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Dining in Turkey

Turkish grill - peppers and kabob

Happy Thanksgiving!  While everyone in America is feasting on Turkey, I thought I show you how I feasted in Turkey.  Now enough with the puns, onto the food!

Turkish grill - peppers and kabob

The delicious and ubiquitous grilled pepper

I have to say, overall we ate very well in Turkey!  I love that style of cooking and was pleasantly surprised whenever I ordered something that I didn’t quite understand.  I’ve already written about fish in Istanbul, sour plums and beautiful stuffed mussels but that’s only the tip of the culinary iceberg!

Turkish grill kabob

An easy to find and delicious meal – a kabob grill in Bodrum.  (After this photo, the chef asked to be photographed showing off at the grill, but sadly the picture didn’t turn out.)

Our pension in Ephesus offered an evening meal which we did one nights we were there.  Here’s the full dinner spread: lemony lentil soup, zucchini fritter, fried chicken, stewed green beans, stuffed pepper, spiced yogurt dip, rice, salad, bread and a milk custard desert!  I could only eat this much because I’d spent literally 8 hours walking around the ancient ruins of Ephesus.

full Turkish dinner in Ephesus

Turkish Gözleme are a cross between a quesadilla and a crepe and can be filled with meat, cheese and/or spinach. Somehow they always seemed to be prepared by an older lady sitting by a griddle.

Gözleme preparation and cooking at Hierapolis

Gözleme preparation and cooking at Hierapolis

Thanks to a tip I’d seen online while preparing for our trip, we went to the Pasazade Restaurant in the Sultanahmet area of Istanbul.  The food is based on historic Ottoman palace recipes.  The dishes were amazing and the service was impeccable.  At one point, we started chatting with the manager who stressed that with this restaurant they were trying to produce good, authentic food in a neighborhood that tends to be filled with average quality tourist spots.

Ottoman palace food, Pasazade Restaurant, Istanbul

Ottoman palace food, Pasazade Restaurant, Istanbul

fish case, Bodrum, Turkey

Sticking mostly to the western coast, seafood was a reliable and excellent meal – restaurant fish case in Bodrum

vegetable cornbread, Turkey

Hamsili ekmek, an anchovy and vegetable cornbread, bought in Anadolu Kavağı (along with yogurt from Kanlıca) for our return trip down the Bosporus

I didn’t photograph breakfast, but I loved starting the day with tomatoes, cheese and simit, a seseme seed bread.

Of course my favorite meal was a selection of meze or, given my level of Turkish, a “point and eat” meal.  This did mean we once had stewed liver in Bergama, but while surprising, that was good too.

Meze salad case, Bodrum peninsula

Meze salad case, Bodrum Peninsula

meze close-up

Some personal favorites: sea beans, roasted eggplant puree and herbs in yogurt

Since returning from Turkey, I’ve added the following food blogs to my roll and am slowly attempting my favorite dishes:

Ozlem’s Turkish Table – authoritative recipes and great travel photos from a chef now n England

Almost Turkish Recipes – delicious recipes and elegant food photos from a grad student now in the US

Zesty Moments – lifestyle blog of Sedef Piker, art historian extraordinary of Sedef’s Corner

Afiyet olsun!

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thanks for the blog links…I have also been to Turkey so I understand the urge to recreate their food. I have since come to love walnuts in food since they use it in so many dishes there,


    November 22, 2012
    • Thanks! An authentic, easy to follow food blog is worth a lot. Good luck recreating the recipes at home.

      Thanks for reminding me about walnuts! I didn’t even cover the incredible deserts and all the uses for pistachio. (Most of that food got eaten too fast to photograph.)


      November 22, 2012
  2. Ooh, appetizing photos, Christina! From the lentil soup to the Turkish crepes and dazzling meze selection, Turkey looks a culinary destination I’d love to dig into.


    November 22, 2012

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