Eating Chelo Kebabs in Tehran
Ruchira highlights an article by Manoj Joshi, editor of The Hindustan Times, where he pens a rambling, light-hearted account of contemporary Tehran. The article is worth reading in full and as Ruchira says, should provide different perspective of a place highlighted in the media as the home of crazed fundamentalists1.
But since I am a person whose pleasure instincts are driven more by the stomach than the brain, I found this section particularly appetizing:
At a restaurant built into the mountain, there are recliners where you can sit picnic-style on rugs and feast on chelo kebabs, grilled fish and khoresht stew served with buttered rice and Iranian naan. For starters there are salads, feta cheese and yoghurt and for accompaniments, doogh (somewhat like our chaanch), non-alcoholic beer and Zam Zam cola. (A friend swears that a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label, delivered at the door costs $42, less than what it costs in New Delhi, but you must be very, very careful.) After the meal and a cup of tea, the hookah is a must and it is not unusual to see hijab-clad beauties puffing away. (link)
I love Persian cuisine and have had chelo kebabs in Kolkata, as well as in Southern California (Orange County has a high population of Iranian immigrants and therefore more authentic Persian food – mentioned briefly in this post). But I can very well imagine the totality of the package – sitting on rugs, tea and hookah after the meal etc.- as a much more rewarding experience.
Sigh ! Wrong stuff to read when you are hungry before lunchtime (and when lunch only holds out promise of a cold Panera Bread sandwich).
: Not saying that crazy fundamentalists are not absent in Iran. As Johsi himself points out:
………small shops and hookah lounges that also serve as restaurants called ghavekhane sonnati, where Tehran youth unwind a little, but always too much for the conservative Basij militia personnel.