Although Isfahan is famous for its splendid architecture and richness of art and culture, you wont have a thorough experience in this city if you miss trying the local isfahan food which you can only find in Isfahan. So here are some suggestions to help you have a tastier trip!
List of Top Isfahani Food
There are many types of local food to enjoy in Isfahan, but the first name that comes to the mind when someone mentions Esfehani cuisine is Beryan (or as locals pronounce, Beryoon). You might have heard the name of Indian Biryani which is a mixed rice dish containing lots of Indian spices. But the only similar thing between these two is the name!
This delicious meal which is specially to meat lovers’ taste, is some kind of a meat patty with special local seasoning and Jegar Sefid (which means white liver and is another name for lamb lung) fried in special pans and served on a piece of bread (Taftoon and sangak mostly), with a garnish of Jegar Sefid, almond and walnut, to accompany with fresh mixed herbs, onion, and a glass of Doogh (traditional Iranian drink made by yogurt, water and salt and sometimes seasoned by dried mint). Another thing that is served along with Beryan is the broth which can be mixed with whey and crispy bread.
As the meat is quiet fatty, Beryani can be a nice choice for lunch.
You can find the best Beryan in restaurents such as Haaj Mahmoud and Shad which specifically serve Beryan and are called Beryani.
Like other sorts of traditional Iranian Kebabs, Kebab Hosseini is made by lamb or beef. The difference here is that Kebab Hosseini is pieces of meat on wooden skewers that are cooked with tomatoes in a pan, and so unlike the other sorts of Kebab, this one is juicy and covered with tomato sauce. You may have Kebab Hosseini with bread or rice.
You can have a nice meal of Kebab Hosseini at many restaurants at bazaar –in Iran you can always find the best food at bazaars, even though they might not be very fancy looking-. Also Shahrzad, one of the oldest luxurious restaurants of the city, serves a delicious Kebab Hosseini.
Yakhni Torosh is a local food of Isfahan that you may not easily be able to compare with any other food you have tasted before. the main ingredient of this delicious sweet meal, just like the two other ones that were mentioned before is meat (although Yakhni Torosh is mostly made by lamb). But what makes the taste of Yakhni Torosh quiet different is that here the meat is cooked with plum, dried apricot, quince, rice and –yes it may look wired- sugar! Yakhni Torosh is a meal that you may not be able to find in restaurants, but don’t worry, you can have it at Howzak House!
Small meat balls in special sauce is how Gheimeh Rizeh looks like. As each meat ball contains equal amount of chick pea flour and minced meat, and are cooked with tomatoes or tomato paste, they are really soft. Other ingredients of this nostalgic meal are onion, dry mint and some gentle local spices.
The same as Yakhni Torosh, restaurants don’t serve Gheimeh Rizeh. But again, Howzak House does!
Now if you are looking for a notorious meal that doesn’t contain meat and is suitable for vegetarians, Kaleh Joosh is at your service!
Kaleh Joosh (locally pronounced Kaaljoosh or Kaalaa Joosh) is a dish you may find in many regions of Iran. Although the details vary from one city to another, Kaleh Joosh is basically a sort of whey soup served with pieces of crispy bread. Other Isfahani Kaleh Joosh ingredients are onion, walnut, dried mint and spices. You may try Kaleh Joosh at Howzak House and enjoy. (At Howzak, we also add some raisin to the dish, as your digestion system would be happier this way!)
Last but not least are the specific Isfahany desserts which may taste surprisingly odd even for most of the non-Isfahany Iranians! But many of the ones that have tasted these unique combinations were totally satisfied to give them a shot.
Douogh and Gooshfil
Just knowing what Dough and Gooshfil are, may make you uncomfortable to try this dessert for the first time!!! As Dough is a salty drink and Gooshfil is a golden crispy sweet that is made by flour, egg yolk and sugar, fried in oil. But believe it or not, this favorite dessert of Esfehanis’ is one of the most delicious ones according to many. You can find Dough and Gooshfil all over the city in specific Doogh and Gooshfil shops or even some restaurants and tea houses.
Although Khoresht means stew, and again although Khoresht-e-Mast contains lamb, it is not considered a main course; as the other ingredients of it are yougurt (mast in farsi), saffron, sugar, rose water, and sliced almond as garnish. As the ingredients of Khoresht-e-Mast are expensive, it used to be served only for the royal family, but it is more than a century that Khoresht-e-Mast is amongst the popular desserts of the Esfehanis.
You can order Khoresht-e-Mast in most of the restaurants of Esfehan
Unlike the other two, the ingredients of this dessert are quiet familiar! So if you tried and enjoyed it, you can simply make it at home. To do this, you should heat some milk in a pan, add some rice flour (a spoonful for a glass of milk) and whisk constantly. When they are completely mixed, add the same amount of corn starch and continue whisking, bring to just bellow boiling point and then add some sugar, honey, or whatever that may make the combination sweet, and if you want to add more Iranian flavor, a little rose water. Whisk till the Fereni is as thick as it should be (So you should have tried it before! And also when the Fereni is hot it is less thick.)! Your Fereni is ready, bon appétit!
Hafez Street is where you easily can find many Fereni-e-Isfahany shops.