Every dish in Kurdistan has a story

Sehriban Matyar and Şimel Beyik, who research and present the local dishes and flavors of Kurdistan to the people of Amed, say that each dish has its own story.

Just like every locality has historical and cultural codes, Kurdistan also has its own unique codes. One of them is represented by the food culture. The dishes in Amed, Serhad, Xerzan and Botan have a story or an infrastructure consisting of the flavors of that region.

Shahriban Matyar and Şimel Beyik offer local foods in Kurdistan to the citizens in the place they opened in Amed. Matyar and Şimel also contribute to Kurdish culture by producing new dishes.

Matyar adds new flavors to the dishes she prepares by visiting the cities and rural areas in Kurdistan, collecting special plants.

New meals

Matyar said that many dishes changed their names according to the regions, and added: “The Nîsk food is called hebenîsk in Zazaki and the name remained that way. When I went to Hakkari and did research on local dishes, I saw that the food was usually made with yogurt and meat. That's why, for example, they call the dishes made with yogurt 'Masteva'. There is also a dessert called 'Lalepet' in Hakkari. In the past, this dessert was made for shepherds in that region to keep them full when they went to the countryside to graze animals. Now it has become a local dessert. There is also a dish called 'Cimîlik' in Silvan. It is made from molasses, butter and roasting. Those who eat it can stay full with a meal until the evening. Because all three foods in it are heavy.”

Food varies by region

Matyar said: “The herbs collected in the countryside in Hakkari during the summer months are dried and added to the dishes made in the winter months. There was a thing called 'Şûrexwirî' in Şemzînan (Şemdinli). They mix herbs into the dough and make their bread like that. There is a difference between a weed or a plant in Amed and those in other regions. They vary in terms of taste and name. They made a meal according to whatever they had on hand. This is valid for every region. The tastes of Botan, Serhad and Amed also change according to their sociology and region.”

Meals from every region

Şimel Beyik said that the people of Amed generally like meat dishes, but, she added: “We also have meals for vegetarians and vegans. We have dishes where we use olive oil, but we also use sunflower oil. We do not only cook dishes from the Amed region, we take care to cook dishes from each region. Here we showcase the flavors of Serhad, Bashur Kurdistan and all other regions. In the past, there were no restaurants or eating out habits, so there was no difference and richness in food. But now there are people from all over in Amed. As it is a city of immigration, civil servants and students, we have to consider everyone's taste.”

New flavors and dishes

Beyik said: “Stuffed food is prepared with different flavors in each region. Although it is made in almost the same way, the spices or some ingredients may be different. That's why the names of the dishes can change. As to people’s taste, Amed people are traditional in this regard. They are close to different tastes. But some people want to try different dishes. That's why we make new food and dishes by doing research into the various culinary traditions. For example, we make stuffed peppers and meatballs with yoghurt in the oven, and we see that they have considerable success. Since we have been doing this business for years, we now know who will want what kind of food or how to create new dishes.”