Persian Cuisine is like a large food table setting each part of it is coloured with delightful flavours and memorable tastes. While following the baseline of Iranian gastronomy, in each part of this vast land you can have an incomparable food experience. The generous nature of each region presents unique herbs to give a different touch of flavour to foods. Kermanshah is one of the most valuable cities in Iran with a long history and exquisite food culture. Here you can have different types of local food in both urban and rural areas and among the tribes. If you are keen to know more about Kermanshahi cuisine, we take you through some of the most popular dishes in the following, so don’t blink and keep reading.
Kermanshah is a historic city in the west of Iran where numerous attractions like the Bistoon Inscription, Tagh-e Boatan, and the Anahita Temple are located. Kermanshah is well known for its magnificent diversity in terms of ethnicity, religion, and nature. Kurds are the predominant ethnic group in this region and followers of religious sects like Shiism, Sunnism, Christianity, Yarsanism, and Ahl-e Haq live peacefully together. Located among the fertile valleys of the Zagros Mountains and because of its mountainous moderate climate, various agricultural products like wheat, barley, beans, oilseeds, and fruit are cultivated. Besides, there are lots of wildflowers and aromatic herbs growing on the green slopes of the surrounding mountains that are used for cooking dishes.
UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) is a project launched by UNESCO to identify cities that use creativity as a means of sustainable urban development. Believing that food and gastronomy perfectly mirror the creativity of local cultures, Kermanshah was registered as the 37th creative city of gastronomy in 2021. Having about 80 types of food, 11 sorts of bread, 20 types of sweets, and various kinds of snacks, it is not wrong to say that Kermanshah is the paradise of foodies as there is a wide range of delightful dishes. More than a hundred types of food, bread, sweets, and snacks are cooked in this province! A good reason for this wide range of food choices is that Kermanshah is located on the transit road from south to north and east to west. So, you can find obvious traces of different cultures in the Kermanshahi cuisine. Here is a list of nine dishes or pastries you should try in Kermanshah:
Kebab is a very popular favourite food that has a wide range of varieties around Iran. Dande Kebab (lamb ribs kebab) is one of the original and most delicious Kebabs in Kermanshah Province. What makes Dande Kebab special is its exceptional sauce made with tomato paste seasoned with lemon juice, salt and pepper, and of course a generous portion of bloomed saffron. The meat is repeatedly soaked up with this amazing sauce during the cooking and preparation process. This delectable kebab is served both with fresh flat bread and rice.
Khoresh Khalal is the special dish of Kermanshah ceremonies and celebrations. This tasty stew has the magical power to satisfy every taste. It is made with chopped lamb meat, almond slices, saffron, and barberry. You can enjoy this toothsome Khoresh with rice.
Persian cuisine has a large variety of Polo, and rice mixed with herbs, beans, and vegetables. Sib Polo is a simple but appetizing dish made with a great amount of Sibzamini (potato), rice, lamb or poultry meat, saffron, raisin, and date.
Valak Polo is another delicious dish made with a local herb, Valak or Kool that grows during the springs in the green mountains around Kermanshah. Valak Polo is cooked with a good amount of this useful herb and rice and served with chicken, mutton, or fish.
Talking about using regional herbs and vegetables for cooking, Paghare is another popular herb that is used for preparing foods. This aromatic herb has medical benefits in curing stomach-related diseases. Paghare is used in cooking a special dish named Kuku. This egg-based Persian vegetarian dish is a nice healthy choice for vegetarians.
Kermanshah is cold during the winter, that’s why Kermanshahi people cook various kinds of “Ashes” or thick soups on the chilling winter days. Ash-e Abbas Ali is one of the most popular winter dishes of Kermanshah that has a story behind its name. People say that back in time, religious rituals were prohibited by the government and at that critical time, a man named Abbas Ali prepared this kind of thick soup or Ash in the mosque and distributed it to poor people.
A delicious filling of rice, yellow split peas, herbs and meat make a delicate dish as Dolmeh is. The word dolmeh refers to any vegetable that is stuffed such as bell peppers, eggplants, zucchinis, etc but Dolmeh Barg-e Mo is the most popular type of this delicious dish that means stuffed grape leaves in Farsi. Kurdish cooks and mothers are dolmeh experts, so don't miss trying Dolmeh in Kermanshah.
Kalaneh is a kind of stuffed flatbread and is officially a full meal in the Kurdish regions in Iran. In Kermanshah, Kalaneh is filled with a wild springtime plant, and in other seasons traditionally this flatbread is filled with scallion and baked over the sāj, a large, convex griddle over an open fire. Kalaneh is served in a company with fresh doogh, the Persian yoghurt drink.
Kermanshah is famous for three main sweet snacks: kak, nan khormaei, and nan berenji. These tasty and authentic pastries are pleasant to all tastes, so you can buy them as souvenirs for friends and family. Everyone appreciates these gifts for their tempting aroma and unique taste.
By Samaneh Zohrabi