Locals especially interested in mandi spice mix

Spice trade flourishes in Qa’im, influenced by Syrian imports

QA’IM, ANBAR, December 30 — The city of Qa’im is situated just a short distance from Syria, resulting in a number of imported goods in the local markets, including spices.

The significant difference in value of the Syrian pound against the Iraqi dinar plays a role in boosting Syrian imports into Iraq in general, and to Qa’im specifically.

Local women in Qa’im are especially interested in the town’s spice trade and trying out new recipes, like mandi, which is no longer just Yemen’s national dish, but a local favorite. Restaurants specializing in the spiced rice dish have become ubiquitous across Iraqi cities.

Qutaiba Al-Qaimi, owner of one of the most famous spice shops in the city, notes that the demand for Syrian spice blends surpasses others. Their flavors are mild, and the quality is high, with prices being reasonable due to the currency difference between the Iraqi dinar and the Syrian pound, which is currently not at its best.

Regarding the most sought-after spices, Al-Qaimi points out there is a consistent demand for blends used in popular dishes such as hareeseh and dolma. However, the spice blend that overwhelmingly tops the list is the mandi spice mix. Many homemakers seem to have a strong determination to master the art of making this dish at home, presenting an unspoken challenge to restaurants.

List of prices for key spices at Qutaiba Al-Qaimi’s spice shop:

Mandi Spice Mix (per kilogram): 12,000 dinars
Turmeric (per kilogram): 8,000 dinars
Curry (per kilogram): 8,000 dinars
Ginger (per kilogram): 15,000 dinars
Dolma Spice Mix (per kilogram): 10,000 dinars