In the half-dozen trips I’ve taken to Kurdistan, not ONCE have we been able to finish the food on our table, whether we’re a party of two or of 8. Part of the charm and tradition of Kurdish hospitality is cooking and serving too much… that way if others drop by, there’s always some to […]
It was an early morning: we had loaded up our vehicles before dawn, and drove the 90 minutes through the dusty Ninevah plains to the joint operations center… where Iraqis, Kurds, and Americans are coordinating the Mosul offensive. By sunrise, it was already hot, and flies buzzed around our ears. While we discussed plans for […]
Hot, dusty, dangerous, and sleeping in cars. Thank goodness for MRE’s, dried fruit, and this handy kettle and travel burner. Aside from a puzzling yet delicious “vegetarian sausage breakfast” MRE, there’s not much of note here – just calories and caffeine, pure and simple. Food under fire, in pictures.
On the road, a home-cooked meal is an absolute luxury: a respite from the impersonal hotels and convivial but antiseptic restaurants that greet us at the end of each day. In Northern Iraq, we were invited (hooray!) to Hiwa’s house for his casual take on a traditional Middle Eastern dish, dolma. Now, I knew dolma only as stuffed grape leaves. […]
In this part of the world, restaurants tend to sling the same grub (kebab, mezze, biryani, baklava) — and what sets one place apart from another is the quality of ingredients and, when I get lucky, the existence of dishes I’ve never seen before. Green Jews Mallow in Egypt. Hot cheesy hummus in Turkey. And at Al Safadi, […]
Syrian food is fantastic, and as diverse as its neighbors in the Middle East: creamy hummus, fried kibbeh balls stuffed with spiced meat, rice dishes baked in phyllo dough, meatballs glazed in cherry sauce, flatbreads, baklavas, honeyed sweets, tea. Sadly, none of that was available on the frontline, where the Syrian Kurds faced off with ISIS. […]
Road-tripping through Northern Iraq, I’ve stumbled on some interesting regional specialties amid the kebabs and hummus. In Serchinar Restaurant in Zahko (not far from the Syrian border), a platter of grilled meat was served with endless side dishes, including this bright green concoction I’d never seen before: Turns out it was banana slices served in […]
Being invited into someone’s home when you’re on the road is always the most memorable meal of the trip. In Iraqi Kurdistan, on the road from Erbil to Kirkuk, a local leader had us over for lunch – a multi-course feast prepared by his wife and daughters, and laid out on the floormat by his […]