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Five tradition Persian foods you have to try in Tehran

Iranians are known for their delicious food and welcoming hospitality. These are the dishes you have to order while in Iran, or try if you are lucky enough to be invited for a home cooked dinner!

1. Shashlik Kebab

This is a real delicacy, often the most expensive item on the menu, but worth the money. It comprises of succulent lamb chops, often served with bread, pickles and garnish. You can also order Mast, which is a type of thick yoghurt to be eaten with the kebab. Shandiz Garden Restaurant in Tehran is the go to place for Shaslik Kebab, known for its unlimited servings.

2. Ghormeh Sabzi

This is the Iranian national dish, known as Iranian herb stew. Ghormeh is the Persian word for stew, and Sabzi is the Persian word for ‘greens’. This is a delicious dish, often served with lamb, and can be eaten with either bread or rice. This is an important dish for Iranian people, and is traditionally served to family member’s after they have been away for a long time.

3.Zeresk Polo Ba Morgh
My personal favourite; it’s crispy roast chicken served with rice mixed with sweet butter and Zeresk (a small dried, red berry.)

To make it extra special part of the rice can also be flavoured with saffron and cooked to make a tadeek. Tadeek is a Persian speciality where they intentionally burn the bottom of the rice a little to make it crispy and slightly chewy. A very delicious and simple dish.

Abgoosht, also known as Dizi, is an interesting dish, that comes in a boiling clay pot filled with whole potatoes, chickpeas and pieces of lamb. Traditionally you pour out the liquid in a separate dish, and drink it with flatbread crotons.

Then you use the metal masher, to smash the remaining ingredients together in the clay pot to make a stew type consistency and then enjoy.

Best eaten in the outdoor restaurants on Darband Mountain, North Tehran. On the walk up the mountain there are numerous restaurants where you can sit on Persian rugs next to waterfalls and relax, eat and smoke shisha pipes.

5. Bastani sonnati
This is Persian traditional ice cream, and it has a sweet, unique taste, and can become highly addicti ve! A truly delicious ice-cream made from Persian ingredients such as saffron, rose water and pistachios, mixed with the occasional frozen flake of clotted cream.

A delight at the end of any meal, or worth a trip to the specialised ice cream stalls in Tajrish Market, Tehran.

6. Bonus Item – Kale Pache!
An item only the bravest of you will try, this dish consists of a boiled sheeps head, including brains, cheeks, eyes, tongue, as well as hooves in a shallow bowl of broth. Traditionally eaten in the early hours of the morning, and to be found only in speciality Kale Pache restaurants which light up the streets from 3am to dawn.
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Five interesting things to do in Tehran

1. Golestan Palace
A jewel of Tehran; the palace and gardens of the former Shah of Iran. Golestan Palace was used as a centre for power and art since the Safavid Dynasty, and now consists of a group of Royal buildings displayed as museums and acres of tranquil gardens.

You could easily spend a day here wandering through the King’s courts, and visiting each of the nine museums to gain a glimpse of the extravagances and marvels of the palace under the formerKing’s rule. No trip to Tehran would be complete without a visit.

2. The Holy Defence Museum
If you are looking for an interesting way to spend half a day in Iran, The Holy Defence Museum will certainly provide you with that. This is an impressive museum, set on 21 hectares of land, that takes you through the entire history of the 1980 Iran-Iraq war.

You are able to walk through the timeline of events, displayed in giant air hanger spaces, and gain a fascinating perspective on the events.

This is a well put together museum, with a large variety of displays, surreal artwork and sensory effects, that take you back in time to one of the most important events in Iran’s modern history. English speaking guides available.

3. Contemporary Art Museum
A place for art lovers, located next to Park e-Laleh in downtown Tehran, this museum holds one of the greatest collections ofIranian modern and contemporary art. A truly fascinating place to visit, where traditional Persian art is displayed amongst its Western counterparts such as Vincent van Gogh.

In a city teaming with pop up art galleries, come here for a concentration of rotating exhibitions, films and performance art.

The museum is currently showing the world renounced Parviz Tanavoli, The Lions of Iran Exhibition, a fantastic display of abstract, symbolic lions.

4. Skiing!
A little-known fact is Tehran’s amazing Ski resorts; Shemshak, Dizin, Darbandsar and Tochal, all just a short drive from Tehran. During the winter, you can find powdery mountains to rival any European ski slope.

If you are a fan of skiing, why not ride out your next ski season in Tehran, with a multitude of boutique hotels located on sight, and over 4 resorts to choose from surrounding Tehran, you can spend the entire Winter discovering new runs. All ski equipment can be rented at the resorts and a day ski pass is around the equivalent of £10.

5. Azadi Tower
Literally meaning Freedom Tower, Azadi Tower is the modern symbol of Iran. You will likely drive past this landmark on your way into Tehran from the airport, though it is worth a visit in itself as, underneath the tower lies an art museum displaying artefacts of Iranian cultural and national heritage. If you are lucky, you may also be able to attend a Persian modern music or comedy performance, in its underground theatre!
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