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Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Aria Persian Fast Food, Merrylands

Brain and tongue sandwich at Aria Persian Fast Food, Merrylands

Incredible brains and great tongue. (We’re talking Persian sandwiches – what did you think we were talking about?) It’s what everyone’s digging into at Aria Persian Fast Food. They sizzle them to order on the hot plate before piling it all into a soft torpedo roll covered in sesame seeds.

Sandwich counter at Aria Persian Fast Food, Merrylands
The sandwich counter

This is Persian street food, the kind of cheap and hearty fare you can still find on the streets of Iran. There are six traditional Persian sandwiches to choose from, but the brain-and-tongue combo ($8.99) is the local favourite. It’s better than it sounds.

Brain and tongue sandwich at Aria Persian Fast Food, Merrylands
Brain and tongue sandwich $8.99

The sheep tongue is impressively tender and the sheep brain is lusciously creamy. Trust us – it’s good. The whole shebang is jammed with slices of fresh tomato, shredded lettuce and spears of salty pickled cucumber. The rolls are massive too – about a foot long – but they’ll cut them in half for easier eating if you ask.

You can order your sandwich to go or grab a high stool at one of the tables running the length of this casual takeaway. The crowd is a mix of Iranian and Afghani ex-pats – mostly young blokes – but staff are eager to help with questions if you have them.

Bandari sandwich at Aria Persian Fast Food, Merrylands
Bandari sandwich $6.99

If brains and tongue don’t float your boat, there are less intimidating options. The bandari ($6.99) is a Persian sausage that tastes like a skinless hotdog.

Beef cutlet sandwich at Aria Persian Fast Food, Merrylands
Beef cutlet sandwich $6.99

Check out the beef cutlet ($6.99), a deep-fried patty of mashed potato mixed with mince, or try the olivieh ($5.99), a creamy potato salad perked up with chicken, boiled eggs, peas and carrots.

Olivieh sandwich at Aria Persian Fast Food, Merrylands
Olivieh sandwich $5.99

Chicken liver sandwich at Aria Persian Fast Food, Merrylands
Chicken liver sandwich $6.99

If you’re still craving offal, the chicken liver ($6.99) is a cracker, still moist and smothered in a rich tomato and onion sauce.

Persian falafel sandwich at Aria Persian Fast Food, Merrylands
Persian falafel sandwich $5.99

Vegetarians can revel in Persian-style falafel ($5.99), parsley-free and chunkier in texture compared to its Lebanese cousin.

Baked hot dog at Aria Persian Fast Food, Merrylands
Baked hot dog $8.99

Still want more? They’re flipping burgers, cooking steak sandwiches and serving up Persian hot dogs too. Fork out an extra three bucks on any meal and you’ll score a can of drink and a bucket of hot chips. That’s lunch sorted for no more than $12. Sweet.

Brain and tongue sandwich with chips and soft drink meal at Aria Persian Fast Food, Merrylands
Brain and tongue sandwich with chips and soft drink $11.99

Istak non-alcoholic malt beverages and sparkling natural yoghurt drink at Aria Persian Fast Food, Merrylands
Non-alcoholic malt beverages and sparkling natural yoghurt drink

Aria Persian Fast Food, Merrylands

Aria Persian Fast Food on Urbanspoon

Aria Persian Fast Food
1/258 Merryland Rd, Merrylands 2160
Tel: +61 (02) 8677 9508

Open daily 10am - 10pm

This article appeared in the August 2014 issue of Time Out Sydney in my monthly Food & Drink column Eat This! [Read online

Read more of my Time Out Sydney reviews
26 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 9/03/2014 12:30:00 am


  • At 9/03/2014 2:32 am, Anonymous Padaek said…

    Delicious! Nothing like a bit of brain, tongue and offal combination action, and such a great way to serve/enjoy them in rolls. Yum. Looks like a great pit stop. Thanks! :)

  • At 9/03/2014 9:29 am, Anonymous Bianca@forfoodssake said…

    Wow - not for the faint of heart. I think I'd lean towards the Falafel. I wish I was a little more adventurous with my food..

  • At 9/03/2014 9:33 am, Anonymous Amanda @ Gourmanda said…

    Oooh...I like to think I'm an adventurous eater, but brain and tongue is a bit beyond me I think! I'll have to stick with their tamer fare. :P

  • At 9/03/2014 10:12 am, Anonymous Olivia @ mademoiselleinsydney said…

    I must admit I don't know much about Persian food aside from Pashmak, which I'm addicted to! I love falafels, but would be curious to try a bit of brains :) :)

  • At 9/03/2014 10:12 am, Anonymous Olivia @ mademoiselleinsydney said…

    I must admit I don't know much about Persian food aside from Pashmak, which I'm addicted to! I love falafels, but would be curious to try a bit of brains :) :)

  • At 9/03/2014 10:12 am, Blogger australiana said…

    Expats is an odd term to use in this context. It implies that they are nationals of another country who are only here temporarily and are likely to return 'home'.
    Given that they are Iraqis and Afghans (and thus most likely permanently resident here as part of Australia's refugee intake) that would appear to be a very unlikely possibility!

  • At 9/03/2014 10:25 am, Blogger MAB vs Food said…

    I love brains, not enough places do them in my opinion. Never had them with tongues before though. Definitely keen to give this one a go; love the depth of good ethnic eats in the West :)

  • At 9/03/2014 10:27 am, Anonymous Francesca said…

    I love revues like this that look at real food out there in the suburbs- affordable food. On returning home from a long Asian trip, I am finding the food of Melbourne disappointing. Paying big money for ordinary food in Pubs particularly is a worrying trend. The only good food I have eaten on return is food of various ethnic backgrounds- great Chinese noodles and handmade dumplings, Lebanese felafels similar to this Persian food, Vietnamese Pho etc.

  • At 9/03/2014 10:31 am, Anonymous Drool Worthy World said…

    WOW that falafel sandwich looks so good! Curious about trying the chicken liver :D

  • At 9/03/2014 11:26 am, Anonymous Hannah said…


  • At 9/03/2014 5:47 pm, Anonymous Gourmet Getaways said…

    This "fast-food" still serves healthy sandwiches, which I love. I am not sure I have any preference 'coz I wanna taste all!

    Gourmet Getaways

  • At 9/03/2014 6:07 pm, Blogger gaby @ lateraleating said…

    Yay for offal!

  • At 9/03/2014 6:43 pm, Anonymous ChopinandMysaucepan said…

    Dear Helen,

    You got me at incredible brains and great tongue. Can I buy you dinner sometime?

  • At 9/03/2014 7:28 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow brains and tongue do sound a bit intimidating yet so intriguing - will be giving this a try!

  • At 9/03/2014 7:35 pm, Anonymous kiki@mykikicake said…

    Such interesting ingredients....I love seeing these cool places in Sydney. I would go for the brains fo sho!!!

  • At 9/03/2014 9:28 pm, Anonymous Cindy (a foodie's joy) said…

    You are so much more adventurous than I am. Brain and tongue sandwich? But I wouldn't mind a baked hot dog sandwich! :)

  • At 9/03/2014 10:08 pm, Blogger Choc Chip Uru @ Go Bake Yourself said…

    Wow, you try some crazy things haha, wish I was brave like that (but I'm veg :P)
    Gorgeous photos! Need to try that falafel sandwich!

    Choc Chip Uru

  • At 9/03/2014 10:32 pm, Anonymous Gareth said…

    Brains and tongue sandwich, count me in. All looks great, especially the chicken livers. Wish it was closer to the city. How many sandwich's did you end up scoffing Helen?

  • At 9/04/2014 12:42 am, Blogger Sherrie @ Crystal Noir said…

    So many offal choices :O There's so many I've yet to eat - like brain!

  • At 9/04/2014 7:23 am, Blogger Sarah said…

    That is so cool! You always find the best and most unusual places to share! :)

    xox Sarah

  • At 9/05/2014 2:20 am, Blogger CQUEK said…

    yes count me in

  • At 9/06/2014 9:14 am, Anonymous Hotly Spiced said…

    I can quite honestly say I have never had a brain and tongue sandwich! I'll take your word that it's a great combo. The prices here seem really reasonable and the rolls look generously filled with filling xx

  • At 9/06/2014 7:51 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Brains and tongue combo sounds incredibly insane! Sounds very intriguing to try :D

  • At 9/07/2014 1:35 pm, Blogger Annie said…

    brain and tongue sandwich? very curious to try this

  • At 9/10/2014 3:46 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    If ever there was a more adventurous palette than yours, we'd be hard pressed to find it! I love this twist on what is more than a standard take away. Is it wrong that I would be excited by all the variations on exotic drinks and lassi's too!

  • At 9/26/2015 8:42 am, Blogger HNH said…

    Despite my previous mostly negative sentiments about brain (the texture and consistency) I couldn't go past your recommendation, indeed deliciously creamy, but would next time prefer something with a bit more "bite".

    The sparkling ayran was indeed a unique take on the typically flat yogurt drink, yum yum.


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