The History of Tehran’s Barbari Bread!

Barbari bread in Tehran

The humble barbari bakery is a popular haunt for many people living in Tehran, where each morning moms, dads and kids line up for freshly baked bread. But where did this staple of the Persian breakfast come from?

Taste the breads!

The word selection group of the Academy of Persian language and Literature has written on the origins of this popular bread and how it becomes synonymous with the Iranian capital city.

Many people assumed that the bread originates in the country’s northwestern Azerbaijan region, as many of the bakers are ethnically Azeri, however, this new information, radically shakes up the history of the food.

Foreign origins of barbari bread

According to the national organisation, Barbari bread comes from Afghans who moved to the early city from “Barbaristan” in the years from 1308 — 1318 (1930s Gregorian calendar). The group is also known as the Hazara community in that country.

Those people moved to eastern Iran, and they were known as Barbar or Barbari but ultimately changed their name to Khavari (Eastern in old Persian) after a few decades.

That group introduced the bread to local denizens but the name of the bread originally was “Panjeh Kash” meaning stretched by your hands.

Not as old as you think!

The same group introduced this staple food in the latter half of the Qajar era (over a century ago) in the Ekbatan Street area (near Masoudieh Palace) up towards Cheragh e-Bargh Street, according to accounts at the time.

Despite its foreign ancestry, Barbari is now one of the most popular of locally produced breads in the city.

Other popular breads include “Sangak” meaning cooked on stones, and Taftoon which is cooked inside a tandoor oven, which also have cult foodie status.

Do you want to find out more about eating food and restaurants in Tehran? Then check out our previous articles across the city.

Where is the best bakery?

Where is the best barbari bakery? Well, each area will claim their local one is the best, but our personal favourite is one on the corner of Somayeh Street and Bahar in central Tehran. Blink and you would miss it! Check out the map below to hunt out our favourite bakery.

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