Despite there being a specific Kurdish cuisine, one that includes such dishes as dolma (stuffed grape leaves), stuffed vegetables, meat dumplings and lamb stew, for the traveler, the variety of food available to sample, assuming you aren’t spending time staying with a local family, is quite limited.
While small local restaurants line many of the streets in many towns and cities, the selection generally consists of shawarma (meat or chicken slices in a thick pita bread) and falafel (which are usually made with only a small amount of chickpeas and lots of bread crumbs). You simply walk in to any of these eateries, pay up front to the man at the cash counter, receive a token and then hand the token to the man preparing the sandwiches. Seconds later you’ll have your order in hand. You then stand at one of the counters around the restaurant and eat away.
If you search a little harder, you can also find local restaurants that serve roast chicken, often accompanied by some sort of salad.
Apart from that, you may also stumble upon the occasional sit down restaurant that servers a wider variety of Kurdish fare, although these type of restaurants are not plentiful.
And finally, if you ask the right people, especially in places such as Erbil or Sulamaniyah, you’ll be able to find a wider variety of food including Italian (pasta and pizza), German, Chinese and even a handful of western restaurant chains.
Here’s what you can generally expect to pay for food:
Shawarma (chicken, beef or ‘falafel’) – 800 – 1400 ID per sandwich
Roasted chicken & salad – 7000 – 10,000 ID per plate
Sit down meal at a local restaurant – 8,000 – 15,000 ID per person
Plate of pasta – 8,000 ID
Sweets (cakes, turkish delight, custards, etc.) – 1000 – 2000 ID each
Tea (from tea stalls) – 100 – 300 ID per glass