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Food and Drinks

Food and Drinks Food and Drinks
Standards of food hygiene are mostly satisfactory in all categories of eating-houses, except for Iranian sausages which can cause stomach problems. In general most Iranian cooking is healthy and nutritious, and you shouldn't have much problem in keeping to a balanced diet. At street stalls it is advisable only to eat hot food that you have watched being cooked.

All provinces of Iran have their own dishes and specialties. However, the national dish is rice prepared in several special ways and served in vast helpings with almost every main dish, and very few of the main dishes would be considered complete without it. Iranian rice from the rainy plains of Mzandaran and Guilan is considered by many - not only Iranians - to be one of the world's best, but much of the rice sold in the country today is imported.

Chelo is rice prepared in several stages over 24 hours, boiled and steamed and served separately, while polo is rice cooked with the other ingredients. Rice in general is berenj. The rice is always fluffy and tender, never sticky and soggy. Often the cook will steam chelo rice with yogurt or an egg yolk (or a thin layer of lavish bread) to make a crunchy golden crust (tah dig) at the bottom of the pan, which is broken up and served on to of the rest of the rice. Saffron is very frequently used to flavor and color rice.

Soft drinks are sold in bottles. Tea served in see-through glasses (never with milk) is an integral part of hospitality in Iran. Coffee is not widely available and is usually expensive.

Fruits are served almost at all kinds of ceremonies and occasions. Second to tea, seasonal fruits are another integral part of hospitality.

Every province has its own specialty for making sweets, biscuits and candies. Sweets made of dates, rice and many other fruits and substances are very common in Iran and people appreciate good sweets and tourists during their stay in Iran would develop a taste for quality of sweets and would soon recognize the origin of each one. Traditionally Iranians drink cold water with their meals.

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