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  • Writer's pictureThe Linguistic Foodie

Chortke چرتکه: Flavors of Persia (and Math too?)

Ok. You may be confused by the title of the post. How can math have flavor and why would Chortke's incredible Persian food (Which was rated #1 on Yelp in Rochester!) have a flavor of Math. Well, I partially mislead you because food can obviously not taste like math. But the reason I included this is because in Persian, Chortke means abacus, which is a mathematical tool used for calculations. Interesting!

Chortke is hidden in an awkward location behind village gate, with poor signage (you could not tell that this is a restaurant until you get really close as it is surrounded by office buildings and other random businesses), but don't let this deter you from the delicious food.

Pita and spicy hummus (it was very spicy :))

From the very beginning, I could already tell the sheer friendliness of Persian/Iranian people from the smile on the man working the restaurant. He was so friendly, kind, and funny, and made the experience at Chortke that much better. I decided to order the Falafel plate with rice and salad as well as a side of spicy hummus. I received my food rather quickly--It seemed like the restaurant was getting A LOT of takeout orders--and I was excited to dig in.

Falafel Plate!! Look how beautiful it is. OMG

Everything was extraordinary, and the food made me wish I was walking down the modern streets of Tehran or next to the ancient, elegant blue domes of Isfahan. The falafel was some of the best I've eaten in Rochester--perfectly crisp on the outside and soft on the inside (I wish they gave more!). Overall, however, the portion size was quite large and I struggled to finish the whole thing. The falafel was served with rice (which was a beautiful yellow color) and a salad full of fresh vegetables. The contrasting textures of the salad, rice, and Falafel created an amazing meal full of different textures and flavors. I also loved the yogurt sauce that came with it, as it added needed moisture to the meal. At Chortke, of course, you can opt for other options like kebab, which I am sure are equally delicious.

In Iran, most people speak Persian, which is also known as Farsi. Farsi is a beautiful and elegant language--a language I would love to learn one day. Persian also has many dialects which are spoken in places like Afghanistan (Pashto) and Tajikistan (Tajiki). An interesting fact is that Farsi uses the Persian script, whereas Tajiki uses the Cyrillic script as a result of being a part of the Soviet Union. In addition to Farsi, there is a sizeable population in Iran that speaks Kurdish.

In a country so big and diverse, Iran has many languages that are endangered, such as Jowshaqani, a central Iranian language. Learn more here:


(khodâ hâfez)

-The Linguistic Foodie:)

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