Enjoying local food has always been the best part of any traveler’s experience. Every country offers its own cuisine which is normally influenced by many factors such as geographical location, climatic condition, and culture.
Food is probably the easiest element to experience in this rich culture. Persian cuisine is not just ancient and cosmopolitan; it is also therapeutic for the body and soul. Iranians always care about how healthy their meals are, so it is no surprise that the food they eat is a mixture of the most nutritious ingredients.
Traveling to Iran, an ancient vast land with a diverse climate in every corner of the country, you will find various delicious foods, and all of them are totally worth trying. Tourists normally get surprised by the diversity, amazing tastes, and even the portion size of the Iranian food. The diversity is so outstanding that Rasht, the northern city of Iran, has been registered in the UNESCO as the “City of Gastronomy“.

It would take pages to describe all the best Iranian foods you can try here in Iran. We would recommend you try the most famous local food in every city you travel to, otherwise, you will regret it. Besides that, there are some Iranian foods you should not miss while you are in Iran such as Iranian Kebab, Abgoosht or Dizi, different kinds of stew, and Ash.
If you would like to know more, take the time to read our guest blog for the tourists’ food experience in Iran. And if your interest goes beyond just tasting delicious food, Iran Doostan Tours offers Iranian culinary tours, during which you can immerse yourself in the Iranian cuisine culture and enjoy yourself while learning precious recipes.
We would be more than happy to deal with your queries in regard to traveling to Iran. Please do not hesitate to contact us at info@idt.ir.

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Most Popular Northern Dishes of Iran

The Iranian cuisine is very diverse; however, the northern dishes of Iran are exceptional for tourists. The cuisine varies from region to region. In Mazandaran province, people are fonder of seafood and spices for it is alongside the Caspian Sea, a coastal area where locals can effortlessly catch fish, and in Gilan Province, a mountainous region, indigenous herbs and veggies are used for the main course. Here are some delicious northern dishes you should try while visiting the mesmerizing places in the northern region of Iran!

 

Naz Khatoon

Naz Khatoon is an original and fancy side dish famous in the Mazandaran Province. It is a Torshi mixture made with special herbs, potatoes, and eggplants. A simple recipe that is excellent for those who enjoy sour foods. Naz Khatun contains garlic, grated onions, verjuice, condiments, cinnamon, vegetable oil, barbequed eggplants, and pomegranate paste for an additional sourness. Dried mint, angelica, basil, and fresh coriander are crushed and combined with the above ingredients to create an unforgettable taste. The mouth-watering Torshi is garnished with chopped or pickled carrots and garden-fresh coriander. The side dish is mainly accompanied by Adas Polo “rice and lentils” or Shami kebab, a mixture of beef and nuts.

Baghali Ghatogh

Baghali Ghatogh is a delicious stew made with dill, kidney beans, and eggs. The Baghali Ghatogh is also served with sticky rice known as kateh in Persian, which is very common in the Northern dishes. Fresh Garlic and seasoning such as pepper, salt, and turmeric are added to the stew for a flavorful taste. The recipe for the stew is distinct between the two Northern Provinces. In Mazandaran, Baghali Ghatogh is made with kidney beans, and in Gilan, it is cooked with cranberry beans. Nonetheless, the Gilani recipe is mostly dished out in late summer, for the beans are supplied during this month.

Baghali Ghatogh

Baghali Ghatogh is a delicious stew made with dill, kidney beans, and eggs.

 

Aghouze Messeama

If you’re looking for an extraordinary dish, make sure to try Aghouze Messeama, one of the northern dishes of Iran. Aghouze Messeama is a popular and healthy meal in Gilan Province, made with duck, pomegranate paste, and walnuts. Pomegranate seeds and walnuts are grinded and combined with the mixture of duck and the pomegranate paste, followed by salt, pepper, sugar, turmeric, fried onions, and butter or oil. The stew mixture is served with rice or torshi, which is simply pickled vegetables commonly used in Middle Eastern cuisines as a side dish. Fried Eggplants are set out by the plate as well for an extra relish. This dish is also made with goose instead of duck, depending on the different regions.

Mirza Ghassemi

Mirza Ghassemi is named after Mohammed Qasim Khan, the Northern governor of Rasht, who was the first to invent this famous traditional savory in the 19th Century. Mirza Ghassemi is served as both an appetizer and the main dish. It is a dip cooked with grilled eggplant, tomatoes, spices, and eggs and helped with rice or bread. The majority of provinces enjoy the dish with freshly baked bread. Garlic, salt, pepper, oil, or butter is mixed with the three main ingredients to make the delicious roasted eggplant dish. In some areas, grilled zucchini is used instead of eggplants to make Kadoo Ghassemi. ‘Kadoo’ is the Persian word for Zucchini. The dish can be decorated with basil, mint, or other fragrant herbs, as well as onions or sliced red radish.

Mirza Ghasemi

Mirza Ghasemi is a vegetarian meal that is very tasty and delicious.

Sirabij

Sirabij stew is a well-liked meal cooked in Gilan Province, famous for its strong garlic fragrance. The word ‘sir’ stands for garlic in Persian, referring to the main ingredient of Sirabij stew. Garlic cloves and leaves are what make this stew aromatized. It is a simple and easy dish to make, requiring boiled eggs, salt, pepper, turmeric, and oil with the cloves prepared and then fried together. Gilani women cook Sirabij with Gija Oil, also known as Gijavash, a local vegetable oil perfect for this unique stew. Sirabij is served with bread or rice, along with fish or chicken and yogurt.

Spinach Maerji

One of the most common leafy green vegetables in Northern cuisine is Spinach. A healthy and nutritious plant, recommended by many health experts. Spinach Maerji is the perfect meal for individuals with low iron and a weak immune system. Made with lentils, garlic cloves, sour pomegranate paste, spice, turmeric, salt and pepper, and animal fat or butter. The dish is accompanied by bread or kateh (sticky rice) and garnished with herbs such as basil or mint. Mazandaran province is where Spinach Maerji was first invented and is usually made by the locals as a flavorsome meal. All these delicious northern dishes of Iran will give an unforgettable taste to your trip!

 

Spinach Maerji

Spinach Maerji was first invented in Mazandaran Province.

 

Kebab Persian cuisine

10 Famous Persian Food, a Cuisine for Healing the Body and Soul

Persian cuisine is not just ancient and cosmopolitan; it is also therapeutic for the body and soul. The legendary physician and philosopher Avicenna describes in his great book “The Canon of Medicine” the healing and beneficial aspects of different foods, fruits, and vegetables for the body. When you travel to Iran, you can learn more about Iran foods and drinks. Every city in each province of Iran has hundreds of local dishes for every season of the year. How fascinating is that? Therefore, we picked the most famous Persian dishes you must try on your visit to Iran.

Fesenjan

Fesenjan is one of the most popular stews, made with pomegranate sauce, walnut, and chicken or ground beef. It is a local food from the northern part of Iran and has a sweet and sour taste. In some regions, locals make this stew with meatballs or lamb. Adding orange zest, whole pomegranate seeds, butternut squash, or dried apricots is traditional in other parts. It is not a regular item on restaurant menus since it’s usually served on special occasions such as weddings or formal parties.

There is a wide variety of Iranian stews as famous Persian dishes. Each region of the country has its unique stew made of its own local and seasonal ingredients. The three main stews in Iran are Fesenjan, Gheymeh, and Ghormeh Sabzi, and all are served with Chelo (white, fluffy rice).

Iranians are proud of their skills in preparing rice, and there are different ways to cook them, such as Chelo, Polo, Abkesh, and Kateh. Chelo is fluffy Persian rice with some saffron rice on top. Polo is mixed rice usually served with chicken, lamb, beef, or fish. Zereshk Polo is one of the most popular Polos that has Persian barberries and saffron, and you mostly see it served with chicken. Another is dill and lima bean rice usually served with lamb shank next to the chicken. There is an individual meal called Tahchin that is entirely made with rice!

Tahchin

Tahchin is a kind of rice cake with four layers. First, the lowest layer is a mixture of cooked rice, yogurt, egg, and saffron. The second layer consists of flavored rice and Persian spices such as saffron or turmeric. The third layer contains cooked chicken pieces, and the last layer is spicy rice. Iranians, generally, are very fond of Tahdig. In Tachin, it is essential to add a crispy layer of Tahdig on the upper part of the Tachin to bring a touch of lusciousness to this traditional Iranian food.

Biryani

In addition to enjoying the gorgeous mosques, ornate domes, and ancient bridges in Isfahan, the Biryani is another highlight of this city. This dish is made with shoulder lamb and onions. First, the lamb is cooked through a particular process and then soon after fried. In the end, the lamb will be ground or chopped very finely. The result is a highly aromatic and colorful dish of meat and rice. Our lovely Isfahani locals serve Biryani on bread and decorate with some cinnamon on top.

Kebab

You will most definitely see Kebabs on the menus of restaurants since it is one of the most famous Persian dishes. Kebab is grilled meat such as filet mignon, chicken, ground beef, or fish served with Chelo with grilled tomato and pepper.  The most famous Persian kebabs you come across in Iran are Joojeh Kebab and Koobideh, Iranians’ all-time favorites, and they sometimes have Naz Khatoon and Dough beside their dish. During your travel to Iran, do not miss this tasty meal!

famous Persian dishes

In the Iranian restaurant menus you will mostly see Kebabs; one of the bests in Persian Cuisine.

Ghormeh Sabzi

The delicious Ghormeh Sabzi, or as some people might call it, the king of the stews, is on another level. Ghormeh Sabzi is the hallmark of Iranian food that dates back more than 2000 years. You would rarely find someone who does not love Ghormeh Sabzi. Ghormeh Sabzi is served in most restaurants as lunch or dinner. The ingredients are kidney beans, a mixture of herbs, and dried limes. Nothing surpasses Ghormeh Sabzi when it comes to its taste and texture as a dish.

Gheymeh Nesar

Imagine the taste of Persian barberries, pistachio, cinnamon, rose water, turmeric, and saffron. It will take you to the magnificent feast of a Persian king in his exotic palace surrounded by gorgeous decorations on the walls and silk carpets on the floor. Gheymeh Nesar of Qazvin is one of the bests in Persian Cuisine. It is a food mostly made for special events. The topping of the rice has almond, pistachio, orange pill slices, Persian barberries, and lamb meat, which creates an unforgettable taste.

Gheymeh

The other favored stew is Gheymeh, but this one is pretty common in most restaurants in the country. The word Gheymeh comes from how the meat is cut into small cubes in this recipe. Gheymeh is a traditional and popular Iranian stew with saffron potatoes, served with either white or aromatic rice. The main ingredients of this tasty stew are tomato paste, lintels, dried lime, and beef with the addition of French fries or eggplants on top instead. Khoresht-e Gheimeh can turn into Gheymeh Bademjan by adding eggplants to the stew.

Gheymeh Persian cuisine

A traditional and popular Iranian stew with saffron potatoes

Dizi or Abgoosht

Dizi is quite different from other foods, and that’s why Abgoosht is among the most famous Persian dishes in Iran. The ingredients are lamb, tomato, onion, potato, chickpeas, and different seasonings such as turmeric. The juice is separately served, so you can dip Persian bread in it and enjoy it. The solid materials will be mashed and mixed and served with broth. Usually, you can eat pickles or yogurt with Dizi and fully enjoy the fascinating taste of traditional Persian food.

Ash Reshteh

Ash Reshteh is the traditional Iranian version of noodle soup, cooked with beans, peas, and vegetables. With a strong taste of the dried mint powder. The soup is garnished with a salty dairy sauce named Kashk. That’s why it also is called Ash-e Kashk. The name makes sense, as “ash” translates to thick soup and “reshteh” to noodle! Ash Reshteh is a great option that will leave you satisfied and full of energy for quite some time!

Kofte Tabrizi

If you are visiting Tabriz during your stay in Iran, make sure you try the most famous Persian dish of the city, Kofteh Tabrizi. Kofte Tabrizi is a super meatball made of ingredients such as rice, ground beef, yellow split peas, leeks, mint, parsley, onion, walnuts, dried apricots, barberries, and Persian spices, cooked in tomato paste. Some like to stuff the meatballs with prunes, walnuts, and fried onions until it cooks slowly to perfection.

Kufte Tabrizi - Persian Cuisine

Persian Cuisine: Kofte Tabrizi