Among the huge variety of Persian souvenirs that are available in bazaars in Iran, food items can be a good choice. Persian food souvenirs are not only usually more affordable than handicrafts but also are going to be good reminders of your Persian culinary experience in Iran.
Iranian saffron is one of the most popular Persian food souvenirs and is known as “red gold” due to its high price.
The aromatic flavour and reddish colour that saffron brings into foods is probably the reason that makes this expensive spice a common choice for different types of Persian food. Even though saffron is mostly cultivated in Khorasan provinces in the east part of Iran, you can easily buy it from markets in other parts of Iran too. Saffron is usually sold in different amounts (mostly weighted by grams) and various kinds of packaging; some fancier and more suitable to bring as a Persian souvenir than others.
Iranians are known to love their tea! Persian tea (Chai) is an inseparable part of every Persian gathering. Whether it is the hottest days of summer or the coldest days of winter, if you go to an Iranian’s house you are likely to be welcomed by some freshly brewed black tea.
Iranians sometimes brew tea with other ingredients such as cardamom, cinnamon, saffron, rose petals, etc. Persian tea usually comes with sugar cubes, rock sugar candy or different kinds of Persian sweets.
Persian tea is mostly cultivated in the north of Iran but you can purchase it in shapes of loose leaf tea or tea bags from almost every grocery market of the country. We suggest you purchase a Persian tea set as well to complete the experience of drinking tea Persian style!
Persian dates are one of the major agricultural exports which South of Iran accounts for more than 80 per cent of this whole amount. There are more than a hundred types of Dates with different names that only the locals can tell them apart.
The best way to purchase some high-quality Dates is from local markets in the South of Iran but if it is not possible, some types of Dates are usually available in different markets around the country that you can easily get.
This aromatic liquid with its calming effects is a part of a lot of Persian desserts. Producing rosewater from Persian rose (Mohammadi rose) is called Golabgiri and has a yearly festival that is held in the village of Ghamsar and is one of the most interesting ceremonies in Iran. So if you are visiting Iran around early May to late June, make sure to plan to visit this unique festival.
Just like the last two mentioned items, rosewater can easily be found in markets but if you are willing to get a 100 per cent natural rosewater, it is better to buy it from traditional Bazaars or Iranian traditional herbal stores (Attari).
#Persian smoked rice
Persian rice is one of the most important food items in Iran as it appears regularly in a Persian diet. Persian smoked rice (Berenj-e-doodi) is a type of rice that goes under a smoking process to gets a unique smoked taste.
Smoked rice can be cooked with the regular Persian rice to give it a different taste or you can only use smoked rice and follow the same recipes for Persian rice to have a stronger smoky taste.
This type of rice is mostly found in the northern part of Iran.
The variety of Persian spices and seasonings is huge! Persian foods are usually full of flavours that comes from these different seasonings. The most common spices that you can find in Iranian foods are:
- Turmeric (Zardchoobe)
- Cinnamon (Darchin)
- Sumac (Somagh)
- Cardamom (Hel)
- Angelica (Golpar)
- Cumin (Zireh)
- Garlic powder (Poodr-e-Sir)
- Mixed Persian spices (Advieh)
You can buy These packable Persian souvenirs pre-packaged from grocery stores, or get them from Bazaars in Iran.
Iranian pistachios (Pesteh) is sold both fresh (with an outer softshell) and dried or roasted ( in their usual hard shell). These tasty Persian souvenirs come in different shapes such as long, round, jumbo, etc.
Persian pistachios are known to have the highest quality among other pistachios. Kerman province, especially the cities of Rafsanjan and Sirjan, produce the best pistachios. Buying pistachios from Iran is definitely a bargain since they have relatively cheaper rates comparing to other countries.
In addition to pistachios, other types of nuts are widely available at a good price in Iran. Ajil is a Persian term that describes mixed nuts. This mixture usually contains some types of dried fruit like raisins or apricots as well. along with nuts and dried fruits, roasted seeds can also be found in Ajil. Sunflower, Watermelon, squash and pumpkin seeds are the most popular ones that you can buy individually or mixed in Ajil for a relatively cheap price.
Nuts like cashews, almonds and walnuts can be bought in various flavours and types like roasted, smoked, salted, etc.
The best place to get some high-quality nuts are usually the bazaars but these Persian snacks are also available at nut shops around the cities.
Barberries (zereshk) are an essential ingredient for Iranians. Persians usually mix barberries with rice to make a popular Persian dish that is called Zereshk Polo (Persian barberry rice). These high in Vitamin C grains are usually used dehydrated. Preparing them for foods takes no more than a few minutes and they add a gorgeous colour and a delicious taste to the food. Barberries are also used to garnish some Persian dishes such as Persian Tahchin or rice.
Caviar is one of the most famous Iranian exports. This luxury product comes from a type of fish called Sturgeon; Persian Sturgeons usually live in the Caspian Sea in the North of Iran.
Even though Caviar is one of the Persian food items that you can take as a souvenir, It is not commonly used in Iran and has a high price. It is also not really easy to find some high-quality Caviar but you can probably buy some from Iran’s international airports, 5-star hotels and hypermarkets.