Delicious guide to food in Iran

Olena Petrosyuk

Olena Petrosyuk

Iran is home to a diverse cuisine, with strong culinary distinctions between regions. Different geographical zones across the country as well as influences of multiple cultures have ensured the variety of Iranian culinary traditions. The menus are still dominated by kababs and fast food – but if you are lucky to be invited to Iranian home you can experience a truly unforgettable meal in the atmosphere of splendid hospitality. From our multiple restaurant meals, budget eats and homestay feasts we have selected a few of the most common and delicious Iranian dishes.

iran food guide


  1. Chelo Kabab – the most popular and the most common dish. Usually made of chicken, lamb or mince it is cooked shish-style over hot charcoal and served with a huge portion of chelo (boiled or steamed rice), raw onions and grilled tomatoes on the side.

Iran food: top to try

  1. Kubide Kebab – cheapest version of kebab made of minced mutton, breadcrumbs and onions ground together.

Iran food: top must try dishes

  1. Salted fruits. Think salted jam with whole bits of fruits.

Iran food

  1. Kask o bademjan and Fesenjun. Aubergine with meat and one of the most famous of Iranian dishes – roast chicken with sauce of pomegranate juice, walnuts, eggplant and cardamon. Yummy.

Iran food: top to try

  1. Khoresht e-mast. Khoresht is thick meaty stew with vegetables and nuts. Khoresht-e mast – arguably a much weirder variety of the common dish, made from a combination of lamb, yogurt, egg, saffron, sugar and orange peel.

Iran food: top to try

  1. Khorak morgh. Pieces of roast chicken served in a tomato sauce.

Iran food: top to try

  1. Qeema – lentils stew with mutton and rice, a common dish made during Ashura, often given away for free in mosques.

Iran food: top to try

  1. Ash-e jo – soup of pearl barley, a common meal starter.

Iran food: top to try

  1. Kashk. Salted yogurt balls made from drained sour milk or drained yougurt – a tasty snack in Iranian homes.

Best Iranian foods

  1. Shrimps cooked in spicy sauce, a homemade variety from Persian Gulf.

Iran food: top must try dishes

  1. Lavash, flat and thin variety of bread, often consumed for breakfast.

Iran food: top must try dishes

  1. Ranginak – typical Persian desert made from dates blended with sugar, walnuts, flour and butter.

Iran food: top must try dishes

  1. Steamed beetroot, boiled beans, roasted potato – street food in Iran is definitely uncommon.


  1. Salad – a basic, prefabricated variety served with sauce. Iranians are not too big on salads – so this is as good as it gets.


  1. Dugh – similar to Turkish ayran, churned milk or yogurt mixed with water. For the best taste order dugh in a restaurant: unlike the one found in the bottles it’s made fresh, uncarbonated and with chopped herbs.


  1. Mast – yogurt, a common addition to the meal. Especially popular variety – shallot yogurt, usually consumed with fresh lavash.


  1. Falude – a sorbet made out of rice flour, grated fresh fruit and rose water.

Iran food: top to try

  1. Chelo mahi – fried fish on rice, a common dish on the Persian Gulf coast.

Iran food: top must try dishes

  1. Chay – the most common drink in Iran. The country does not have an established coffee tradition, so black tea is served nearly everywhere.


  1. Ghand – chunks of saffron sugar. It is customary to dip it in the tea and place in between front teeth before sucking the brew through it.


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