Biryani! Oh how I loved when it was on the menu at Em Nazih for lunch! Rice with pieces of chicken meat, spices and nuts. Yummy, yummy. Filling, but not too heavy, so I could continue studying the Lebanese dialect for couple of hours in the afternoon while digesting. Great with labneh on the side.
But then I went to Iran.
In Esfahan, shortly after my arrival to the city and after dropping off my stuff at the hotel, I went on Chahar Bagh street to look for something yummy. On the window of one little place, I saw biryani written in Persian. Great! I went in, and it was really a small, small restaurant, with no written menus. I saw they were making some kind of meal with minced lamb, and I order biryani.
I thought I was getting biryani.
I went to sit upstairs, and there were three guys sitting there by the table, all having the minced lamb. It is good thing they have biryani too, I would hate to have the minced lamb, I thought to myself. I never really eat red meat, and I definitely don’t like it minced.
Finally a guy comes upstairs with what I thought was biryani. Well, wrong. My Lebanese biryani was NOT what I was served here. I got the same minced lamb sandwich that the other visitors of the restaurant were enjoying. How could they dare, I thought while reluctantly eating the biryani that was just introduced to me. I was really hungry, so I tried it. Not that it was bad, but it was still lamb meat, and it was still a betrayal. Biryani is supposed to be rice with chicken … well. The world does not evolve around what I think biryani should be, right?
Sometimes you think you know while you are up for a surprise and an adventure.
Up: Iranian biryani
Down: Lebanese biryani