Iranian food is also referred to as Persian food. Using only small amounts of red meat and emphasizing large amounts of grains such as rice, fruits and vegetables, Iranian food is famed for its fresh taste and healthy attributes. Meals in Iran are prepared with a contrast of flavors such as sweet and sour or mild and spicy. Iranian food generally is based on rice. Rice is a relatively inexpensive food and since it is grown locally, it is affordable for most homes and available as a staple in every diet. A typical Iranian meal consists of a large portion of cooked rice topped with vegetables, fish or meat.
A round, flat bread called Nan is also served with many traditional meals. There are many varieties of Nan including a very thin, brittle version which is typically served with breakfast and a thick, chewy version which features small dimples in the crust.
Popular meats in Iran include chicken and lamb. Typically these meats are prepared and eaten as kebabs. They are served as small pieces on skewers. Most meals in Iran will consist of bread, rice and meat, normally a kebab.
Quince, pears, grapes, dates and apricots, as well as melons flavored with rosewater are favorite dessert dishes in Iran. Tea is a treasured beverage as well as coffee and is normally served after the meal and accompanied by fresh fruit or pastries. Sweet drinks that contain sour milk or yogurt mixed with sparkling water and fresh fruit juices are enjoyed by children as well as adults.
Iranian food is chosen for each meal depending upon a set of food rules that originated from ancient Greek medicine. Hot and cold foods are chosen with hot foods consisting of meats, some desserts and eggplant. Cold foods include yogurt, cucumbers and fish. Iranian meals normally consist of a delicate balance of both hot and cold foods.
Like other countries, Iranians typically consume three meals each day, including snacks of nuts or fruit.
Breakfast typically includes hot tea, cheese and bread. Northern regions often prefer honey with cold rice and fish, while central regions enjoy yogurt and soft cream.