is rightly famed for its
cuisine, which is rich and
savory, not particularly spicy-hot,
with abundant use of vegetables
(which makes vegetarians happy.)
you have food
allergies, read this.
based on lamb and mutton,
Turkish cuisine includes beef and chicken (no
pork, of course), as well
as all sorts of seafood.
most common preparations are roasting and grilling,
which produce the famous Turkish
kebaps, including döner
kebap, the national dish, and köfte, the
workingman's favorite. But there's
much more to Turkish cuisine than grilled meat.
As my friend Chef Eveline Zoutendijk has said, "It's
not a complicated cuisine. It
can be labor-intensive, but it
produces an amazing variety
of colors and bold flavors." More...
ingredients must be the best,
most carefully chosen.
The preparation works to enhance
the beauties and excellence of the
food more than the reputation
of the cook.
Originality and creativity,
so prized among chefs in some other
countries, are deemed appropriate in
Turkey only after one has mastered
the traditional cuisine—and
when one has created a traditional
masterpiece, there is little need for
much in the way of innovation. Innovation
cannot substitute for finesse.
cuisine has been renowned for a long
time. In 1854 the Earl of
W F Howard) visited Constantinople
and sampled Turkish food in a simple
bazaar cookshop. The understated
praise in his travelogue Diary
in Turkish and Greek Waters (1854)
reads, "We...went for our luncheon
Turkish, not kibaub, but cook-shop,
where different ragouts of meat and
vegetables are always ready in large
pans. I think the nation
has a decided turn for cookery."
cookshops that delighted Lord Carlisle
are far better now. More...
portions are small compared
to those in North America (which
are unconscionably huge). Actually, vegetables
predominate in most meals,
though many vegetable recipes use
small amounts of meat as a flavoring.
If you're not strictly vegetarian
or vegan, yet you prefer to
eat more vegetables than meat,
you'll do very well in Turkey. Here
are tips for vegetarians.
Turkish village artisanal cheeses have been discovered by local and visiting gourmets, and are now making their way into shops and onto restaurant menus. More...
baked fresh early morning for breakfast and
lunch, and late afternoon for dinner,
and varies from the common sourdough
loaf through whole-wheat loaves to rounds of leavened pide (flat
bread) to flaps of paper-thin lavaş (lah-VAHSH,
unleavened village bread baked on
produces excellent, delicately scented
honey of many varieties.
the best and easiest places to sample
Turkish cooking is in a hazır
side dishes and street foods include gözleme (fresh-baked
flat bread folded over savory ingredients—a
sort of Turkish crêpe—and börek, pastry
filled with cheese and vegetables
or meat. A traditional favorite is
for drinks, pure spring water is
always available. Drink only bottled
water. It is widely available, and will always be offered to you. Some tap water is safe, but
it's difficult to be sure.
is famous for its succulent fruit,
and thus for its fruit juices.
There's also ayran (yogurt
mixed with spring water, lightly salted—tastes like
buttermilk), which goes well with kebaps.
drinking alcohol, but many urban
Turks are European in their lifestyle
and about 15% of the population enjoy alcoholic
meals: beer, wine,
and rakı (clear
grape brandy flavored with anise
and diluted with water) are the favorites,
although gin, vodka, whiskey and liqueurs are
also served. More...
tea is the national stimulant,
even at breakfast,
and famous Turkish
coffee only a distant second.
the favored treats is Turkish
There are great half-day
Turkish cooking classes in Istanbul.
you're not in Turkey, but you crave
Turkish food, check out Tulumba.com's
selection. They'll send it anywhere
in the world (use Promotional
—by Tom Brosnahan