Persian food is one of the best cuisines to choose if you are dining with your friends, family or for large groups. Whether one is foodie and a fan of an ethnic food, either you love pastry or vegan. There’s something for everyone on an extensive Persian restaurant menu. Iran’s cuisine is actually not geographically limited. You can also find similarities in other cuisine across Central Asia and other part of Middle East. Primarily, Persian cuisine is based on the idea of hot and cold – do not be confused of a spicy or not spicy. Instead their food would create a sort of energy in the body or perhaps may have a cooling effect.
But first, allow us to share with you the history of Persian food and the role of meat in a Persian Cuisine.
Meat varies from pork, poultry, lamb, beef and fish is very famous in ancient Iran. Though pork went by the wayside since Islam came to Iran and meat was more prevalent for those in the upper classes.
Lamb meat is primarily consumed in Iran and beef was not that popular in the Middle East traditionally. As a matter of fact, thousands years ago Persian royalty would look down upon the Europeans for having to eat such a poor meat. However in the mid-20th century, beef became prevalent in Iran and spread across the country. Pork become less popular in Iran due to disallowed in Islam or Judaism. Needless to say it did not exist in pre-revolutionary Iran. However, Iran’s Christians also allowed to have pork and produced sausages, and other products made of pork. Yet, in return its popularity is prevented from spreading.
The term for pork products in Farsi came from their European roots such as “kalbas” for mortadella bologna – a Russian term, and susis (French) for sausage. Knowing, eating processed sandwich meats was a status symbol, yet it quickly became known in Iran and favourite of Persians in the 1960’s. The deli meats were preserved after revolution in the sense that any pork products were replaced by non-pork substitutes.
Chicken meat in Iran was a delicacy but with the intervention of Western culture, the chicken farming becomes more common and as a result the eating of chicken was spreading. Example, a jujeh kabob that we know today with chicken breast was not common in Iran until after Persian diaspora become known in the West. Jujeh kabob was done with Cornish hens.
Fish meat was not traditionally popular outside of the coastal areas. But it has changed over time and is become popular to Persians.
Also if you are vegan traveling to Iran, you have to consider learning the names of vegetarian dishes at the same time the saying “I am a vegetarian” in Farsi so you may able to request them and easily understood. Again, regardless of what and when you prefer to eat – allow your curiosity to guide the culinary dimension of your travel through Iran and will likely find yourself enjoying the food and culture of a place while traveling.