Going on holiday is one of those activities that starts off stressful but ends with you feeling lighter in mind and much heavier in body; as eating your way through a country is pretty much the best way to experience it. Turkey is one of those countries whose cuisine gets constantly underestimated. Consistently associated with late-night fast food kebab shops, most people aren’t aware just how varied and exotic the Turkish cuisine is, and the Turkish are foodies by nature.
|Image by William Neuhelsel via Flickr|
The Breakfast Club
The Turks love breakfast, and if you go to Turkey you will love it too. You can go heavy or light here, but the Turks tend to serve a large breakfast that mixes the elements of a Med morning meal with olives, tomatoes, cucumber, yoghurt and honey, with the more savoury delicacies of the Middle East, like eggs, a cured beef called pastirma, and soups. But we’re not done, because you’ll usually find sweet breads offered too, like the popular simit, a mix between a bagel, pretzel and a doughnut, this circular bread is typically coated in sesame seeds and made with molasses. You can locate a fresh simit from street vendors if you’re out in the morning, and then wash it down with a famous sweet Turkish coffee, and you’ll have enough energy to make it through until lunch.
If you take your Turkey holidays during the summer months, the weather can get ferociously hot. Luckily, with so many coastal towns, you’ll be able to take a cool dip in the famous turquoise waters on the Turkish coast. First Choice offers flights year round to many of these coastal locations if you want to embrace the sun and sand, but of course, high temperatures can make eating heavy, meaty meals hard during the day. However, the Turks compensate for this by leaning towards light vegetable dishes, usually consisting of aubergines or peppers, which are sometimes fried, sometimes roasted but almost always served with a side of cool yoghurt dipping sauce.
Dining for Dinner
Dinner is not to be missed, after a long day of touring or swimming, the temperature will start to drop to a balmy level, and if you’d had a light Turkish lunch, you’ll be ready for a heavy Turkish dinner. Meat plays a big part in the dinner meal, and this is a good time to indulge in some more traditional dishes. Manti is often compared to ravioli, but it is actually dumplings, usually made with lamb or beef, and served with a spicy yoghurt sauce. Kebabs are of course available, but unlike in the UK, the options are endless; try the İskender kebap— touted as the favourite meal of Alexander the Great — which is tender meat (lamb/chicken) that is roasted, then served in a rich tomato sauce, with a side of pita and yoghurt. End the evening with a Turkish tea if you want an early night, but if you want a late one, throw back a glass of the local grog, an aniseed flavoured spirit called Rakı.
Turkey brings together the best of the Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Balkan cuisines to create varied and exciting Turkish dishes that change from region to region, if you’re a foodie, Turkey is a place that needs to be on your bucket list.