Turkish Food

In Turkey most food is prepared from fresh ingredients, and in many of the resorts fish is fresh and plentiful. There are many small farms and local growers around and therefore an abundance of wonderfully fresh fruit and vegetables.

Turkish breakfast consists of slices of beyaz peynir (white cheese), preserves, (honey, jam etc.) black olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, clotted cream (kaymak), boiled eggs and bread . It is usual to drink Cay (tea) at breakfast time. Tea I Turkey is served black in small glasses, with or without sugar.

A few things to try for snacks or lunch

Gozleme – a flat lava bread, stuffed wth ingredients them baked on a griddle.

Fillings include:

spinakli = with spinach
karisik = with everything
kasar peynirli = with yellow cow's milk cheese
katmer = plain
kiymali = with ground lamb
patatesli = with mashed potatoes

Pide - a turkish style Pizza

Kumpir – Baked Potatoes are a popular lunchtime snack – fillings include cheese, mayonnaise, ketchup, pickles, sweetcorn, sliced green and black olives, sausage slices, carrots, steamed peas, mushrooms and Russian salad

 

Evening meals often start with a selection of Meze


Meze - small servings of salads and snacks,

stuffed mussels (midye dolma), humus, pureed aubergine salad (patlican salatasi), stuffed vine leaves (yaprak dolma) and Circassian chicken (cevizli tavuk). Among the selection of hot mezes are usually borek, (thin layers of flaky pastry stuffed with cheese, meat or spinach), sautéed lamb's liver with onions and kalamari and stuffed mussels.


Then its on to main courses. Grilled fish, meat, meatlballs (kofte) and kebap is the mainstays, these are accompanied by vegetables and salads and baskets of bread. Other accompaniments include cous cous and mashed potatoes. It is usual to pick out your own fish from a selection, if you are not used to buying whole fish this can be a bit daunting, so ask for help. Sea Bass, Bream, Red Mullet are easy to identify. Pork is not available, but lamb, beef and chicken make up a range of dishes. Tripe and Liver are also used in a number of dishes. As well as grilled meat you will find casseroles and stews with meat and/or bean bases. (like cassoulet).

 

Cakes, pastries, sweets and desserts include Baklava, Turkish Delight, less well known are Lokma which is a type of sweet doughnut, and Sutlac which is a type of rice pudding. Gelatto is also widely available as well as many desserts that are recognised worldwide such as gateaux and cheesecakes.


Turkish Coffee is an acquired taste, it is thick and tar like, you can also get italian style coffee in restaurants.

 

Street Food is fantastic In Turkey. Here are some common foods you can buy cheaply from street vendors. (reference Mella from www.kusadasi.biz .com)


Kebap – beef lamb and chicken skewers of meat that are griddled with spices, very different from Kebabs that are available elsewhere

Börek – a flaky pastry consisting of several thin layers, often with a specific shape and/or filling. You’ll see locals entering these tiny shops for a quick breakfast or lunch. Among my favorites are ıspanaklı börek (with spinach filling), peynirli börek (with cheese filling), kıymalı börek (with minced meat filling) and patatesli börek (with potato filling). If you prefer it rather plain, you can’t go wrong with su böreği.

Pide – a slightly leavened, flat pizza like bread. They again come in different styles, with Kaşarlı Pide (melted cheese) and Sucuklu Pide (melted cheese and spicy sausage) among the most popular.

Lahmacun – a Turkish-style pizza. A very thin round piece of pide, with a cheese and tomato layer as well as some (minced) meat. It is often served with a salad and a few pieces of lemon in a side dish. You’ll see locals topping the pizza with the salad, sprinkling is with lemon and making a roll out of it.

Mısır – freshly boiled or grilled corn on the cob, often sprinkled with salt or spices. This popular snack is almost exclusively sold during the summer months by the real street sellers with their push-cars.

Kestane
– due to the lack of corn in winter, the street vendors mentioned above shift to roasted chestnuts in winter time.

Balık ekmek – literaly translated ‘fish bread’. And that’s basically what it is — freshly caught fish, grilled or fried in front of your eyes and stuffed inside a large piece of bread.

Simit – a crisp, ring-shaped, savory roll covered with sesame. Sold by street sellers with glass-fronted push-cars. There are two main versions: sokak simit (sold on the streets and very crispy) and pastane simit (sold in shops and softer).

Açma – a ring-shaped savory bun - a Turkish-style dougnut if you will. It’s soft but also a bit oily.

Poğaça – a flaky, savory pastry. You can go for the plain one (sade) or choose one with a filling: peynirli (cheese), kıymalı (minced meat), or my personal favorite - zeytinli (black olives)

Midye dolma – stuffed mussels. If you’re a fan, you may want to prefer eating those in a real restaurant.

Çiğ köfte – a dish made of raw ground meat, pounded wheat and red pepper. It’s a delicacy, but we all know what effect the burning sun may have on raw meat. Again, check our restaurant listing in order not to cut your holiday short.