iranian food culture

Iranian food, A Complete Guide to Persian food & drink

In this article, wants to talk about Iranian food culture. For tourists, Iranian food is another exciting thing which in travel to Iran they prefer to test. Every culture has its foods; we can say that people usually become familiar with that culture with what they eat. Therefore the decided to introduce Persian foods and drinks to you as the main part of Iranian heritage.

The Iranian people have a good taste and the quality of foods are important for them therefore in Iran there is a verity of foods. And every city of Iran has different food habits. If you are interested to know more about Persian meals and snacks, please keep reading this article.

Introduction to Iranian Food Culture

Iran food culture is one of the most interesting parts of our relations. In Iran foods and also table-clothe (Sofreh) is highly respectful because it is a place where we serve food and it is reverent. In our culture, we believe that foodstuffs are Good gifts; therefore, disparagement to food is equivalent to disrespect to God. Moreover, Sofreh is a place where the family gathers 3 times a day together and interact with each other which this interaction in Persian food culture is valuable and ingesting individually is kind of disrespect to family and its sign of unorganized family relationship.

Although having food is an individual need, that is a social issue, and people like to eat food together in the family. Let me tell you a little about Sofreh. Sofreh is a piece made of fabric or PVC coated material, and in Persian culture is a place where people traditionally serve their food on the ground and flatten the Sofreh on the carpet nearly at the center of it. People sit around the Sofreh cross-legged after eating food all the family thanks God for the meals and his God gifts.  

Iranian are a good cook and they have a wide verity of foods. In cooking, they always chose healthiest and nutrients foodstuffs. Also, a Persian chief usually uses meat and rice with different kind of spices the famous one is saffron. For sure you have heard the most famous food of that is “Chelo Kabab” usually we drink “Dough” which is our traditional beverage. We can say that “Chelo Kabab” is our national food; we will talk about our famous also delicate foods in the next part of this article. We suggest you don’t miss the next part. In your Travel to Iran, you must try I’m sure you will love them.

Every city of Iran has their own foods and own Iran food culture. But in total whenever foreigners hear the name of this country it resembles them of those that are internationally well known.

Different Meals in Persian food culture

Like other countries, we have three main meals such as breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Unlike western culture, that they serve an appetizer, main course and desserts at a certain interval, Iranian people serve all of them at the same time and eat them respectively. Usually, cooking foods need more time we can’t cook them in a short time. Maybe because of this we set them all together at the food table.

Iranian people for dinner especially whenever they have guests serve their meals in three parts of the main course, desserts, and side dishes. We serve soup or eggplant haleem (Haleem Bademjan), Olivier Salad (Salad Olivieh) as an appetizer. Our main meal is a different kind of traditional foods. For desserts, we serve Jelly, yogurts with grated cucumbers, a dish of fresh vegetables, different kinds of “torshi”, olive and yogurts we have also two different kinds of salad such as Shirazi salad and lettuce salad with fine decoration on it that looks very pretty.


In the history of Iran, the main food was bread and this is was the main course. Bakeries are other important urban elements of Iran. We have different types of bread such as: “Sangak”, “Barbare”, “Tafton” and “Lavash”.


In Iran for breakfast most of the time we eat bread with butter combined with honey or different kind of jams and also we eat bread with cheese and a slice of tomato and cucumber. Sometimes we eat boiled or fried egg as a breakfast too.

 We have one strange food I think tourists may find it strange but we really like it and that is “Kalle-Pacheh”. Most foreigners hates or even they wondered how people eat that sheep or cow parts which includes head, feet, and stomach. It is a traditional dish and in other middle-east countries. We eat “Kalle-Pache as a breakfast.

Another food that we eat for breakfast is “Haleem” this delicious food is various from one place to another place but we always cook it with wheat and meats or beef of mutton and lamb also sometimes rice is used. Cooking this needs about eight hours of slow cook to blend all spices, meat, wheat, and flavors.     

Persian customs and its cuisines

I have to mention that we have some customs in Iran such as “Yalda night” (its like Thanksgiving) and “New Year Eve” (the night before New Year) we usually cook especial dinner and all family gathers together at grandmother and grandfathers home to celebrate that night with each other. We have many other customs which all family and relatives celebrate it with cooking especial kind of cuisines. This customs shows that Iranian people are social and family-oriented.

Forbidden foods and drinks

In Iranian food culture, it is important that foodstuffs should be Halal according to the Islamic rules and also drinking wine and alcoholic beverages are forbidden.

Hot and Cold Drinks in Iranian food culture

We have 2 kinds of cold and hot drinks. We have lots of cold drinks such as Dough and some sweet beverages that we make them with syrups, sugar, and water and in some of them, we add Chia, Seeds and Hawk we call it Sharbat. Tea is the most popular hot drink of Iranian people. We drink tea with a sugar cube or some traditional sweets. I want to explain more about Persian cold drinks (Sharbat) in the second parts of this article.  

We have 2 kinds of cold and hot drinks. We have lots of cold drinks such as Dough and some sweet beverages that we make them with syrups, sugar, and water and in some of them, we add Chia, Seeds and Hawk we call it Sharbat. Tea is the most popular hot drink of Iranian people. We drink tea with a sugar cube or some traditional sweets. I want to explain more about Persian cold drinks (Sharbat) in the second parts of this article.  

Different kinds of Restaurants in Iran

There are a lot of traditional restaurants we call it (Sofreh-Khaneh) in Iran, barbecued restaurants (Kababi), (Ashkadeh), coffee shops and fast-foods, and also in big cities of Iran such as Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan, Tabriz we have other nations restaurants.

Names of famous Iranian Restaurants

All cities of Iran have some famous restaurants which they are well-known for serving special cuisine. For example in Tehran “Moslem Chelo Kabab” is famous for serving different kind of Kababs and delicious “Baghali Polo” that is located in Old bazaar of Tehran and also we have some nostalgic places for serving “Ash” and “Haleem”, such as “Seyed Mehdi” which is located in Tajrish square for serving these two delicious foods. Let me tell you that we have “Traditional ice cream” and “Faloodeh” that you can find them only in Iran and enjoy eating them here. The “Gilaneh Resturant” is another pleasant restaurant that you can test cuisines of northern cities of Iran. You can find their lots of different foods such as plates of seafoods and all different kababs in their menu. We will talk about all the different restaurants of each city of Iran later in another article with all the details. “Dizi” is another traditional Persian foods in Iran we have lots of traditional restaurants that serve “Dizi” they have known with name of Dizi-Sara.

Iranian Restaurant menu

In Iran, most of the restaurant’s menu lists contains of main meal with side dish and also drinks. Everyone can order them in the restaurant. Some restaurants in Iran have delivery and everyone can order foods at home. Most of the traditional restaurants serves wide verity of foods which includes of different kinds of Kabab’s and rice (polo) and some home-made foods and sometimes you can find sea-foods and fried fish’s and in Iranian restaurant menus, they also have appetizers such as different kinds of soups and “Haleem bademjan”, Different kinds of Salad’s, yoghurts with stewed spinach or eggplants, Torshi, olive and etc. In our menu lists especially our traditional restaurants there are soft drinks, water, dough and beer (non-alcoholic) as a drink.

Iranian Restaurant price list

About the price of foods in our restaurants we can say that mid-level restaurant isn’t so much expensive, and the quality and test of foods is good but we have expensive restaurants too. The quality and test of cuisines are excellent and in their menu, you can find any foods with really attractive decoration that encourage everyone to eat and enjoy its taste. 

If you are interested to one day choise between all these foods, please keep reading this article for choosing the better one. Hope this article can answer most of your questions about Persian cuisines.

The most famous Iranian dishes for foreigners

Most of the time when foreigners travel to Persia, they prefer to have Iranian dishes instead of eating fast-foods and they always look for local foods. Now we want to introduce you the most famous foods which all around the world know them as an Iranian foods. So keep reading and you will understand why they are famous and delicious.

Many of foods ingredients are native to Iran such as walnuts, mint, saffron, pomegranates, and grapes and also Persian rice so most of cuisines have prepared from these spices.

Chelo Kabab (lamb meat with Persian rice)

The most famous Iranian food is Chelo Kabab. There are lots of different Kabab’s that they are really popular among tourists. Iranian master chief usually serves Chelo Kabab with grilled tomato and pepper and saffroned Persian rice, Dough, fresh vegetables. Sometimes they serve Kabab with bread instead of rice. And they serve the kabab with Sangak bread. 

 Dizi (Lamb meat, pea and tomato) 

Dizi (Abgoosht) is original food of Iran. If you want to know more about Iranian food it’s better to go to the one of the traditional restaurant and order this delicious food. The Iranian chief cook Dizi with sheep meat, beans, potatos and tomatos and then serve it with Sangak bread, fresh vegetables, Dough and onion.

Ghormeh sabzi (green herb stew)

Ghormeh sabzi is another famous cuisines or Iran. That all Iranian people love its taste, this delicious stew made of mixture of different herbs, lamb and red beans. The flavor of ghormeh sabzi is sour and full of herbs. We add some dried sour to this mixture and the taste of its bitterness makes ghormeh sabzi unique.     

iranian local food - ghromehsabzi

Zereshk Polo (barberry rice) 

Another Iranian food is Zereshk Polo which we serve most of the time in our ceremonies. We prepare this food with chicken and it contains of barberries, saffron and white rice and this food is really looks pretty and delicious and zereshk polo is the most famous Iranian food around the world.

Chicken Kabab (pieces of chickens)

Iranian people are really meat lover and they use meat in all kinds of their foods. Chicken kabab is another kind of Iranian kabab we cook it over red hot charcoal. This kabab contains of pieces of chicken which is tested with saffron, pepper, salt and sour lemon juice. Usually when we go to the champing we cook this kind of Kabab and we serve it with rice, saffron and grilled tomato which this combination is really delicious.

Fesenjan (pomegranate walnut stew) 

This kind of stew in Iran we cook it at weeding. Fesenjan made of tart pomegranate with chicken or duck. The sauce of this stew contains of walnuts, tart pomegranate and onions that slowly cook to make a very thick sauce. To this sauce we add saffron and cinnamon and little amount of sugar to make its taste sour-sweet.


Tahchin is another food which is really beautiful and also very delicious. It’s interesting to know that tourists know this food as Iranian cake. Iranian people cook this food with rice or meat and eggplant, but the most famous one usually cook with chicken.

We have lots of Iranian foods such as Gheime, Dolmeh, Tabrizi Kufteh and Ash Reshte. All around the world know this foods and tourists when they come to Iran want to test these foods and enjoy it. It’s interesting to know that in Iran there are three kinds of meals that are very interesting for tourists. They are Fresh vegetables we most of the time have one dish of fresh vegetables which is contain of Basil, Parsley, Leek, Radish, green onion as side dish. Tahdig (scorched rice) is the most parts of Iranian food it is a thin golden crispy layer of rice which roast at pot pan and it smell like popcorn and also it have potato chips in it. Usually you can find Tahdig in Iranian food table and everyone loves it so much. Ash Reshteh (noddle and beans) is the other famous food in Iran. Ash Reshteh is kind of soup which is contain of beans, vegetables and spinach most of the time in Iran we serve it with whey or vinegar. Ingesting Ash Reshteh in cold days of winter is really pleasant.   

Now it’s time to talk about drinks that you should try when you travel to Iran. In Iran, the Islamic republic, Alcohol is prohibited so all drinks and beverages are non-alcoholic. We can divide our traditional beverages into cold and warm.

There is nothing more freshly than drinking cold and sweet beverages in the summer of spring time we call it Sharbat.

The traditional drinks of Iran can easily release tiredness from body and freshen up you soon.

If you want to test it you can find them in juice shop or some café around the city. We have several kinds of drinks such as khakshir, tokhme sharbati and sekanjebin. In our juice shops they serves you at plastic glasses of Sharbart and they are inexpensive. By the way in our café shops they offer you a glass of sharbat as well as tea.

So here I want to tell a little more about our drinks for chilling your body.

Sekanjebin with cucumber

The sakenjebin sharbat is one of our traditional easy made drinks of Iran that you can have it at home. We make these sweet drinks with honey or sugar and water with grated cucumber adding mint. Leave at refrigerator to get cold.

Saffron syrup

As you know saffron is the national spice of Iran. We talked about it before. Saffron in our red crimson gold and this is our main spices of foods. The saffron sharbat made of sugar, water and little amount of saffron. We add all of these ingredients and dissolve altogether and with adding some ice cube to get cold also with an adding some mint leaves for its flavor. Then put the sharbat in refrigerate to cold down.

Tokhme sharbati

This kind of traditional sharbat is made of Basil seed. Using Basil is benefical for body according to the Iranian traditional Medication. It has lots amount of Omega-3 and it’s good for preventing blood pressure.  The ingredients of this sharbat contains of basil seed, water, sugar, rosewater and ice cube. By adding these all together into water and dissolve them and let this mixture get cold.  

Khakeshir sharbat

Khakshir sharbat is other popular cold drinks of Iran. This sharbat contains of khakeshir which is red little seeds it’s know herb Sophia it is full of calcium, protein and fiber. This sharbat made of herb seeds, water, sugar or honey and sour lemon juice. Drink it cold.     

Also you can see Iranian food pictures in other articles.
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