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A taste of Shomal

By Paul Sanford, Tehran - Recently I was able to take a one day trip to Rasht in Gilan province with my closest brother-in-law, Hamid.  He had to go for business and invited me along because I had not yet been to this part of the country.


We could have driven from Tehran - it would have taken about 3 hours - but we decided to fly.  The Iran Air flight to Rasht goes from Mehrabad Airport, where the domestic flights take off from nowadays. Normally the journey to this airport takes about an hour from North Tehran but at early in the morning it takes less than 20 minutes and we were in the departure lounge way too early, and were able to catch up with a little sleep.



Taking off in the early morning mist a few minutes after 7 in the full Fokker, there was barely time for the in-flight breakfast of orange juice and a muesli bar before we landed at Rasht International airport.  We immediately noticed the humidity, caused by being close to the Caspian.  A short taxi ride took us to Hamid's summer house, where there was time for me to roam the garden and to have a walk on the beach.   We then drove to Bandar Anzali, and had a chance to walk about and see this Northern city.  Bandar Anzali, formerly known as Bandar Pahlavi, is the largest Iranian port on the Caspian, and we could see Russian ships across the harbour.  There is a lagoon where you can take boat trips, but we didn't have time for this.


Russian Ship


I had been promised a great feast for lunch by my wife Syma who could not join us due to her busy schedule.  Thus I had been building up an appetite.  We drove to Rasht for lunch and we had a most lovely, delicious and tasteful Shomali meal in the famous Koroush Restaurant, which offers numerous typical Gilani dishes including dill-rich bagilah qotoq, morghe Toursh (sour chicken), mirzaghassemi (a mixture of eggplants, tomatoes, onion, a lot of garlic mixed with eggs), zeitun parvardeh (olives in walnut paste) and garlic maast (yoghurt) and much more.  We had a fabulous meal and delightfully delicious steak and the tastiest fish I have ever had (despite the bones).



We then crossed the main meidun (square) near the town hall and the statue of Mirza Kouchek Khan-e Jangali who defeated the occupying British army in 1920.  We went for a walk around the famous bazaar, where there are many types of fish from the Caspian, fresh and dried among many other things.   Finally after a most enjoyable and refreshing day, a taste of the local sweet reshteh khoshkar and buying some koluche (biscuits) as a gift for the folks back in Tehran we caught the 7.30 flight home.


Reshteh khoshkar


Here are some photographs of our day to share with you.   Jaye Shoma Khali (we missed you)!

... Payvand News - 09/29/08 ... --

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