Breakfast to tickle my heart…

My husband knows the way to my heart. Well, now he does! Not on Valentine’s day, not on my birthday, not an anniversary and no, I still have not completed The Thesis. But the experience was such that it felt like it was an occasion we are celebrating.

I love my breakfasts. Everyone who knows me knows I am a cranky one without a good breakfast. Today, I am in for a little surprise.


We are off to the Qalat (Erbil Citadel), before anyone in my neighbourhood has opened their eyes. There is something magical about visiting the heart of any city in the early morning hours. The smell of a fresh start, memories of yesterday left behind on empty roads. It smells, looks and feels like a different places. What is familiar in the hustle and bustle of a noisy city, feels unfamiliar and new in the early morning hours.

I am as excited as my kids are when they are allowed to have a piece of sweet.


I sit on a wooden bench, listening to classical Kurdish music from the time before I was born. I have an old soul, I know! And the smell of naan from the nanawa adjacent to our breakfast place sparks joy within me, as Marie Kondo would say. I look around in amusement, as my kids would when in the sweet isle. Except as I’m smiling you can probably see my molars and premolars. The little place is just behind the bata road, opposite the Qaysari bazaar, hidden away, yet everyone seems to know exactly where it is.


I speak quietly, I almost whisper. You see, in places like this you do this, because people are sat a few inches away from you. I hear every conversation, every feeling and every rumour in town. A few more hours here and I can write a book about people who are yet to start their day: The workers, the builders, the cleaners, the business owners, the painter, the jeweller; people from all walks of life. There is no difference here between the wealthy and the poor. I love that! And I love listening to their conversations. Here, strangers talk to each other!

I want maast (yoghurt) w naan. Kurdish maast. Warm naan. Cha. Lots of cha. In fact can I have se cha next to each other? And yes, please, with sugar. lots of sugar. And Kaka, another naan please.


The menu is simple. Order. Eat. Leave. Pay before you leave!

Sometimes it’s about the experience. The richness of the culture in the experience. This was what this breakfast was all about. Simple, full of life, colour, culture and we ended it with a walk around the Qalat before the working day began.

If you ever have breakfast at the heart of Hawler, please let me know!

Love from My Nest in Kurdistan


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