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Indulge in Culinary Excellence: Top 8 Foods to Try in Shiraz

Indulge in Culinary Excellence: Top 8 Foods to Try in Shiraz

Apart from being a cultural city with many ancient attractions and Islamic monuments, the wonderful city of Shiraz is one of the gastronomy cities of Iran with many tasty foods. Foods to try in Shiraz are so diverse while the foods you can choose to eat in Shiraz are so unique.

October 21, 2021

Foods to try in Shiraz

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 to try in Shira. It is the first food to try in Shiraz that everyone would suggest. Kalam Polo Shirazi, is made with kohlrabi or curly kale cabbage, minced lamb meat, rice and aromatic vegetables, such as chives and tarragon. The minced lamb meat is mixed with grated onion and spices 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 sour grape juice or verjuice. It is also being served with 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

Kalam Polo - Top foods to try in Shiraz

2. Ghambar Polo (Ghanbar Polo)

The next food to try in Shiraz would be Ghambar Polo or Ghanbar Polo. It 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. It is maybe the most luxury of all foods to try in Shiraz. Ghambar Polo is made with meatballs (made with minced meat, spices, grated 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. This is a really tasty and nutritious food to try in Shiraz. You might find another food in other cities of Iran which is similar to Ghanbar Polo and its name is Morasae Polo (Jeweled Rice), but they are different in some ways. Ghanbar Polo is that one food you try in Shiraz which supplies you with lots of energy.  

Ghambar Polo - Top foods to try in Shiraz

Ghambar Polo - Top foods to try in Shiraz

3. Do Piazeh Aloo

If you are a vegetarian, then Do Piazeh would be a great choice among all the foods to try in Shiraz. Do piazeh Aloo means two onions and potato, because there are so many onions among the ingredients; so to speak, the onion should be twice as much as the tomato. Do Piazeh Aloo is a vegetarian and easily cooked food of Shiraz which is usually served in all the meals and as a snack, but is served mostly for 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 spices, and tomato paste; or if you want to cook it in a more healthy way, you can use the fresh tomato instead of the 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. In Iran almost all of the foods are being served with green, fresh vegetables. 



DO Piazeh Aloo - Top foods to try in Shiraz

Do Piazeh Aloo - Top foods to try in Shiraz

4. Ash-e Kardeh

Another vegetarian and healthy food to try in Shiraz, is 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 of Fars Province and Shiraz city. Apart from Kardeh, this special Ash is made with rice, onion, fenugreek, verjuice or sour yogurt (not recommended together), barley flour and spices. In winter and autumn, you can find and try this tasty Ash as a street food by the streets of Shiraz. 

5. Shekar Polo

Some of the foods you can try in Shiraz, 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 most popular combination is Shekar Polo and Khoresht-e Gheymeh, which is a famous Iranian stew made with spilt pea, minced meat, tomato paste or fresh tomato, and just like all the foods to try in Shiraz: onions and spices. 



Shekar Polo - Top foods to try in Shiraz

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. A few people might remember to recommend it to you in their list of foods to try in Shiraz, but I promise you will really enjoy it. This food is made with carrot sweetened rice, minced lamb meat or spicy fried chicken, and aromatic spices 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. All the foods to try in Shiraz are really energiser, and for sure Havij Polo is one of them. 



Kalam Polo - Top foods to try in Shiraz


7. Koofteh Hooloo

Literally meaning Peach Meatball, Koofteh Hooloo is a super delicious traditional food to try in Shiraz. This meatball which is made bigger than the ones in Kalam Polo, and just the same size of a peach, is another especial food to try in Shiraz, and is mostly served for dinner. Koofteh Hooloo is made with minced lamb, chickpea flour, carrot, egg, spices and onion and it is filled with prune, barberry, walnut, and fried onion. Then the meat ball is slow-cooked in a sauce made with tomato paste, spices 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

Koofteh Hooloo - Top foods to try in Shiraz

8. Ranginak

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 is the most energizer dessert to try in Shiraz, which comes before paloodeh. 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, cinnamon powder and green cardamon powder. Right after the foods to try in Shiraz, you should have some Ranginak to help you digest your meal easily.


Ranginak - Top foods to try in Shiraz

Ranginak - Top foods to try in Shiraz​​​​​​

Shiraz is a city in Iran renowned for its delectable cuisine, making it a must-visit destination for food lovers. The city boasts a diverse range of dishes that are sure to tantalize your taste buds. From the aromatic and flavorsome Kalam Polo to the succulent and juicy Shirazi Kebab, Shiraz offers a unique culinary experience that you won't find anywhere else. The city's cuisine is known for its use of fresh ingredients, herbs, and spices, creating a unique and unforgettable taste. Trying foods in Shiraz is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the local culture and experience the country's culinary traditions. So don't miss out on the opportunity to sample some of the best foods to try in Shiraz.


If you are interested in Iranian culinary and cuisines and like to learn more about it, checkout our Iran Food Tour.

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