The Most Popular Food in Iraq: An Ranking of Cultural Favorites

Choose the food you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Mar 1, 2024 06:06
Welcome to StrawPoll, your ultimate destination for settling debates and discovering the best of everything! Today, we embark on a mouthwatering journey to uncover the most popular food in the flavorful land of Iraq. With a rich culinary heritage dating back centuries, Iraq's diverse cuisine has a scrumptious dish for every palate. So, whether you're a fan of the succulent Masgouf, the hearty Quzi, or the delectable Dolma, it's time to cast your vote and make your voice heard in our epic ranking! And if you think we've missed your favorite food gem, fear not! You can always suggest a delicious option to be added to our ever-growing list. So, let the feast for the eyes begin and join us as we explore the irresistible world of Iraqi cuisine, one vote at a time!

What Is the Most Popular Food in Iraq?

  1. 1
    Grilled meat, usually lamb or beef, served with rice and vegetables, is a popular dish in Iraq. It is often seasoned with spices like cumin and coriander.
    Kebab is a popular Arabic dish consisting of skewered and grilled pieces of marinated meat, typically lamb or beef, that are cooked over an open fire or on a grill. The meat is often seasoned with a blend of aromatic spices, such as cumin, coriander, garlic, and paprika, which imparts a rich and savory flavor to the kebab. It is commonly served with rice, salad, and bread.
    • Meat: Lamb or beef
    • Cooking method: Grilling over an open fire or on a grill
    • Marination: Meat is marinated with aromatic spices
    • Spices: Common spices used include cumin, coriander, garlic, and paprika
    • Serving: Often served with rice, salad, and bread
  2. 2
    A dish made of stuffed vegetables, usually grape leaves, with a rice and meat filling. It is served with yogurt or tomato sauce.
    Dolma is a traditional Armenian dish that consists of various vegetables, such as bell peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, or zucchinis, stuffed with a flavorful mixture of seasoned rice and ground meat. The vegetables are usually hollowed out and filled with the rice and meat mixture before being simmered or baked to perfection. Dolma is a delicacy that combines the vibrant flavors of the vegetables with the savory filling, resulting in a mouthwatering dish rich in taste and texture.
    • Variations: Dolma can be made with different types of vegetables like bell peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, or zucchinis.
    • Filling: The filling consists of seasoned rice mixed with ground meat, typically beef or lamb.
    • Herbs and Spices: Dolma is flavored with a variety of herbs and spices, including mint, parsley, dill, cinnamon, and black pepper.
    • Cooking Method: Dolma is often simmered in a flavorful broth or baked in the oven.
    • Serving: It is commonly served as an appetizer or a main course, and it can be enjoyed hot or cold.
  3. 3
    A savory soup made with lamb, vegetables, and bread. It is often served during Ramadan.
    Tashreeb is a traditional Iraqi dish that is known for its rich and flavorful taste. It is considered one of the most popular and beloved dishes in Iraq. Tashreeb is a type of bread stew where pieces of bread are soaked in a savory broth and served with tender, slow-cooked meat and various vegetables. The dish is then garnished with herbs and spices, adding depth to its flavors.
    • Main ingredients: Bread, meat (usually lamb or chicken), vegetables (such as potatoes, carrots, and onions)
    • Spices: Cumin, coriander, turmeric, garlic, and cinnamon
    • Broth: Made from meat or chicken stock, often flavored with tomatoes or lemon juice
    • Cooking method: The meat and vegetables are slow-cooked in the broth until tender, and the bread is added just before serving to soak up the flavors
    • Presentation: Tashreeb is typically served in a large communal dish, with the bread soaked in the broth at the bottom and the meat and vegetables arranged on top
  4. 4
    A grilled fish dish, usually made with carp or catfish. It is served with rice and vegetables.
    Masgouf is a popular traditional Iraqi dish made from grilled fish, typically carp or catfish, marinated in a mixture of olive oil, tamarind, ground turmeric, and salt. It is cooked on wood-fired grills, giving it a distinct smoky flavor.
    • Fish: Typically carp or catfish
    • Marinade: Olive oil, tamarind, ground turmeric, salt
    • Cooking method: Grilled on wood-fired grills
    • Flavor: Distinct smoky flavor
    • Serving style: Whole fish on a platter
  5. 5
    A stew made with okra, lamb or beef, and tomato sauce. It is served with rice or bread.
    Bamia, also known as Okra stew, is a popular dish in Sudan. It is a flavorful and hearty stew made with tender pieces of meat, such as lamb or beef, along with okra, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and a blend of aromatic spices. The dish is typically served with Sudanese bread or rice.
    • Ingredients: Okra, meat (lamb or beef), tomatoes, onions, garlic, spices
    • Preparation Method: The meat is usually sautéed with onions and garlic until browned. Then, okra and tomatoes are added, along with spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, and chili powder. The stew is simmered until the flavors meld together and the okra becomes tender.
    • Flavor Profile: Bamia is known for its rich and aromatic flavors. The combination of spices creates a savory and mildly spicy taste, while the okra adds a unique texture and subtle sweetness to the stew.
    • Texture: The stew has a thick and slightly viscous texture due to the natural thickening properties of okra. The meat is tender, and the okra adds a pleasant crunch to each bite.
    • Serving Style: Bamia is typically served as a main course dish. It is often accompanied by Sudanese bread, which is used to scoop up the stew, or with steamed rice.
  6. 6
    A roasted lamb or goat dish, often served during special occasions like weddings or festivals. It is served with rice and vegetables.
    Quzi is a traditional Iraqi dish that is widely popular and considered one of the most iconic dishes in the country. It is a flavorful and aromatic roasted lamb or chicken dish that is often served on special occasions and celebrations.
    • Meat: Usually made with lamb or chicken, which is marinated in a blend of spices.
    • Spices: Common spices used in Quzi include cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, black lime, and various others.
    • Rice: The dish is typically served over fragrant, basmati rice flavored with meat stock and cooked until fluffy.
    • Stuffing: The lamb or chicken may be stuffed with a mixture of rice, herbs, nuts (like pistachios or almonds), and raisins.
    • Roasting: The meat is traditionally roasted in a charcoal pit or oven, allowing it to develop a smoky and tender texture.
  7. 7
    A type of flatbread that is popular in Iraq. It is often served with breakfast or as a side dish with meals.
    Samoon is a traditional Iraqi bread that is extremely popular in the country. It is a soft and fluffy bread with a slightly crispy crust. The bread has a unique shape, resembling an oval or a rounded triangle, and it is often adorned with decorative patterns or markings. Samoon is typically enjoyed fresh and warm, either as a standalone bread or as a delicious accompaniment to various dishes.
    • Shape: Oval or rounded triangle
    • Texture: Soft and fluffy with a slightly crispy crust
    • Decoration: Adorned with decorative patterns or markings
    • Usage: Can be eaten as a standalone bread or used as an accompaniment
    • Freshness: Best enjoyed fresh and warm
  8. 8
    A deep-fried ball made from ground chickpeas, herbs, and spices. It is often served as a snack or in sandwiches.
    Falafel is a popular Middle Eastern dish made from ground chickpeas or fava beans, mixed with various herbs and spices. It is typically shaped into small balls, patties, or nuggets, and then deep-fried until crispy. Falafel is known for its crispy exterior and soft, flavorful interior. It is commonly enjoyed as a vegetarian or vegan option, served in pita bread or as part of a mezze platter.
    • Main Ingredients: Chickpeas or fava beans, herbs, and spices
    • Cooking Method: Deep-fried
    • Texture: Crispy exterior, soft interior
    • Shape: Balls, patties, or nuggets
    • Flavor Profile: Savory, aromatic, and mildly spiced
  9. 9
    A Middle Eastern sandwich made with shaved meat, usually chicken or beef, and vegetables like lettuce, tomato, and onion. It is often served with a yogurt sauce.
    Shawarma is a popular Arab food that originated in the Middle East. It is a type of meat preparation, typically made with thinly sliced marinated lamb, beef, or chicken. The meat is often placed on a vertical rotating spit and slowly cooked, resulting in a tender and flavorful filling. The shawarma is commonly served in a pita bread or flatbread, along with various toppings and sauces.
    • Meat: Lamb, beef, or chicken
    • Marination: Thinly sliced meat marinated in a blend of herbs, spices, and sometimes yogurt
    • Cooking Method: Slowly roasted on a vertical spit, resulting in juicy and tender meat
    • Serving Style: Typically served in a pita bread or flatbread
    • Toppings: Common toppings include tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, pickles, and sometimes fries
  10. 10
    A sweet pastry made with layers of filo dough, nuts, and honey or syrup. It is often served as a dessert or with tea or coffee.
    Baklava is a sweet and rich pastry made of layers of filo pastry filled with chopped nuts, sweetened with syrup or honey, and flavored with spices such as cinnamon and cloves. It is a popular dessert in various Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines.
    • Ingredients: Layers of filo pastry, chopped nuts (often pistachios or walnuts), syrup or honey, spices (such as cinnamon and cloves)
    • Texture: Crunchy and crisp layers of filo pastry with a soft, moist filling
    • Flavor: A harmonious blend of sweetness from the syrup or honey and nuttiness from the chopped nuts, enhanced by the warm spices
    • Shape: Typically rectangular or diamond-shaped pieces
    • Size: Can vary in size, but individual pieces are usually small and bite-sized

Missing your favorite food?


Ranking factors for popular food

  1. Cultural significance
    Traditional foods and dishes that hold cultural value and have been a part of the Iraqi cuisine for generations need to be considered.
  2. Local ingredients
    Foods that predominantly use local and easily procurable ingredients and cater to the agricultural strengths of the region are more likely to be popular.
  3. Flavor profile
    Foods with unique flavors that cater to the preferences of the local population should be considered.
  4. Frequency of consumption
    Foods that are consumed more often in daily life or during special occasions would naturally rank higher.
  5. Variations and adaptations
    Foods that have various regional or family adaptations and can be enjoyed in multiple forms also contribute to their popularity.
  6. Ease of preparation
    Foods that can be prepared at home with relative ease or are commonly available at restaurants and food stalls should be factored in.
  7. Nutritional value
    Foods that offer nutritional benefits and cater to dietary preferences and restrictions prevalent in the region may contribute to their popularity.
  8. Historical roots
    Understanding the historical roots and development of foods and cuisine can provide insight into their prominence in the local food culture.
  9. Influence of different cultures
    Iraq has been influenced by several cultures throughout history, and this should be taken into account when considering the popularity of certain dishes.
  10. Word-of-mouth and social factors
    Foods that are commonly discussed or recommended by locals or are popular for social gatherings can influence popularity rankings.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular food in Iraq. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or food is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 193 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Movers & Shakers

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each food once every 24 hours. The rank of each food is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular food in iraq

Iraq is a country with a rich history and culture, reflected in its cuisine. Iraqi cuisine is a blend of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Persian influences. The most popular food in Iraq includes a variety of dishes such as kebabs, biryani, falafel, hummus, and kubba. Iraqis are known for their love of spices, and many dishes use a combination of herbs and spices like cumin, coriander, and saffron. The Iraqi cuisine also emphasizes the use of fresh and seasonal ingredients, making it not only flavorful but also healthy. Iraqi food is often served with bread, such as naan or pita, and with tea, which is a staple beverage in the country. Overall, Iraqi cuisine is a delicious fusion of flavors and textures that reflects the country's rich history and diverse culture.

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