I’m in Iraq for 10 days touring the northern region of Kurdistan. The place is bereft of tourists for the most part but brimming in optimism and enthusiasm. After what Kurds and Iraqis have been through the last 30-40 years it’s no surprise that they are enjoying their freedom. Or at least what freedom they have. Food wise I have sampled a load of the local meals in Erbil and Dohuk. The town of Dohuk offers some really cool downtown restaurants with hearty menus that will ensure you don’t walk out hungry. Today’s Friday’s Featured Food is quite simply a Kurdish Feast!!
Omara Restaurant, Dohuk, Kurdistan, Iraq
In and around the Bazaar in Dohuk there are a load of restaurants. They’re all quite similar – fast food, served quickly and by waiters who know how to treat customers. We chose the Omara Restaurant which was handily just round the corner from our hotel, the Hotel Parlaman (possibly the only “backpacker” style hotel in Iraq!).
How to order food in Omara Restaurant, Dohuk, Kurdistan, Iraq
OK, so there are no English menus (obviously), very few Arabic menus and just a board with the prices and food types in Arabic on the wall. This leaves you with two options:
1. Learn Arabic and order what you want easily (I tried and failed)
2. Point to stuff on other people’s tables and hope the waiter understands what you mean.
We went for option 2. Before we had even sat down, dishes and drinks were placed in front of us left right and centre. We were treated like lords. These Iraqi Kurds know a thing or two about hospitality.
What dishes were included in our Kurdish Feast?
It took us a while to fathom what was in each of them, but between two of us we had a total of 4 drinks, 2 bread, 6 soups, 2 mains, 4 side dishes and 1 cup of tea!
2 x water
2 x Ayran Yoghurt drink
2 x large naan style bread
2 x broad bean soup (when I finished mine – they brought a second one – free of charge)
2 x aubergine soup with spice
2 x another anonymous vegetable soup
1 x bowl of pickles
2 x plates with rice, peas and large piece of chicken
2 x bowls of salad (tomato, red cabbage, cucumber)
1 x large dish of olives
And that was our feast. Without further ado it was time to launch into it. We did our best and almost finished it.
When we couldn’t finish it, we asked for the rest to be “bagged up” and taken home. When the manager heard we were taking the rest home, he gave us 2 more bottles of water and more of the broad bean soup! He didn’t charge us any extra.
In total the entire feast cost us 16,000 Iraqi Dinars, this works out at just over 8 UK pounds, so 4 pounds each. After the meal a guy off the street came in and gave me a free cup of sweet tea.
Don’t believe the inaccurate media reports you read about Kurdistan or Iraq, this country is full of friendly, welcoming people. Get an Iraq Visa and head there for yourself!
Friday’s Featured Food is an ongoing regular feature on Don’t Stop Living – a lifestyle of travel. If you have a meal, bar, pub, restaurant, brand or idea that you would like reviewed or featured on Friday’s Featured Food, please get in touch via my contacts page or my advertising page. I’d love to hear from you! I’d also love a free pint and aKurdish feast. Cheers!