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29
Apr

I have to say, I am very lucky. I have wonderful friends who I can stay with all over the world and just recently, I’ve been in Tehran, staying with my lovely friend, Nasrine Faghih. I didn’t expect Tehran to be an easy city but thanks to Nasrine and a charming young friend of hers, Ali who was my guide while I was there, I actually had a great time. Ali took me to lots of different places, including the big bazaar which I didn’t actually like much. It is nowhere near as magical as the souks of Aleppo and I much preferred Tajrish, the small bazaar near Nasrine’s home, which was way more exciting. Still the big bazaar was fun, and definitely worth visiting if only for people watching.

heads-in-tub-waiting-to-be-served-copy

But what was far more interesting was the little cook-shop (called tabbakhi in Persian) just outside the main entrance to the bazaar, on the other side of the street, specializing in lamb’s heads and tripe. Some of you may know that I can’t resist offal ( I did after all write The Fifth Quarter) and as soon as I spotted the heads soaking in a large tub of broth, I dragged Ali inside.

It was early in the morning and I was not hungry but the heads looked so white and clean that I had to try some. I asked for a small plate to taste (as against a whole head) and I have to admit that the meat was amazing, especially the part from around the eye sockets (on the right of the plate). Totally melting and absolutely delicious with no off-taste whatsoever. The tripe was another story. It definitely had an off-taste, a sign that it was not cleaned properly.

head & tripe-platter copy

As we were savouring our choice morsels, I heard loud religious music, which despite being in Tehran, sounded incongruous. I looked up to see a long procession of bearded men chanting and beating their chest at regular intervals. I asked Ali what it was all about and he explained that it was a mourning ceremony for a Saint, a regular event in the city. It was not a morning for the squeamish!

mourning ceremony-loud speakers copy


There is 8 comments on this post


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    The last time I saw a lambs head was in the center of a rice dish served to me in Jordan. Not something you would typically find in North America.
    My father grew up eating cows tongue and my mother would cook liver stating it was good for us. Still didn’t appreciate its benefits.
    I do however recall having curried chicken livers for breakfast in Jordan and enjoyed it immensly.
    You always offer such interesting write-ups on food.
    Love it and your pictures. Helps me feel connected.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    it’s really lovely how youre so adventurous, Anissa, and try all these fascinating dishes. x shayma


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    thanks shayma. it was fun, and very good so am happy i wasn’t squeamish. xx


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    thanks celeste. am happy you enjoy my posts.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    I’m so jealous that you were in Tehran! Although I’m totally squeamish and don’t like most anything that’s related to internal organs (although I do like marrow) but I really need to go back some time and actually be somewhere where everyone looks like me. When are you headed back to the UK?


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    you would have enjoyed being there hilda but everyone looking like you is wearing a veil and a long tunic which is rather boring. i also wore the veil which kept slipping. xxx


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    I am bored in Tehran and your telephone in London does not answer. Loving and hating your street in London is very much you. Later this evening, when it will be cooler I will go to my usual Tajrish pilgrimage and buy all sort of berries. Tell me why everybody in Iran looks like your friend Hilda.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    it’s funny. am at home all the time, writing away. i’ll try to call you. wish i could go to tajrish with you. x

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