With its lovely atmosphere and historical and cultural attractions like the nostalgic Vakil Bazaar, the Pink Mosque and many lush gardens, Shiraz is one of the most charming cities of Iran. Apart from its attractions, what makes this city more amazing are the mild heavenly weather especially during spring and early autumn, and the hospitality of its locals. Because of its location, Shiraz has always been a hub for people traveling or migrating from other regions like Bushehr, and Khuzestan and even Bakhtiari and Qashqai nomads, therefore in Shiraz you’ll witness a diversity in the culture and society, which has led to the rich food culture and diverse cuisines of Shiraz. Below are some of the most famous and top foods to try in Shiraz while you visit this amazing city.
1. Kalam Polo (cabbage with rice)
Kalam Polo is the most famous cuisine or the signature food of Shiraz, which is made with kohlrabi or curly kale cabbage, minced lamb meat, rice and aromatic vegetables. The minced lamb meat is mixed with onion and spice and then fried as meatballs. Then it is cooked with the boiled rice and fried cabbage for 2-3 hours. Kalam Polo is usually served with tasty Salad Shirazi, which is finely chopped cucumber, tomato, onion, mixed with verjuice and also homemade pickles. If you are a fan of foods cooked with cabbage, then Kalam Polo will definitely be your favorite. A key to a tasty Kalam Polo is adding some lemon juice to the meatballs after frying them.
Kalam Polo - Top foods to try in Shiraz
2. Ghambar Polo (Ghanbar Polo)
Ghambar Polo or Ghanbar Polo might not be as popular as kalam Polo, but it is an older cuisine in the history of Shiraz. Shirazi people used to cook and serve this food in their fancy parties and special ceremonies. Ghambar Polo is made with meatballs (made with minced meat, spice, onion, cheakpea flour), rice, chopped walnut and almond, raisin and saffron and has a sweet-sour taste. Ghambar Polo is best served with Salad Shirazi or sour pomegranate sauce.
Ghambar Polo - Top foods to try in Shiraz
3. Do Piazeh Aloo
Meaning two onions and potato, Do Piazeh Aloo is a vegetarian and easily cooked food of Shiraz which is usually served as dinner. It is believed that this food is originaly and Indian food and its recipe is transferred to Shiraz through Bushehr Port. The ingredients of this simple food include fried onions chopped potato, aromatic spice, and tomato paste. Today, this food has found its place on the menu of modern cafés as a snack, so you can try this food in Shiraz.
Do Piazeh Aloo - Top foods to try in Shiraz
4. Ash-e Kardeh
Kardeh is a wild plant with benefits like reducing blood pressure and blood sugar and has a sour taste. This plant grows on the foot hills of Zagros Mountain Range in Kohgiluyeh and Boyr Ahmad Province and in west of Fars Province. Ash-e Kardeh is a kind of Ash (Iranian soup) which is cooked during winter in different parts pf Fars Province and Shiraz city. Apart from Kardeh, this special Ash is made with rice, onion, fenugreek, verjuice, and spice. In winter and autumn, you can find and try this tasty Ash as a street food by the streets of Shiraz.
5. Shekar Polo
Shirazi cuisine is known for sweet foods and Shekar Polo (meaning: Sweet rice or Sugar rice) is one of the most famous ones which usually has lovers or haters! This food is made with saffron rice which is cooked with sugary syrup to be sweetened, and then it is topped with chopped almond and pistachio, barberries, and sweetened orange peel. Shekar Polo is usually served in formal ceremonies like wedding parties and religious occasions like Muharram and is served with chicken or lamb. But the more popular combination is Shekar Polo and Khoresht-e Gheymeh, which is a famous Iranian stew made with spilt pea.
Shekar Polo - Top foods to try in Shiraz
6. Havij Polo
Havij Polo is a traditional cuisine of Shiraz; however, it is made in other cities of Iran, too. This food is made with carrot sweetened rice, minced lamb meat, and aromatic spice like cinnamon and saffron which make every Iranian food much more delicious. Before serving Havij Polo you can top your dish with some barberries or chopped pistachio and almond.
Kalam Polo - Top foods to try in Shiraz
7. Koofteh Hooloo
Literally meaning Peach Meatball, Koofteh Hooloo is a super delicious traditional food in Shiraz. This meatball is made with minced lamb, chickpea flour, carrot, egg, spice and onion and it is filled with raisi, barberry, walnut, and fried onion. Then the meat ball is slow-cooked in a sauce made with tomato paste, and aromatic vegetables. The reason why they call it Hooloo is because of its size and despite what many think, peach is not an ingredient.
Koofteh Hooloo - Top foods to try in Shiraz
Ranginak is a dessert made in Shiraz and southern cities of Iran, and is an inseparable part of the dining table of ceremonies in Shiraz. This healthy dessert is made with dates filled with walnut. Then they put the dates in a dish and they cover each layer with a sauce made with roasted wheat flour, melted butter, and cinnamon.
Ranginak - Top foods to try in Shiraz