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Eating Chelo Kebabs in Tehran

with 4 comments

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).


[1]: 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.


Written by BongoP'o'ndit

February 27, 2007 at 12:06 pm

Posted in Food, Personal, Travel

4 Responses

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  1. Off-topic: Are you and Confused on some “Let’s use the same template” pact? 🙂


    February 27, 2007 at 6:40 pm

  2. Pat: Its the latest template released by and is one of the best functionally and aesthetically.

    You do notice we have different header images at least 😉

    Sadly for us freeloaders, we are stuck with’s policy of not allowing you to tweak the html of the template. For $15 a year, we can play around with the CSS, but that would mean I have to sit down figure out how that works.


    February 27, 2007 at 6:44 pm

  3. Thanks for the link!

    I modified the title of the post a bit since it went up last night (in a hurry). I realized that the older title seemed to negate the point I was wishing to make about the nature of Iran.

    As for your claim of measuring enjoyment in gastronomical units, I recognize the type. I love food myself but I remember more about a place than just what we ate there. My husband on the other hand, has to be reminded what was on the plate for dinner (or lunch) to recall travel experiences. But oftentimes we are in agreement too! Among many mouthwatering memories there was one late evening in Barcelona that I recall vividly for not just what we ate but how it happened. Perhaps I will write about it some day.

    Ruchira Paul

    February 27, 2007 at 7:22 pm

  4. Ruchira: You are welcome; of course, thanks to you for originally pointing out the article (I read very little MSM, so I might have missed it otherwise).

    I usually love to go on a gastro-tourism whenever I am visiting places. You will always find some mention of food in the few travel-related posts I have on this blog.


    February 28, 2007 at 2:59 pm

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