Iran’s famous flatbread

A ‘national sport’ to get the freshest bread at the dinning table

Each country has its food culture and what I loved in Iran is their bread. It kind of feels like a national sport to get the freshest bread at the dinning table. Right before dinnertime, you see young kids running or biking through the small alleys on their way to the small bakeries on every corner to get fresh naan bread — the flatbread that is served with most dinners.

I remember that in one or two places we stayed, the youngest member of the family would get the bread the moment we arrived in the lobby for breakfast. Although there was not a lot of variety, breakfast throughout the country was always more or less the same, and I always enjoyed the morning food.

Most of the time it was lavash bread along with feta cheese, carrot marmalade, honey, cucumber and slices of tomato. And sweet Persian tea!

But back to bread. One day we were with Mohammed in the car talking about bread, and so he told us about the local customs and, at one point, insisted that we had to stop at a local bakery to get some fresh bread. And so we did — he was talking to the staff, and they challenged us to come in to make the famous Naan-e Taftoon flatbread ourselves.

They use stone ovens and basically, create ‘pancakes’ from a piece of dough which they throw against the hot surface of a gas heated stone oven. Literally, after seconds, the bread is good to eat. Of course, they would not take our money, so we exchanged smiles and left with our fresh meal.