Just like its historical places, Esfahan has a great variety of traditional foods. Recipes that are currently present in the region’s cuisine have mostly gotten their background from the Safavid era. To make your travel experience complete, trying the traditional meals of the region you are visiting is a must. Here is a list of dishes you must try in Esfahan:
Without a doubt, Beryan is the most famous dish of Esfahani cuisine. Beryan or Beryoon, as called slangly, is made of lamb meat and a small amount of lamb lung meat. The meat is baked with onion, spices and dried herbs. The baked meat is then shaped into a circle and fried. It looks just like a hamburger but the texture is not compacted and it collapses once you put your fork through it.
This dish is served on a piece of traditional bread with a great amount of saffron, butter and nuts as garnish. It is best to have Beryan with a fresh herb platter and fresh onions. Just like any other Persian traditional meal, Doogh (Persian yogurt drink) would be a good choice for drink.
Places in which Beryan is made and served are called Beryani. Haj Mahmoud Shafaat and Azam Beryanies are two of the most popular ones in Esfahan.
Haleem, a thick kind of stew, is a Persian food that comes in a variety of tastes and ingredients. You can find different kinds of Haleem in almost every city of Iran. Two of Haleem’s most popular forms come from Esfahan.
Haleem-Bademjan or Haleem with eggplants is a meal high on all the substances. It is made of meat, eggplant, wheat, lentils and Kashk (Kashk is a dairy product which looks like whey but tastes salty like feta cheese) . So it’s high in protein, fiber, carbohydrates and energy. Haleem- Bademjan is usually served for lunch or dinner. It is also very popular during Ramadan as it is high on energy.
Haleem-Shir is another kind of Haleem made with milk. Meat and wheat are also the main ingredients of this kind of Haleem. However Haleem-Shir is made with sugar and cinnamon and is mostly served for breakfast.
Both Haleem-Bademjan and Haleem-shir are served either alone or with bread.
#3 Ash Shole-Ghalamkar
Ash, which is like soup but thicker, is popular all around the country and almost every region has its own traditional form. One of Esfahan’s traditional Ash is called Shole-Ghalamkar. It is
made of meat, grains and special herbs. Just like Haleem, this Ash is also popular in other cities of Iran.
#4 Khoresh-Mast (yogurt stew)
Although it is called a stew, Khoresh-Mast is a dessert in Esfahan. The ingredients would blow your mind, as it consists of lamb neck meat, yogurt, saffron and nuts.
The meal has a soft, velvety texture and somewhat a sweet taste. Due to its expensive ingredients, Khoresh-Mast is a luxurious dessert served in ceremonies and special occasions.
Doogh, a sour yogurt drink, alongside Gooshfil, a very sweet kind of pastry, is a very popular midday snack in Esfahan. The combination might sound weird at first. But having them together perfectly balances the sour and sweet taste of one another.
Edalat is well known for serving the best Doogh-O-Gooshfil in Esfahan.
#6 Gaz (Persian nougat)
Gaz is the most famous souvenir of Esfahan. This Persian nougat is made of Gaz-Angabin, a sweet honey like substance which is extracted from a plant of the same name.
Different amounts of nuts that are used in Persian nougat are represented by a percentage given to the product. Persian nougat with 30 to 40 percent nuts is the most popular among others. Two main nuts to make Persian nougat are pistachios and almonds.
#7 Goosht-O-Loobia (meat and beans)
This meal is made of meat, beans, onions, potatoes, rice and special herbs. After the main ingredients are baked, you should mash them gently using a hand masher. Mashing manually results in a softer, more elastic and better tasting meal.
You can have Goosht-O-Loobia and other Esfahan traditional foods at Chah Haj Mirza.
#8 Mash-O-Ghomri (kohlrabi and mung beans Haleem)
This meal is a kind of Haleem made with kohlrabi and mung beans, as well as meat, rice, herbs and onions. Just like other kinds of Haleem, this one should also be mashed for the ingredients to combine perfectly.
This Haleem is almost always made at home and you won’t be able to find it on a restaurant menu.
Moshti means fist in Persian, and this fist-sized kabab is shaped inside one’s fist. Unlike other common Persian Kebabs, Kebab-Moshti is not barbequed on fire, but gets fried in a pan.
The texture of this meal is very soft due to the chickpea flour in it. It is also a bit sweet as it has a tiny amount of sugar. Grounded meat and special spices are other ingredients of this meal. To give the meal a sour-sweet taste, Kebab-Moshti is usually served with a dressing made of vinegar.
Golabetoon Dizisara is a good choice to try Kebab-Moshti and other Esfahan foods.
Most of Esfahan’s traditional main courses are only a part of people’s daily life. Therefore you can’t usually find them on the regular restaurant menu. However there are famous places in the city in which you can enjoy a great meal of Esfahan culture, mostly from the list above.