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Must-Taste Cuisine of Turkey

Must-Taste Cuisine of Turkey

Among the famous things that Turkey is known for is her diversity of mouth-watering cuisines. A visit to the country will expose you to so many delicious foods, some of which you would never think exist. The Turkish cuisine alone is enough reason to visit this country. A month cannot be enough to discover all the unique and delicious dishes from different regions.

If the length of your stay in Turkey cannot allow you to sample all their cuisines, here are some of the must-try meals:

Iskender

Iskender food

Also known as Iskender kebap, this is a well-known dish especially in the Northwestern parts of Turkey. This dish is named after the person who created it. His name was Iskender Efendi Konagi from Bursa.

This dish is made by pouring tomato sauce into a pita that is put in a cylindrical plate. A layer of slimly-sliced lamb is added on the top, which is then covered with melted sheep’s butter. Lastly, a spoonful of yogurt is added on the top. You can head to Bursa for a taste of this dish, although various restaurants in the big cities still offer it.  

Lahmacun

From a distance, Lahmacun might strike a close resemblance to a pizza but actually, it is not one. Lahmacun is made from thin dough that is layered with minced meat, tomatoes and onions and herbs such as cumin and cayenne pepper.

Once baked ready, the cook rolls it up before being served. More raw vegetables such as lettuce, onions and tomatoes can be added, then it is rolled up for eating.

Simit

Simit is another of the delicious Turkish meal. This round bread is encrusted with sesame seeds, sunflower seeds or poppy flax. When baked properly, it retains a soft interior and hard, crispy exterior.

Turkish people have been eating simit for centuries now and it seems to be many people’s staple dish regardless of their social status. Since simit is sold on almost typically every busy street in the country, it is not expensive or hard to find.  

Kahvaltı

Kahvaltı is one of the famous breakfast meals in Turkey. It is available in most of the restaurants across the country, with each of the restaurant adding their special twist to the dish. Basically, Kahvaltı contains olives, mozzarella cheese, white cheese, jam, fresh butter, bread, cucumbers and tomatoes.

You can eat it with scrambled eggs, with tomatoes and gözleme, a Turkish pancake that has a filling of cheese, potatoes or spinach. The best restaurants in Istanbul where you can get the best Kahvaltı are Café Private and Nezih.

Çiğ Köfte

The Çiğ Köfte is a popular snack in Turkey. It is a meatball that comprises of onions, bulgur, tomato paste and other spices. Although it is popular in the southeastern parts of Turkey, it is not very hard to find in many other places in the country.

Çay and Kahve

Çay and Kahve

Turkish tea and coffee are known as cay and kahve respectively. The two are must-sample beverages while in this country. The Turkish tea does not have a very strong flavor, but it is made uniquely in a cultural manner.

The coffee, on the other hand, is brewed by slowly boiling ground coffee beans in tap water, which results in a thick, flavorful coffee. The best place in Istanbul to sample the two beverages is the Grand Bazaar, which is a well know hangout joint in the city.

Things to Know for Travellers in Turkey

Things to Know for Travellers in Turkey

Turkey is a beautiful country with an amazing diversity of culture and traditions. She is also known for her fascinating cuisines, art, history, landscapes, people and unending adventure opportunities. There is so much to keep you busy throughout your entire visit in the country. It is a very exciting destination for any visitor.

Whether you will be in Turkey for only a short time or for a long vacation, you need to know some crucial things prior to your visit. Knowing the following tips will ensure that you fully enjoy traveling through Turkey.

Dress appropriately

beautiful woman wearing a dress

Turkey is a Muslim country and hence you must learn how to dress appropriately during your stay there, especially if you are a woman. At least, cover your knees and your shoulders if you are in conservative areas. If you wish to enter a mosque, cover your body well including your hair and do not forget to remove your shoes.

Turkish dresses are also known to be very stylish and fashionable. Thus, you will not have a hard time getting clothes that suit your style. Professional outfits and high heels are also acceptable, especially in the major cities.

Learn a few Turkish words

You might not have a hard time with communication if you only intend to explore the major cities. Most of the people there can communicate in English. However, if you will extend you adventure out of the cities, you will have to learn a few basic Turkish words.

Many of the Turkish people outside the cities can only speak in their native language. Learning some of their simple phrases can make your visit much easier. Learn the Turkish language within a few minutes online.

Do not allow the Turkish cuisine to sweep you off your feet

Turkey is famous for its diverse cuisines for both vegetarians and meat lovers. There is a large variety of great tasting dishes, which if not taken in moderation can make your visit an awful one. When sampling different Turkish cuisines, do not be carried away by their great taste and end up overdoing it. Moderation is the key.

If you are visiting Turkish friends, you will notice that they have a great love for cooking. Hence, as a gesture of their hospitality, they will serve you one meal after the other. To appreciate their hospitality, only take a spoonful of each course so that you can sample as much food as possible.

Learn their Culture

Although Turkey is a Muslim state, it gives her people the liberty of how they want to practice their Islamic religion. The country has a strong culture that focuses on respect and pride. That is why you must learn how to carry yourself in various situations.

Learn certain important things such as discussing politics, receiving a six-course meal from the local hosts and coping with Asian and European influences.

Sample different areas other than the cities

Hatay City Turkey

While big Turkish cities such as Istanbul, Izmir and Ankara are great places to visit, there are other amazing places in the country to sample. Head to areas like Hatay and Mardin to get a glimpse of how the country life is.

Study History

Understanding a bit of the rich Turkish history can help you navigate through the state and blend in easily. Study a few chapters of their captivating history such as the history of the Mongol’s, Kurdish, Seljuks, Syrians, Jews and the Ottomans.

Understanding Turkish Cuisine

Understanding Turkish Cuisine

One of the biggest attractions for tourists in Turkey is genuine Turkish cuisine. The history of Turkey is also a delight. Straddling the continents of Europe and Asia, this country has a lot of history. In fact, the city of Istanbul can be classified as an eternal city, that is, in the same group with cities like Jerusalem and New Delhi. But the Turkish palate delights did not just happen. Their food has a long history.

This history stems from the time that they used to eat mutton and horse meat, this cuisine has definitely come a long way. It has also survived many empires, and ultimately, has inherited qualities from every one of them. Some of the early history from the Ottoman Empire shows us that there were two types of kitchens in the empire. There was the palace kitchen where royalty food was made, and then there was the ordinary public kitchen.  

The modern Turkish cuisine may be unique to different regions. However, it is also possible to get a strong cuisine with a touch from every region, that is, the Black Sea, the Mediterranean, Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia, Aegean and other areas all found in Turkey. However, when you travel to these individual places, you may find cuisines unique to those areas only.

With a lot of influence from the modern world, is it possible to find Turkish cuisine that is practically unadulterated? Of course there is. Like every other country, Turkey has tried to preserve some of its culture and we all know that food is a big part of culture. Therefore, as a traveler, there are certain restaurants that you can go to and have a good helping of the best Turkish cuisine.

Perhaps the reason why Turkish cuisine is so fantastic is because of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, a Muslim leader who is credited with the founding of the Sufism religious philosophy, which was centered around food, with the kitchen being the most important place in any home. This was in the 13th century. Many years later, after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the cuisine would become watered down as more modern way of life was adopted as Turkey sought to fit in with the ideals of modern Europe.

Long story short, you can have delightful and authentic Turkish cuisine in these restaurants:

Bitlisli

restaurant with lots of people

This restaurant is located on Hocapasa Camii Sok, Istanbul Turkey serves authentic Turkish cuisine.  You can expect to eat great food here, and do make sure you try the fire-smoked bread, as well as lahmacun and kababs. The ambience is well… so warm and Turkish. Be sure to try the meat and the red lentil soup. The prices are friendly too. Opening hours are 9.00AM to 10.00PM.

Ciya Sofrasi

outside of a restaurant with tables and chairs

This restaurant serves authentic Turkish foods, all made from local ingredients. Apart from the very regular yoghurt and kebab, there is also the very spicy lentil soup, minced meat dishes and many more. It serves dishes from different regions in Turkey, and each dish is cooked using the traditional methods unique to it. This restaurant is located in Caferaga Mahallesi, Kadikoy, Istanbul Turkey. Ciya Sofrasi opens from 8.00AM to 10.00PM.

Mantici

front view of a restaurant

While the two first restaurants that we have reviewed here are more laid back, Mantici is more flamboyant and proud, but that does not alter the authenticity of their food. You must specifically try the manti, which is one of the most popular dishes from Turkey. It is made of meat dumplings, garlic yoghurt and tomato paste. It is pretty small, but it is so well known. The Mantici is located on Bozkurt Mahallesi, Teyyareci Fehmi Sk. No. 10, Istanbul. Opens at 9.00 AM and closes at 9.00PM.

6 Go-To Kebab Places in Istanbul

6 Go-To Kebab Places in Istanbul

Istanbul is a famous destination for people who love meat, especially kebab lovers. The next time you find yourself in Istanbul, here are some of the best places where you can enjoy mouth-watering kebabs.

Siirt Şeref Büryan Kebap Salonu

Siirt Şeref Büryan Kebap Salonu

The Siirt Şeref Büryan Kebap Salonu is a restaurant that is famous for the büryan kebab. This kind of a kebab is made from the meat of a side of a young lamb. The meat is cooked slowly over coals that have been put in a deep hole that is dug in the ground. This cooking process makes the meat very tender with a thin layer of crispy fat. This restaurant is open daily from 10.00AM to 11.00PM.

Zübeyir Ocakbasi

This is a cozy grill house that is located close to the Taksim Square. It is famous for its great tasting Turkish foods. Its visitors are allowed to sit on a few grill side seats and watch the chefs do their thing.

This joint is famous for their Adana kebab, which is made from minced meat and red pepper. You can also try out their delicious pirzola (lamb chops) and kanat (chicken wings). It opens daily from 12.00PM to midnight.

Çiya Kebap

The Ciya is one of the most famous joints in Istanbul for making great Turkish kebabs. The Fistik and the Hashasli kebabs are two of their best. The fistik is made with minced lamb meat and chopped pistachios. The latter is made from minced lamb and poppy seeds.

You can also try some of their divine seasonal kebabs such as the once grilled with garlic, loquats, cloves or quince. The place is open daily from noon up to 10.00PM.

Kebapçi Enver Usta

The Kebapçi Enver Usta is located in the serene Beyoğlu alley in Turkey. Due to their tasty kebabs, this joint is usually packed with meat lovers most of the time. It is famous for making a variety of kebabs and it does not disappoint on any of them.

The must-try is the Adana kebab, which they make from minced meat that is spiced with red paper. Their chicken kebab is also great not forgetting the appetizing ezme salatasi. This is a salad that is made from parsley, red onion, red pepper and tomatoes. This hotel is open from Monday to Saturday, from noon up to 4.00PM.

Antiochia

inside the Antiochia restaurant

Antiochia, which is famous for its tasty dishes is a small restaurant located in the Hatay Region in southern Turkey. Its meat dishes are rather simple but they do not compromise in flavors; they are tender and savory.  

While in Antiochia, be sure to try out their Şiş et, which is a dish of marinated beef cubes that are grilled over charcoal. The dürüm is also among their best dishes. It is a minced meat wrap that has tomatoes and onions. This restaurant is open from Monday to Friday, from noon to midnight and on Saturday from 3.00PM to midnight.

Dürümzade

The Dürümzade is best known for serving a dürüm, which is also known as a Turkish wrap. They make their dürüm by wrapping a lavash (a flatbread) over a chicken or minced meat kebab creating a crispy drape for the meat. The lavash is further covered with onions, tomatoes and parsley. This eatery is open every day for 24 hours.

Fun Things to Do in Turkey

Fun Things to Do in Turkey

Turkey is a beautiful travel destination that is abundant with historical and archeological sites, gorgeous beaches and very friendly people. It has such a huge variety of fun things to do that you will be spoilt for choice. It gives you a chance to immerse yourself in a blend of different cultures as you sample their flavorful cuisine.

If you are planning a trip to Turkey, here are some of the best fun things that you can do. These activities will most definitely leave you yearning for the next visit to this amazing country. Believe me, one trip visiting Turkey is not enough. You cannot see everything on one trip only.  

Visit the Aqua Vega Aquarium

happy family inside Aqua Vega Aquarium

The Aqua Vega is among the biggest underwater aquariums in Europe. Located in Ankara, this aquarium holds a capacity of 4.5 million liters in total, in both of its fresh and saltwater aquariums. It is home to thousands of intriguing sea creatures from all over the globe and it is such a fun to be place for the whole family.

A visit to this underwater aquarium gives you a chance to explore some of its fascinating spots. These include the Sea Shell Museum, the jungle corner and the Adrenaline World. In some of the spots, you get a chance to get up close and personal with different sharks and other marine creatures.

Explore the gorgeous Pamukkale Travertines

Pamukkale, also known as the Cotton Castle has extremely breathtaking scenery due to its numerous travertines. It is also home to different hot springs making it one of the most unique places in Turkey.

It attracts huge numbers of local tourists as well as international tourists. A visit to this place gives you a chance to enjoy the fascinating views of the cotton-like mini pools. Soaking your feet in the hot water springs is such an unforgettable feeling too.

Enjoy a hot air balloon trip in Cappadocia

Cappadocia is a historical and cultural region center that is located in central Anatolia in Turkey. It basically consists of rocks and hills that make fascinating natural wonders, which makes the region a popular tourist destination.

The best activity in this place is taking a hot air balloon trip early in the morning. This is a thrilling trip that gives you panoramic views of the beautiful rocky landscapes. You are also treated with a delicious champagne breakfast and awarded with a certificate of riding in an air balloon. In addition, you can explore other attractions in this area such as the famous Derinkuyu underground city among others.

Watch Whirling Dervishes

A whirling dervish is such a spectacular and captivating performance to watch. Although you may not understand the meaning behind this religious performance, you will most certainly be carried away the colorful whirling fabric and the smooth ecstasy.

Catch these performances at Galata Mevlevihanesi in Istanbul or at Muemmar Karaca Tiyatrosu every Sunday from 6.00 PM. Trust me, the whirling dervishes is a performance you would not want to miss.

Explore the Kirklareli  Dupnisa Cave

The Kirklareli Dupnisa Cave in Sardine village, Demirkoy is a natural wonder that was formed over 3 million years ago. It features numerous icicle galleries and stalactite. There is also an ice-cold river that runs inside this cave. A walk inside this cave is a thrilling and a memorable experience.

Ski or snowboard in Uludag

man snowboarding in Uludag

If you love sporting in ice, Uludag Mountain in Marmara is a wonderful destination, especially during winter. You can ski or snowboard as you enjoy Iskender, a popular Turkish kebab in a variety of hotels in that region.

Eat authentic Turkish cuisine

One of the foremost things that Turkey is known for is its cuisine. This food has a rich history, having borrowed excerpts from different cultures. However, it also has a rich and wonderful taste. When you get to Turkey, you do not want to eat local cuisine in the big hotel restaurants. It is best to go and try your hand at the small local restaurants. These ones offer unadulterated Turkish food, which will leave lasting impressions on your mind.

Try Ciya Sofrasi, Bitlisli and Mantici for their kebab and yoghurt. You also want to try the wonderful manti, which is as Turkish as they come. The Asian side of Istanbul has awesome palate delights, and so does the European side.