Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Day B: Baklawa, and red buses

This April, I will be participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge, writing about the A to Z of Iraqi Culture. Do give in your own two cents in the comments below and let me know if you have anything to add or something similar to share from your own culture.

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No Iraqi gathering is complete without an assortment of baqlawa - a pastry filled with nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey; the sweeter and more fattening, the better.

Baqlawa arrived in Iraq with the Ottoman Empire, although there are ancient Mesopotamian cookbooks that suggest similar sweet dishes existed centuries before that in the same land. Iraqi baqlawa is usually more likely to also contain some cardamom and an extra citrus zest.


Baqlawa takes a special place of importance in Ramadan, when fasting Muslims try to stock up as much food as possible after sun-break. It is really no mystery why so many Iraqis suffer from diabetes!

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People of Baghdad who don't own their own transport can always rely on the red double-deckers, more commonly known as the Amanah. A bus is a cheap alternative to riding an orange taxi, with the ticket costing around 500 dinars (almost 40 cents).

A red double-deck bus on Al-Sarrafiyya Bridge
Red buses making their way through the city
The red buses which were a distinct feature of the city, disappeared after the invasion of 2003, but last year saw their return.

Sorry, London, but you're not the only city with red double-deckers!

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27 comments:

  1. I've always wanted to try baqlawa! :O
    It's on my list.

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  2. That looks soooo yummy! Didn't there are red buses in Baghdad, too.
    Jenn @Scribbles From Jenn

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  3. Baqlawa sound intriguing. It's fascinating to learn about things from other cultures.

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  4. Hello! What a cool idea for a theme. Baqlawa sounds deeelicious!! And I'm a big fan of the red double-decker buses. I wish the U.S. had those!!

    Happy A to Z-ing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

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  5. Oh, that looks so yummy! Wish I could smell and eat some for breakfast today!

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  6. I love Baklawa - and used to make it .. not as well as these delicious looking goodies though ..

    Red buses in Iraq - a first for me ..

    Cheers Hilary

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  7. Wow!! I'm salivating!! Can't wait to try some!! And, India also has red double-decker buses you know....they're a lot of fun to ride on!! :)

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  8. Ooh they look good, I'm a sucker for sweet things :)

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  9. Learning about food helps me step back in history. Honey of course has to be part of so many dishes -- there it was for the taking. Always enjoy reading your blog.

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  10. I love Baklawa, a different way a spelling, I would have to hide it as DD2 is allergic to nuts. I am enjoying your blog. It is good to learn about others.
    Katie atBankerchick Scratchings

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  11. I tried making baklava once- i am afraid it wasn't as good as it could have been, but ohhh I certainly finished it!

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  12. Baklava is delicious. A little shop near us sells a particularly fine baklava. Those old red buses look just like the ones I used to go to school on many years ago in Leicester UK (which is a long way from London!)

    Rosalind Adam is Writing in the Rain

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  13. I now desire some baklawa with an intensity only felt by poets and lovers. Also, I've not yet had lunch. :-)

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  14. Baqlawa is in my list of foods to try. Too bad I live in a small town and can't find anything. My trips into big cities usually consists of tracking down ethnic foods I want to try.

    Dropping in from A to Z. This is my first year.

    Brett Minor
    Transformed Nonconformist

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  15. Baklava is one of my favorites - had plans on posting a picture of some (that my husband brought back from Jordan) under "E" for Eating. Looking forward to the rest of your A - Z posts!

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  16. I love baklava! If I hadn't stuffed my face with chocolate during the last few days I'd be popping straight out to the shops to get some!

    (Grover at Inane Ramblings)

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  17. I love baklava.

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

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  18. Baklava is delicious.
    According to our elders, Baghdad is known as a flourishing city. I hope that it gets to flourish again. Thanks for sharing the pics.

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  19. Thanks for the lovely journey ~ a taste of your culture. I've been lucky enough to enjoy baklava and wouldn't mind a piece right now. I plan to 'grab a cuppa' {that's Aussie slang} and return to enjoy more of your blog. Hope that's okay.

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  20. Baqlawa ♥ I'd really like to try the Iraqi kind.
    & I so did not know Iraq had double deckers :O Whoa. I may just aim to go there one day, rather than London ^_^

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  21. This is one of the best foods on earth. Thanks for sharing :)

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  22. Our buses aren't as fancy - But, this is how i travel around my area, too.
    I am glad to read some happy things are returning.
    love & love,
    -g-

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  23. We have red double deckers in Mumbai too. I don't doubt that the British introduced them to our part of the world. The main thing is that public transport is cheap and frequent in India and a good incentive for many (but not all) people to leave their cars at home.

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  24. We do the Baklawa thing too.. Whenever we go to visit relatives I search for the tray of Baklawa and claim the seat next to it :)

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  25. LOVE LOVE LOVE Baqlawa, they are really yummy, sadly it's been so many time since I last tasted them :(

    xx

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