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My Silk Road The Piglet stumbles across the continent

50 - Random food notes from Mashhad

IRAN | Friday, 9 November 2012 | Views [432]

Iran - Mashhad - saffron ice cream sandwich

Iran - Mashhad - saffron ice cream sandwich

Saffron, a key souvenir from Mashhad, costs just under US$2 per gram here.  And a gram goes a long way in cooking, probably at least 12-15 servings.  For the quality, it is very inexpensive.  But the yummy discovery is saffron ice cream!  Easily bought in any store it seems.  What I had was a slab of saffron and rosewater scented ice cream sandwiched between two wafers.  Perfect for a hot autumn hijab and chador-cloaked day.

Sweets and juices are also popular in Iran.  I have tried both packaged and fresh pomegranate juice which is so rare elsewhere (except maybe in Xinjiang).  A large fresh pomegranate juice is not cheap by local standards, around US$2. Western cake shops sell various pastries and cream cakes shaped in the form of cartoon-like animals.  Check out the pics.

So far, dining in Iran has been far more satisfying than in Turkmenistan.  I guess I am a Chinese at heart and I prefer rice over bread.  Plus I don’t like sauces much so a grilled kebab, plus steamed rice, a small salad and a bowl of yogurt works fine.  Plus there's always lavash (soft thin bread) on the side.  Fortunately this simple and delicious meal can be found everywhere (sort of like wonton noodles in Hong Kong) and costs around US$3 (with Coke).  My fast food dinner - "hamburger" (grilled patties inside a baguette type hot dog bun) and a lemon soda cost less than US$1.  Mind-boggling that a gram of saffron is cheaper than a hearty meal or a pomegranate juice.


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