, Spinach, Coriander, Leeks, Beans, Lentils, Rice, Chickpeas, Turmeric, Mint, Garlic, Onions
Valak is a kind of wild garlic that grows in the mountains around Tehran in Darband. The Tehran inhabitants use this herb to prepare a local food called Valak polo which has wonderful taste and aroma. To prepare this Tehran traditional dish, the locals, boil the rice with chopped Valak, oil and salt and then brew it. Also sometimes they add fresh garlic to the dish. Traditionally, Valak Polo is served with chicken or meat.
Ingredients: Rice, Valak, Garlic, Oil, Salt