Top 3 Iranian Foods You Should Try Now

Jun 16, 2016

At the beginning of this year, we were all jumping for joy because importation restrictions on Persian rugs were lifted, and we were able to begin importing again for the first time in almost seven years. Yes, seven! Being able to call up the Iranian rug bazaars and tell them what we’re looking for (and finding it!) has been a real treat. In addition to the importation of rugs, Iranian foods may now be imported as well. Just as Iranian rugs are some of the best in the world, there are a few culinary items that they are known for as well which you should try.

1. Pistachios

If you’re nuts for nuts, you really must try the Iranian version of Pistachios. They are a bit longer and skinnier than American pistachios (yes, I too question the tastiness of anything that has a skinny attribute), but I swear these things are quite delicious. There is a certain je ne sais quoi about Iranian pistachios, as if the very ground they were grown in were saltier or something. But, anyway, if you’re looking for something delicious to munch, go buy yourself a handful or two.

2. Saffron

I’m just wild about Saffron, how about you? This amazing, more-expensive-than-gold spice comes from the stigmas of the small purple crocus flower. It adds a golden yellow color to your cooking dishes and also an incredible taste and smell. Saffron is used in everything from rice to ice cream in Persian cooking
(and Spanish paella too!), and so much of the saffron available in the United States is like “crappy, yellow food coloring, ” says an anonymous Persian cook I know. If you have a favorite recipe that calls for saffron, and you’ve yet to try Iranian saffron, you should. Your taste buds will thank you.

3. Caviar

Like Champagne, there are lots of types of caviar and caviar-copycats, but foodies will tell you that the bestest, most-realest caviar comes from the Caspian sea. And, what body of water borders Iran on the north? Ding ding ding! Iranian caviar is delicious because the fish are raised in the brackish waters of the Caspian sea, whereas other caviar producers raise their fish in freshwater that has salt added to it. If caviar is your thing, you’d be remiss to miss out on this deliciousness.

If you’re wondering where you can get these goodies, check out Yekta and Zam Zam, two Iranian supermarkets that have been serving the local area for quite some time. My father often reminds me of the days when the only Middle Eastern food he could purchase was pita bread, once a week at the Giant near the National Cathedral. How times have changed. Now you can buy pretty much everything, including Iranian yummies!

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