A fusion of flavor and tradition

Iraqi dates dominate imports at Sulaymaniyah markets

SULAYMANIYAH, January 28 — Iraqi dates have taken center stage in the markets of Sulaymaniyah, becoming the preferred choice of locals over imported varieties due to their distinctive flavors. One vendor attributes this preference to the unique taste of Iraqi dates and the emerging cultural trend of enjoying them with tea. These dates are meticulously displayed in stores, often arranged in elegant pyramid or mountain formations, reflecting the growing popularity of this cultural indulgence.

Sarwan Mawlood, a date seller in Sulaymaniyah, explained: “Residents of Sulaymaniyah enthusiastically purchase Iraqi dates, often savoring them with tea during breakfast or when families gather around hearths in their homes in the afternoon and evening. The most commonly consumed Iraqi date varieties include Breemi, Barhi, and Ashrasi.

“The practice of enjoying dates with tea is a recent cultural trend among Sulaymaniyah residents, influenced by the migration of people from the central and southern regions who introduced the tradition of incorporating this fruit into various dishes and sweets.”

Mawlood mentioned that they offer 16 varieties of dates in Sulaymaniyah markets, including imports from Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Iran, and other countries. However, there is significant demand for dates from the central and southern regions of Iraq due to their taste and reasonable prices. Imported dates, despite their more aesthetic appearance, do not enjoy the same level of demand.

The prices of Iraqi dates range from 2,000 to 14,000 Iraqi dinars per kilogram, whereas Palestinian dates, for example, can reach up to 20,000 Iraqi dinars per kilogram.