Iraqi food is similar to the cuisine of its neighboring countries, Turkey, Persia, Iran and Syria, and typical meals consist of stuffed vegetables, rice, yogurt and lamb, or beef and poultry with fruit. Iraq is the world's largest producer of dates. Other staples include wheat, rice, barley, apples, stone fruits and citrus fruits.
A traditional Iraqi meal usually starts off with mezza, which means an assortment of appetizers and salads. Classic mezza dishes are tabbouleh salad, pita bread and fried aubergine with tahini sauce. Baba ghanoush, hummus and tzatziki sauce are often used for dipping.
Soups and stews are prominent in Iraqi cuisine, with some popular ones consisting of lentils, white beans and vegetables and stewed chicken with stoned, ground wheat. Various types of fried pastries, dumplings and meatballs are often found on an Iraqi table, including stuffed grape leaves, falafel and samosas.
Some common Iraqi dishes are grilled meat sandwich wraps, grilled kebabs marinated in lemon juice, garlic and spices, a stew made from lamb, tomato and okra, rice and lamb with spices and raisins, minced meat with grains and spices and grilled fish with tamarind and pepper. Many Iraqi dishes are served alongside long-grained rice and various breads or pastries. Iraqi cuisine often features strongly seasoned sauces and condiments.