Celebrating the Persian New Year at Lala Rokh

Close-up view of Lala Rokh's New Year's Table

While the weather might still be on the chilly side here in Boston, spring is in the air. I’ve seen the crocuses to prove it.

It’s a time to look ahead to warm weather and nature’s resurgence. This is also the time of the Persian New Year, known as Nowruz, which means ‘new day,’ a celebration of the beginning of spring.

For Babak and Azita Bina, the brother and sister who run the Persian restaurant¬†Lala Rokh on Beacon Hill, celebrating Nowruz is a tradition that took on an added significance when they emigrated to the U.S. from Iran in the 1970s. It’s a way of reaffirming their ties to both their family and culture.

Traditional Pastries at Lala Rokh

At Lala Rokh, in honor of Nowruz, the Binas serve a special New Year’s spread, known as Sofreh-ye Haft Sinn, which translates as the Cloth of Seven Dishes, a meal rich in symbols of rebirth and rejuvenation.

Radio Boston’s Amory Sivertson and I visited Lala Rokh just prior to the beginning of the New Year and were treated to a little Persian hospitality as Babak and Azita discussed the significance of Nowruz (listen here to the Radio Boston piece). We also got to sample some of their traditional holiday dishes, such as Ash Reshteh, a beautiful noodle and herb soup, and Sabzi Pollo Mahi, a delicately fried fish dish with herbed rice. As Babak explained, while there are key dishes in the Nowruz celebration, every family has their own particular interpretation that speaks to their familial history and traditions.¬†Our dishes were all prepared by the Binas’ mother, Aghdas Zoka-Bina, who also brings back special ingredients, such as spices and herbs, from her trips home to Iran.

Aghdas Zoka-Bina serving a traditional Nowruz dinner

You can celebrate Nowruz and the coming of spring with the Binas at Lala Rokh through tomorrow, Thursday, March 31.