Food & Drink

Food

Iranian cuisine is very good and remarkably healthy! With its  emphasis on the freshest ingredients, especially vegetables and fruit, and its relatively low levels of red meat and fat. It is not very highly spiced but uses large quantities of herbs such as mint, dill, parsley, coriander and chives. 

Generally, Iranian diet is heavily based on rice, bread, fresh vegetables, herbs and fruit. The most commonly served meat is chicken. Meat usually minced or cut in to small chunks, is used to add flavor but is rarely the dominant ingredient, except in Kebabs. The standard meat is lamb or mutton, though beef and veal also turn up from time to time; for religious reasons, pork never does.

Rice is often served with many Iranian dishes. In general Rice is called Berenj.  Chelo is boiled and steamed rice; often the base for many meals .Rice cooked with other ingredients, such as nuts and spices, is called Polo. Rice served in Iran is always fluffy and tender, and never sticky or soggy. Saffron is also frequently used to flavor and color the rice.

Iranian bread , known generally as Nun, is always fresh, and you can always buy it in a bakery .There are essentially four main varieties of Iranian bread which are either baked in cavernous clay furnaces or briefly plunged into the flames of a pit-oven. “Lavash” is a flat and very thin kind of bread . “Sangak” is thicker bread, which is oval-shaped pulpy, which is baked on a bed of stones(make sure all the stones are removed before putting your teeth into it) , “Taftun” is a crisp bread with a ribbed surface and finally “Barbari” is the elite of Iranian breads which is crisp and salty with a glazed and finally latticed crust. 

Drinks

All alcohol is banned although the Christian communities, as in Isfahan, are allowed wine strictly for communion use.
Although tap water is drinkable in most cities, but it is advisable to use bottled water .mineral water is widely available as are Iranian soft drinks such as Iranian coca-cola and Iranian 7-up. It is also possible to buy American coca-cola (actually made and sold from Europe) which is considerably more expensive. Also, non-alcoholic beer is very popular and readily available.

Tea is the most common drink in Iran and this is always available. It is usually served in a small glass cup with a detachable metal holder and a cube of sugar, which is traditionally held in one’s mouth while drinking the tea!

Dugh (yoghurt and water, like Turkish ayran or Indian lassi ) is available in plain and carbonated forms.

There are also some other traditional drinks generally called “Sharbat” which are made by herb-waters like rose-water which are really refreshing in hot summers.
Do not count on having wonderful coffee at any point on your trip. Most hotels and restaurants serve Nescafe (instant coffee). If you would like anything else we recommend you bring your own “coffee-bags”.