Visiting the motherland and spending time with family and friends is always fun and pleasant, needed actually if I want to be 100% honest.
And if I want to be completely honest, in the literal sense, I have to say that most of these “spending times” and socializations wouldn’t be the same if it wasn’t for the food! I mean, good company and good food sort of go hand-in-hand, right?
So it wasn’t much of a surprise when the first thing that came out of my mouth after landing in Tehran was: “So I hear they’ve turned 30th Tir street to a mini food festival”, and even though I earned a very well-deserved glare from my best friend, mumbling something about a code of friendship, I knew where my loyalty laid and I was adamant to pay a long visit to the food paradise soon.
Said best friend had my time booked with various work-related meetings though (one of the rare downsides of working closely with a friend) and so it wasn’t until the last week of my visit that I got the chance to drive through the busy streets of Tehran and indulge in the noises of the never-sleeping city.
The place was packed at 9:30 pm on a Friday night (Saturday is the first day of the working week in Iran, so, yes, people had to get up in the morning to go to work the next day!) but that’s how we do it in Iran I suppose; I don’t remember sleeping any earlier than 1 am during my visits and funny enough, I always manage to wake up at 7 am sharp without the usual grimaces and whinings!
The street was closed down by the police so no car was allowed passing by, although I did witness a few cars driving through the crowd which made the whole experience a little sour I refused to let any lawbreaker get under my skin and ruin my good time.
The food trucks were lined up on both sides of the narrow street, offering customers their specialty. I walked passed the sandwich and burger trucks (Vancouver offers the best burgers in the world after all) and walked straight to the Iranian food vendors.
The #Ash was spectacular, even though it was probably 28 degrees and I was literally melting under my scarf; but you know, compromises!
Unfortunately, I had to skip the main course since I had already consumed two bowls of Ash Reshteh and a fistful of roasted potatoes. We walked around a lot; there was live music on the side of the street, in a small park adjoined to the Malek National Museum and Library; its spectacle hovering over the area, giving the park a mysterious aura.
We walked around a lot; there was live music on the side of the street, in a small park adjoined to the Malek National Museum and Library; its spectacle hovering over the area, giving the park a mysterious aura.
On the way out to the main street, my eyes landed on a small tea place (or rather, a #Chaikhaneh as we call them) which was adorned with a colourful umbrella (the umbrella itself can be a separate subject for a later discussion).
The traditional spread of the cafe was nostalgic as at least one or two of the items on their display existed in a grandparents’ house.
The copper kettle brought back so many memories and although I’m not going to bore you with them, it’s enough to say that they’re all happy childhood memories.
The owners, a young couple, were all smiles and laughter. Talking to their customers and answering their questions about their business and why they had decided to start a motorcycle cafe in the streets of Tehran; “We called it Dizeh Cafe, because Dizeh means a black horse, and our motorcycle is black; so it seemed like a legitimate name for our business,” the wife recalled when I started speaking to her.
We sat down beside their stall, listening to the stories that were shared, secrets that were revealed about the concept of their traditional black and herbal teas.
Their sour cherry tea was to die for; the sweet and sour texture giving the warm liquid an exotic twist.
While sour cherry tea is not a staple in Iranian house holds, the homemade juice sure is.
You can find an easy read recipe for this refreshing drink here. Sanam gives you a step-by-step guide on how to make your very own sour cherry juice from scratch.