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Watch: Kurdish Cuisine Finds an Unlikely Home in Nashville

Where to find traditional Middle Eastern dishes in the country music capital

"The beauty of the United States," says Kasar Abdulla, a Kurdish refugee who moved to Nashville in 1996, "is that for breakfast I can have German pancakes, by lunch I can have Italian lasagna, and for dinner I can have Kurdish yaprakh." This blend of cuisines is highlighted in "Little Kurdistan," today’s featured video from the Southern Foodways Alliance documentary series.

Kurdistan is a region rather than a defined nation; it covers parts of modern day Syria, Iran, Iraq, and Turkey and houses about 28 million people. Abdulla is one of many Kurds who have found a home in Tennessee, either by choice or through placement after time spent in Middle Eastern refugee camps — the Kurdish population in Nashville numbers about 13,000, 0.7% of the city's nearly 1.8 million people. According to Abdulla, the blending of her Kurdish and American identities can be occasionally challenging but is always rewarding, especially in a community as tightly knit as Nashville's Little Kurdistan. Watch the video above to learn more.

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