A must-have during the frigid winter months, this healthy and hearty soup features noodles with various herbs and legumes, and is topped with a mixture of garlic and onions fried with dried mint. The make or break of âsh is kashk, a salty, fermented whey product, that is swirled on top. As you wind your way along mountainous Darband in northern Tehran, stop for a satisfying bowl that’ll be sure to fill you up and replenish your energy.
For some, beets hold no allure, but this root vegetable is a beloved winter snack for Iranians. Scattered across Tehran are vendors selling peeled, steaming-hot, boiled beets, neatly stacked according to size. Choose your bowl size, and the beets will be diced up before your eyes. Find a comfy bench and enjoy these street snacks while they are hot.
Pick up a bowl of bâghâli while you’re getting some beets as these two are usually sold side-by-side. The boiled fava beans are topped with vinegar and seasoned with golpar, ground angelica seeds, and require a bit of skill to eat. Use your teeth to peel back the black line, squeeze the bottom to pop the soft center out, and discard the thick skin. Iranians can be seen huddled together sharing a bowl and having a chat.
Jigar, liver kabob, is a cherished cut of meat served at local joints called jigaraki. Just say how many skewers you want, and the meat will be grilled up and served within minutes, blanketed in fresh bread. For the more adventurous, kidney and heart kabobs are also an option at jigaraki, but liver is the delicacy of choice. It’s no wonder Iranians also call their loved ones jigar, the ultimate term of affection.
Street corn is an Iranian tradition. Ears of corn are grilled over charcoal and then dunked into a bucket of salty water for a few seconds. The warm water and hot corn cause the water to evaporate quickly, leaving behind salty goodness around the blackened corn. The tasty snack is commonly served in the winter and especially around parks in the summer. Once you try corn the Iranian way, you won’t want it any other way.
In the spring, greengages land in the city to the applause of Tehranis, who have patiently awaited their arrival for a year. These tiny green plums pack a tart punch, so a sprinkling of salt balances the acidity. After the first bite, add salt, take another bite, and repeat. You’ll be hooked on their crispy and tangy juiciness, but be careful because eating too many might give you a stomach ache … or so they say.
Originally from the southern parts of Iran, samosas have worked their way to the capital city as a tasty street food commonly found in the bazaars. Filled with ground beef, potatoes, onions, parsley, and spices, these triangles of lavash bread (soft, thin flatbread) are then deep-fried and wrapped in paper, similar to the South Asian varieties. A great pick-me-up as you explore the maze-like bazaars, samboseh gives you a taste of southern Iran.