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Food issues

melbourne, australia
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195 posts
27 reviews
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Food issues

I have a very sensitive stomach and am also allergic to shellfish. I'm hoping I will be able to enjoy some of the local cuisine, although I must admit I am not a vey adventurous eater when it comes to eating different types of meats. I am wondering about a few things:

I don't see chicken mentioned much in the restaurant forums when people are critiquing their meals. Is chicken not very common?

Do restaurants usually have vegetarian options?

Do restaurants in Istanbul follow any food handling guidlines to avoid cross contamination.

I love bread & pastries. Are there any Turkish specialities? Savoury & sweet.

I may add that my husband has no food issues at all and will want to sample everything in sight!!!!!

Istanbul, Turkey
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
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1. Re: Food issues

Hi kobe,

You dont need to worry, a wide range of food types available in Turkish cuisine. Chicken dishes are widely available in restaurants but not as famous as others so this could be a reason for not mentioning. Btw, chicken puding (tavukgöğsü) is a famous one and I think it was mentioned few times before.

Vegetable dishes are also widely available, needless to count all. Most of Turkish mezes (cold starters) are made of vegetables. On restaurnts menus, you may not be able to find word "vegetarian" but this doesnt mean that there're no vegetarian options. When you get a menu, ask waiter for vegetarian options. Restaurant advices available on my blog also.

Turks are on top of list consuming bread, you should try sesame rings (simit), available at every corner. If you visit a bakery or simit house, options are much more.

Maybe some Turkish kebabs may not fit you because of animal fat used with meat. You'll not have any problem on food in Turkey at all.

Alper

http://locallypera.blogspot.com

http://kozano.wordpress.com

Istanbul
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for Istanbul
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2. Re: Food issues

kobe, Istanbul is a culinary heaven.

Chicken is eaten a lot at homes and restaurants. I do not know those reviews, but at every restaurant there will be a few chicken dishes on the menu.

being a vegeterian is no problem in Istanbul. Restaurants have lots of vegetable dishes on the menu. Furthermore what is called "meze" in Turkish (appetizer) are basically various vegetable and fish dishes. Have a look: "http://www.giritlirestoran.com/pop/y01.htm".

I am sure large and established restaurants have their own rules, but I am not aware of the details.

Istanbul is bread, pastry and sweets heaven. There are numerous stores everywhere offering Turkish delicacies. Have a look. "istanbuleats.com/2009/…". Also Saray Muhallebicisi, Gulluoglu Baklava, Hafiz Mustafa, Cafer Erol, Haci Bekir, Baylan (for its Coup Grillet), Altan Sekerleme, Kahve Dunyasi, etc. are all well known sweet, pastry, and candy stores.

good luck,

enigma...

London
Destination Expert
for Gumbet, Bitez
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16 reviews
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3. Re: Food issues

You will certainly find chicken and vegatarian dishes on all menus so don't worry.

As for bread an sweet pastries you are going to the right place, there is a huge choice and all yummy ;-)

Washington DC...
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4. Re: Food issues

you needn't worry. there are chicken and MANY vegetarian dishes on every menu we encountered. We also traveled one time in Turkey with 2 vegetarian family members and they were delighted and amazed at their options at each and every meal. There also are some pure vegetarian restaurants (and a few vegan places) if you are worried about cross-contamination.

and the sweets and pastries...bring pants with elastic waistbands! :)

melbourne, australia
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195 posts
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5. Re: Food issues

Thank you all for your replies. I think I didn't make myself very clear....my main concern is cross contamination from shellfish that I am actually allergic too. So my main concern is about the food handling laws/practices over there.

I am not actually a vegetarian, I was just thinking that eating vegetable based dishes and breads and pastries may be a safer option for me.

I would prefer, if even just for my husbands sake, to still be able to go to restaurants that serve meat... will it be difficult will it be to find places that do not serve any shellfish of any kind if cross contamination is going to be an issue?

Edited: 02 February 2012, 22:52
Surrey, UK
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6. Re: Food issues

There are certainly some restaurants that serve only meat.... ie no seafood of any kind - and so they will always be 'safe' for you.

If I was seriously allergic (ie anaphylaxis) to shellfish, I would not trust any restaurant that has shellfish on the premises to be 100% safe for you.

Washington DC...
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758 posts
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7. Re: Food issues

from my limited 14 days in istanbul, i saw many more restaurants with just fish, and no shellfish; but as gonetothedogs says, there are many with no fish or shellfish on the menu. even if someone suggested or professes a standard that the restaurants follow, i would never trust completely what cross contamination there really is back in a kitchen (not really directing this at Istanbul as we found restaurants visibly quite clean - i would feel the same in the US if i had such an allergy)

Cincinnati, Ohio
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8. Re: Food issues

Hi, kobe22, I am allergic to fish, with fins and scales, not shellfish, your allergy and definitely the far more common allergy. If the plate or utensil touched fish, it can set me off for several hours with a very bad taste in my throat. (I can tell instantly so one bite is all I need.)

It was my perception during my visit to Istanbul that most restaurants there are what I would categorize as either "meat" restaurants or "fish

restaurants, and I just made certain to avoid the latter, which was very easy.

Edited: 02 February 2012, 23:35
melbourne, australia
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195 posts
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9. Re: Food issues

That was the reply I was hoping for Cinti. Regarding separate restaurants...not your allergy! ;)

Your allergy sounds as severe as mine....except prawns are my worst enemy! :(

Edited: 03 February 2012, 00:13
The Midwest
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33 posts
43 reviews
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10. Re: Food issues

I eat chicken all time in Turkey. As far as shellfish allergies, be careful and inform your waiter. You can also find vegan dishes quite easily. Your spouse will have no problem finding plenty to eat. Just remind him to avoid overdoing it.