Back in August, A was kind enough to share his experiences during his time in New York while on holiday. Now I’ve had my own little break in Iran, a first for me, allowing me a chance to meet another side of my wife’s family. From Tehran to Shiraz, I’ve felt it apt (without any pressure or arm-twisting from A) to share my food-experiences from a country working hard to bring in a new wave of curious tourism….
First and foremost if we haven’t made it clear before then let me make it clear now: food is still THE MOST influential and most inspiring factors when it comes to experiencing foreign lands. Why? Because after the 2 weeks spent travelling through a country that has polarised opinions when it comes to International Affairs, I would say that 75% of our time was spent talking about food OR planning site-seeing/down-time around eating.
Right. Food. I did a little bit of research before taking on my travels, even watching a video from the Munchies Team to at least seem prepared. I was ready for rice (the staple starch), I was ready for kebob (at least that’s how it’s pronounced) and I was ready for tea (no PG tips to be seen here, just pure chai; similar to an earl grey), BUT what surprised me the most was the bread! It might sound like a simple idea but, as well as being delicious, they’re about more than just your regular flat-breads. There are at least 4 different types:
All of these are unleavened flat-breads but, unless you are an early-riser, it will be hard to find Barbarri, as bakeries only have it ready for the morning. To add a little more confusion to the mix we found a bakery in Taft, near the City of Yazd, that was serving what they called “cornor”. These guys were branching out, making some delicious leavened-breads from wild-yeast (think a mildly-soured sourdough).
Of course we can’t talk Iran without talking about the hallowed rice which is served as a part of most dishes and treated in various ways. Often you will get hooked up with some tahdeeg; the golden, crispy layer of caramelised rice found on the base of the rice’s cooking pot and has been known to start fights between young siblings to decide who gets the last bite! Lamb (in some shape or form) is mostly your meat of choice, with chicken playing second fiddle to these tail-less animals; yes, a species of Iranian sheep don’t actually have any tails…weird right? And for the record, let it be known that you’re going to have to search far and wide to find a true Iranian who will call themselves vegetarian or vegan.
Now, you’re armed with a baseline of knowledge, here are THE dishes you should make sure you try on your journey through Iran:
I realise that this is slowly becoming the longest bit of writing I’ve ever willingly done, but I think that really does go to show how much there is to divulge about a country that I’ve never been to. This week’s video will also be featuring the food of Iran and I’ll include a couple of restaurants to make sure you check out while on your visit, so on that note, and before I bore you with any more information, I think I’ll end this blog post here, now. R.
PS> Don’t think that just because I’ve been away I won’t be reminding you about our upcoming popup at The Elmore Jam in Islington. Be ready for a night of jukebox tunes and, of course, delicious dining!