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Shirin is the place for Iranian cuisine, healthy teas, unique gifts

By: David Knickerbocker

Date Posted: 2002-03-14

The Shirin Tea and Giftshop, located next to Sauce Live in Hamby Town, sells many interesting Iranian gifts, but its teas and meals really make the small shop special. Owner Sharo learned from his mother and grandmother how to use teas and spices as natural medicines for healthy living, and his new shop is very unique in that everything is authentically Iranian and extremely healthy. “We have teas for stress, medicine and all natural healing,” says Sharo. “They will make you relax in natural ways.”

Shirin currently has 15 types of herbal teas available, and each is significantly different from the other in its healing abilities. For instance, Par cleans your blood, Katmi lowers blood pressure, Arya increases metabolism and lowers blood sugar, Tak is good for hot weather and is a remedy for sore throats, Tarsh is good for backaches and sore legs and feet, Bahar is good for the liver and fights acne, Pune cleans the stomach, Shir quenches the thirst, and the house original, Shirin, is good for everything. Shirin is a very special place in that it is like an all-natural hospital, but you are being healed naturally while enjoying a cup of tasty tea. Sharo is like a doctor in that he will point out which tea you need to help you with whatever your looking for. Got a toothache? Ask Sharo what you should do. Got dandruff? Sharo might not have a tea to fight every problem, but he will surely point you in the right direction.

During our visit, I tried two of the most interesting teas I have ever seen. Both teas are served cold with hundreds of little seeds sitting at the base of the cup, and before drinking it, you stir the water. Shir, with a rosewater flavor, was very delicious; I had never had anything like it before. The black seeds become gel-like and go down your throat without causing any sensation. This was by far my favorite of the teas I sampled. The other tea I tried was called Tak, which means milk of the dessert in Farsi. This tea has a bit of a lemonade flavor, but it wasn’t really like lemon. The taste is hard to describe, as it was something altogether new, but the drink was very refreshing.

Shirin also has a number of Iranian tobaccos that are extremely clean and smoked through a water pipe. These fruit-flavored tobaccos are a treat that both smokers and non-smokers alike will enjoy. In addition the shop has many Iranian decorations that give it an exquisitely interesting appearance. While drinking tea, it’s easy to get lost looking around at all the multi-colored Persian vases, plates and other items for sale. It’s like having tea in a museum. Sharo is also a fun and interesting person to talk to, and he will gladly discuss current events, sports, life in Iran, his teas or any other topic you’re looking to talk about.

The shop has a good selection of Iranian foods. His selection was prepared mostly with the idea of health in mind, so you will be served a delicious hot meal that is very good for you. During my visit I tried the daily sandwich, olivie, chicken with broccoli and geime. The daily sandwich is a treat with open pita bread on the outside and ham and vegetables on the inside. Olivie is like a Persian potato salad with spices. It is served with chicken or turkey and is also best inside pita bread. Both go for ¥600. The chicken or beef with broccoli was by far my favorite dish. Served on rice, it was astounding. Try it! Finally, geime is made of beef, eggplant, beans and French fries and is also best served on rice. Both go for ¥1,100, or you can purchase them as a set with salad and a drink for ¥1,600.

Everything was delicious at Shirin, and the staff was very helpful and friendly. If you haven’t yet been there, it is a place you should absolutely check out. Menus are in English and Japanese, and the staff is also bilingual, so you should have no problem getting what you want. And since everything is served with health in mind, you’ll end up leaving feeling better than when you first arrived.

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