Weird Foods in Baghdad, Iraq

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The ancient city of Baghdad, Iraq enjoys a number of dishes which would be considered weird in the West. Here is a list of some of the most exotic or weird foods.

It comes as no surprise that the cuisine found in the East and West will be very different.  This has to do with climate, particular tastes and culture.  The Middle East has some recipes that are handed down by ancient times.  Baghdad, Iraq has kept many of this ancient cuisine. Iraqi cuisine goes back 10,000 years to the ancient Sumerians and Babylonians. Iraq is known to have produced the world’s first cookbooks. Baghdad enjoys the traditional cuisine as well as the influences of Turkey, Iran, Syria and even India.  

Locusts

The weirdest or strangest foods food found in Baghdad, Iraq and eaten since ancient times are locusts.  Locusts are insects similar to grasshoppers.  Although they are forbidden to be eaten according to the Hebrew bible, Iraqi people have enjoyed this food for thousands of years.  

Some people in the West consider chocolate covered grasshoppers a delicacy but very few have tried traditional locust dishes.

The dish in Baghdad is not considered a delicacy.  It a simple staple of the desert people, the Northern Bedouins.  According to the diary of Mr Blunt (quoted in Lady Wentworth's The Arabian Horse) locusts are best when they are boiled. The red locust is used.  Only female locusts are eaten.  The legs are pulled off them then the diner takes the insect by the wings and dips the head in salt and before eatingt. The locust is said to have a vegetable like flavor and looks similar to green wheat.

Locusts can also be fried but many say they are not as delicious cooked that way.

Diary products  as weird foods

Doogh is a yogurt based drink with a salty flavor. It is usually made simply with salt and water.

Shenina is another variation of the beverage served in Baghdad, Irag.  

Geimar is made with water buffalo milk and is similar to a clotted cream.

Appetizers as weird foods

Falafel is an appetizer often served with Iraqi meals, it is made of fava beans or spiced chickpea. It is rather dry and is usually severed as a patty.

Dolma is made with the dolma leaves which have been stuffed with tomatoes, zucchini, peppers and eggplant. This side dish is boiled and can be served either hot or cold.

Porridge - weird foods

Harrisa is a porridge made from coarsely ground wheat and stewed boneless chicken.

With so many dishes from the Middle East now introduced into the North American diet it is difficult to call these exotic dishes weird.

Dishes such as tabbouleh which is an appetizer are now served in restaurants throughout North America.  It can be found in many grocery stores as well. Tabbouleh is also a salad that is made of “finely chopped parsley, bulgur, mint, tomato, scallion, and other herbs with lemon juice, olive oil and various seasonings, generally including black pepper and sometimes cinnamon and allspice.”

Dips

North Americans may now find Iraqi dips in their restaurants and grocery storesl.  The dips include Baba ghanoush made with mashed eggplant, hummus, made with chickpea, tahini, olive oil, garlic, salt and lemon juice.

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