Cheap Eats 2013: Finishing Touches

Kebabs and rice are filling, sureā€”but these sweets are worth saving room for.

1. Baklava

Americans often associate this pastry—composed of layered phyllo dough, nuts, and honey (or other sweet syrup)—with Greece. But the flaky treat also figures into the cuisines of such countries as Iran and Afghanistan. Made with pistachios, the giant triangles at Kabul Kabob House (514 S. Van Dorn St., Alexandria; 703-751-1833) are fresh, light, and never soggy.

2. Firne

The jiggly, pistachio-dusted dome of cornstarch pudding at Bamian (5634 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church; 703-820-7880) is velvet-textured and subtly sweet—far tastier than its appearance suggests.

3. Ghulab Jamun

Head to Kabob N Karahi (15521 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring; 301-879-0044) to try these custardy deep-fried milk balls, sticky with rose-water syrup and utterly addictive.

4. Persian Ice Cream

Smooth, creamy, and redolent of rose water, the saffron-laced scoops at Rose Kabob (126 Maple Ave. W., Vienna; 703-255-2557) arrive in a sundae dish with two spoons for sharing.