Iraq Food and Drink
In effect, Iraqi cuisine dates back 10,000 years – how many countries can say that? Today, Iraq's traditional fare reflects centuries of Arab, Turkish, Persian and Syrian influence, making for one of the most vivid culinary scenes in the Middle East. Mezza, or the various appetisers and salads, typically comes first, followed by many dishes involving lamb and rice, as well as grilled fish and elaborate dishes involving stuffed vegetables.
Citrus fruits grow abundantly in Iraq and feature a lot in the country’s cuisine. Grilled kebabs that have been marinated with lemon, garlic and various spices are common, as are select stews, falafel, and a wraps of grilled meat, which are known as gauss, similar to doner kebab.
For those who flick straight to the dessert menu, Iraq shares much in common with the rest of the region – expect plenty of moreish baklava and other super-sweet pastries infused with nuts and syrup.
Dolma: Vine leaves, cabbage, lettuce, onions, aubergine, marrow or cucumbers stuffed with rice, meat and spices.
Tikka: Small chunks of mutton on skewers grilled on a charcoal fire.
Quozi: Small lamb boiled whole and grilled, stuffed with rice, minced meat and spices and served on rice.
Masgouf: Fish from the Tigris, typical of areas along the river.
Gauss: Grilled-meat wrap.
Bamieh: Lamb, okra and tomato stew.
Quzi: Lamb with rice, raisins, almonds and spices.
Falafel: Fried chickpea patties served in a pitta with amba (spicy sauce derived from picked mango) and salad
Kubbah: Minced meat mixed with rice or bulgur and spices
Masgûf: Grilled fish with tamarind and pepper
Maqluba: A rice-based dish with lamb, aubergine and tomatoes
Arak: A clear, colourless, unsweetened aniseed-flavoured distilled alcoholic drink.
Normal limit is 10% to 15%.