It is true that unlike the Southeast Asian countries, Iranian people are very conservative when it comes to food. Most people will only enjoy foods that are very similar to what they’ve had before. Kabab koobideh, Joojeh kabab or Ghormeh sabzi! But it doesn't mean that you can't find unusual foods here. Take a look at our list of the most unusual dishes in Iran that you must try when you are there!

Ash-e Yakh

If you're planning to travel to Iranian Azerbaijan region in the summer and would like to experience a totally different food, we suggest you try Ash-e Yakh

This local food is made of sour yoghurt, ice cubes, fresh local vegetables, rice, garlic and spices. In order to prepare this food local experts will boil fresh vegetables, rice and spices then let it cool down and add sour yoghurt and ice cubes.

  • Ash eYakhismadeofsouryoghurt,icecubes,freshlocalvegetables,rice,garlicandspices.

Barre Toodeli

Barre toodeli is one of the least known rare foods of Iranian food culture. Barre toodeli is an unborn fetus of sheep or cow which the butcher will pull out from those animals prior to slaughtering end office to rich elite guests. You can find Barre toodeli in some old fashioned butcheries and get it deep fried or barbequed.

Those who have eaten this, believe it is one of the most delicious foods!
It might be interesting to know that parts of this unborn fetus is also used to make some parts of an Iranian musical instrument called Taar.

  • Barre toodeli is one of the least known rare foods of Iranian food culture.

Del, Jigar and Gholveh

Del, Jigar and Gholve (Heart, Liver and Kidney) kabobs are a popular street food in Iran. Making your way up the winding, mountainous streets of Darband in Tehran, one of the most common cuts of meat that you'll see being skewered in the plethora of eateries is jigar. If you really want to try best Jigar in Tehran we suggest you to go to Bahman sq in Tehran.

Dolme Sirabi

Dolme Sirabi (Tripe Dolmade) is one of the local traditional foods unique to the industrial city of Arak in central Iran. Ingredients include split peas, rice, fresh aromatic vegetables like tarragon, cilantro and dill. Just like vine dolmades, white and clean tripe is filled with minced meat, onion, rice and vegetable and steamed in a sweet and sour sauce.

Tripe is a good source of vitamin B and its soft texture and taste combined with sweet and sour sauce satisfies a lot of fussy yet adventurous eaters.

Khalle Pache

You can not get to know Iranian cuisine without trying “Kale Pache”, an Iranian classic dish, made with a sheep's entire head and its hooves. Some consider it as an energetic breakfast while others avoid it because of rich amount of cholesterol. Perhaps, firstly it seems a bit frightening when different parts of sheep's head including brain, eyes and tongue are served in your plate. But the taste of it which is seasoned with lemon and cinnamon may change your former perception. Cooking Kaleh Pacheh seems so easy. Just collect the heads and feet of sheep and then mash, cook and treat as per the recipe. However, it is not as simple as it looks. Kaleh pacheh , in most restaurants, is served from 3 am until midnight.

SIRAB O SHIRDOON

Sirab Shirdoon is an Iranian dish made with lamb’s Tripe, Chickpeas, Onion, Garlic, Salt, pepper and Saffron. Tripe is the lining of the stomach of a cow or sheep. Should you want to give it a try, keep in mind that tripe requires a long and slow cooking time of at least 12 hours if you want it to be tender. Tripe also is eaten in some other parts of the world like in the Eastern European cuisine.

ASHPAL

Ashpal (roe) is the eggs from female fishes. roe is used both as a cooked ingredient in many dishes and as a raw ingredient. In the Caspian provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran, several types of roe are used.

Called ashpal or ashbal, roe is consumed grilled, cured, salted, or mixed with other ingredients. If salted or cured, it is consumed as a condiment. If used fresh, it is usually grilled, steamed, or mixed with eggs and fried to form a custard-like dish called “Ashpal Kuku”.

Besides the much sought-after caviar, roe from kutum (also known as Caspian white fish or Rutilus frisii kutum), Caspian roach (called “kuli” in Gileki), bream (called “kulmeh” in Gileki), and Caspian salmon are highly prized. Roe from carp is less common and barbel roe is also occasionally used.

  • Ashpal(Eshpel) Guilanfood Iran

Tahdig

WARNING: It would disappear faster than you could even make it to the table. If you blink, it will be gone and simply no leftovers!

The word tahdig is Persian, meaning “bottom of the pot.” It’s a layer of crispy rice that develops on the bottom of the pot while the rice is cooking. It’s crunchy, delicious, and considered the “prized” part of the rice.

The talent of an Iranian cook is often measured by his or her ability to create a quality tahdig.

  • Tahdig (Persian food)

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9 replies
  1. Unknown Traveler
    Unknown Traveler says:

    @Angela
    As a foreigner who has tasted most of south Middle eastern (including Iranian food as I have spent more than 7 years in Iran), I must say that your statement is false!
    On the other hand what do you eat on your daily life? Potatoes? mash-potatoes? french fries and burgers? Do you call these Western food and modern?
    If that is western-food then I am sure I can speak on behalf of many other open minded people that unlike you, We'd love to eat third-world country food for the rest of my life having french fries and burgers considered as modern food!
    @To some others
    As some people already mentioned and the title also says, these are UNUSUAL FOOD! so it is not the original Iranian/Persian cuisine that people eat in Iran on daily basis! Just like if you travel to South Korea or Cambodia! You won't be able to see the “dog meat” served in every restaurant! You have to go to specific part of the country to see/eat that specific food!

    Hope you get it guys, people eat anything and it has nothing to do with politics, your mom may like a food that you don't! so don't blame it on the country!

    Reply
  2. bsr
    bsr says:

    When I visited Iran I found half of these dishes, and thoroughly enjoyed them. Ash-e-yahk particularly in the northwest is very popular, readily available and thoroughly delicious. Such meats that are considered offal like hearts, kidney and liver are readily available, widely consumed and when barbecued also thoroughly delicious. Kale Pache I found in a lot of cities, ate it many times, and found the special kale pache eateries to be particularly busy around breakfast time. The food is hearty, and these vendors were always busy with locals. Usually kale pache is prepared overnight and eaten early, until there is none left.. then the establishment closes. Some of these dishes I never encountered, by the country is wide, and the cuisine differs greatly across the land. But every meal I ate, including some of those above were utterly fabulous. Perhaps some very affluent Iranians have never discovered these dishes, but they exist, taste great, and should be tried. But one thing is for sure, Iranian food is not sour. It’s quite aromatic and subtle on the palet.

    Reply
  3. Iolanda Andrade
    Iolanda Andrade says:

    My opinion is specifically for Angela.Not being Iranian but having been to Iran several times allows me to vehemently contradict your opinion. Firstly because Iran is not a Third World country … on the cintrary therefore your observation is one that should not wven be considered. You are the one who seems to be “sour” by having expressed your opinion the way you did.
    Travel to Iran first .. and write about it only then …

    Reply
  4. Mohammad
    Mohammad says:

    Hi
    im from iran .
    This foods are very good and delicious.
    But I did not try them all and I think iran has many delicious dishes.

    Reply
  5. Helen
    Helen says:

    Hi.I’m persian and i want to say people here don’t eat that stuff.i didn’t know we have these foods but trust me these foods are unusual and creepy here as well.
    Our main food is rice not disgusting foods.

    Reply
  6. Grace
    Grace says:

    That's a blanket statement. There are so many different cuisines throughout Iran, so you can't say all are sour. Which specific dishes do you think are sour? Also, don't refer to food as third-world. That is a political term, and unless we are talking about GMOs, subsidies, or the like, politics don't apply here.

    Reply
    • Ali reza
      Ali reza says:

      Google Translator: As an Iranian, I say to all that Iran's food is of the best quality in the world, and it is very tasty and the food that is listed above is not well-liked by the Iranians and it only has its own fans.

      Reply

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