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Kermanshah, a Paradise for Gastronomy

Kermanshah, a Paradise for Gastronomy

Kermanshah, Designated Creative City of Gastronomy

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 gastronomy
Kurdish food culture, Bahman Zarei

Kermanshah, the historic capital among the lush mountains

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.

The nature of Kermanshah on the foot of the Zagros Mountains
The nature of Kermanshah Province on the slopes of the Zagros Mountains, Amin Karimi | TasteIran

Kermanshah, the creative city of gastronomy

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:

Noon berenji pastry of Kermanshah
A traditional confectionary in Kermanshah making nan berenji pastry, Amin Karimi | TasteIran

1. Dande Kebab, the topnotch dish

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.

Kermanshah dadne kabab is a type of kabab
Kermanshah's Dande Kabab is the real paradise for meat lovers, Hanie Rahmati | TasteIran

2. Khoresh-e Khalal, a surprisingly different stew

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.

Khoresh Khelal is the national food of Kermanshah
The savoury stew of Kermanshah, Khoresh Khalal, Unknown

3. Sib Polo, a special lunch

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.

sib polo is a kermanshahi food
Sib Polo with a large portion of potato and herbs, Unknown

4. Valak Polo, a different and tasty choice

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.

Valak polo Kermansha food
Valak Polo with fish, Unknown

5. Kookooye Paghare, what vegetarians should not miss in Kermanshah

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.

kokooye paghare, a Kermanshahi cousin
Kokooye Paghare, an original Kurdish her frittata, Unknown

6. Ash-e Abbas Ali warms your hearth  

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.

Kermanshahi dish Ash e Abbas Ali
Ash-e Abbas Ali is a perfect dish for the cold winters of the Kurdistan region, Unknown

7. Dolmeh entitles the Kurdish culture 

 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.

persian dolmeh
A Kurdish food table is more savoury with dolmeh, Hanie Rahmati | TasteIran

8. Kalaneh, a savoury Kurdish scallion bread

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.

kalaneh flatbread is a kurdish meal
Kalaneh, the Kurdish stuffed bread in Iranian Kurdistan, Hanie Rahmati | TasteIran

9. Kermanshah pastries, what does paradise smell like?

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.

kermanshah is the UNESCO creative city of gastronomy
Kermanshahi cookies and pastries, Unknown


By Samaneh Zohrabi

No part of this content including texts, photos, and itinerary may be republished or distributed in any form or by any means without the prior written permission and referring to TasteIran.
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