- Your Safety
- Car hire
- Dining out
- Eating and Drinking
- Money matters
- Police stations
- Ringing Home
- Roads (Driving)
- Room (apartment)Damage
- After dark
- Women Travellers
- Laundry and Dry cleaning
- Carpets and Kilims
- Turkey Through The Year
- Where to Eat
- Traveller's Needs
Eating and Drinking
Turkish cuisine rates as one of the best in the world and many restaurants specialise in particular dishes.
If you fancy a snack, consider a tasty Turkish pizza (pide) or a börek, a wafer thin, flaky pastry with a meat or cheese filling.
One of the delights of Turkish meals are the meze in an astonishing variety: Aubergines stuffed with onions and garlic, vine leaves with rice, nuts and raisins, haricot beans in tomato sauce, succulent roast peppers, cold dips with bread... the choice is so vast, you could make a whole meal out of meze alone. Meze: Are "Hors d'oeuvres" or appetizers figuring mainly at meals accompanied by wine or raki . Eaten sparingly, they arouse the appetite before the meal proper. Examples of meze include gozleme, fried aubergines with yogurt, lakerda (bonito pre-served in brine), pastirma (pressed beef), kisir, humus, fish croquettes, and lambs' brains with plenty of lemon juice. At many restaurants a selection of meze is brought to the table on a tray immediately after the drinks are served for the customers to make their choice. Many mezes are vegetable dishes and therefore great for vegetarians.
Another popular starter is soup. Look out for the delicious lentil soup, mercimek corbasi
Surrounded on three sides by sea, Turkey has access to an abundance of fish and shellfish. Varieties include the familiar and the not so familiar - such as shark, sea bass and swordfish. A typical main cours fish dish is simply prepared and sumptuously fresh. Many fish are priced by weight, so check with the waiter when you order as it can be expensive.
Turkish meat dishes are usually grilled, roasted or barbecued, chicken and lamb are the most common ingredients. Döner kebabs and shish kebabs need no introduction - except that what you taste here is infinitely superior to anything youve ever had at home, however, why not try Iskender kebab or Tas kebab which is more like a casseroled dish. A cheaper alternative for meat lovers is köfte, grilled, spicy meatballs.
Desserts : Turkey is famous for its mouth-watering, sticky desserts. The best known is baklava, a nutty pastry drenched in syrup. Milk-based desserts are also popular, such as the sweet rice pudding sütlaç.
Turkish Delight, known as lokum, comes in a range of flavors. You can often taste a selection before buying.
Tea (çay) is the Turkish national drink and is served without milk in tiny tulip-shaped glasses with sugar cubes on the saucer.
Turkish coffee is strong, thick and sweet. If you want it without sugar, you must say so
Other non-alcoholic drinks worth sampling include freshly squeezed fruit juices, available in a range of flavours and ayran, a drink made from yoghurt, salt and water.
Alcoholic drinks are readily available in tourist areas, although you may have to abstain if you wander off the beaten track. Beer comes in two main brands - the locally brewed Efes Pilsen and Tuborg although specialist beers are becoming more wildly available. Turkish wines are cheap and surprisingly good. One of the best is Çankaya, which is matured in wood.
The Turkish national aperitif is raki, an aniseed-flavoured spirit that clouds when water is added. It is stronger than it looks, and it is no coincidence that its nickname is Lions Milk.
Coffee Among Turks
The origin of coffee is the continent of Africa and it is interesting that the first coffee addicts are goats. The monks living in the monasteries of South Abyssinia noticed that the goats became livelier when they ate the seeds of a certain plant. The monks themselves began to boil and drink this plant. These seeds, which take their name from Kaffa, the place where they were found, and later called coffee, passed to Yemen and to Mecca from South Abyssinia at the end of the Middle Ages. The Muslims who came there as pilgrims took coffee back to their own countries. The Turks were introduced to coffee after Sultan Selim I conquered Egypt. The spread of coffee drinking and the opening of coffee houses everywhere occured during the period of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. The first coffee house was opened in Tahtakale (1553 1554) by Halepli Hakem and Şamlı Şems. While drinking coffee in these coffee houses, seated on divans, kneeling or sitting cross-legged, people would listen to the tales of public storytellers. Coffee was made with great care and offered to guests, not only in coffee houses, but also at meetings in ancient Turkish residences and houses of İstanbul and Anatolia. Coffee has a distinct form and special vessels are used in its preparation. Raw coffee beans are first roasted in coffee pans, and then put into wooden coolers. The cooled coffee is then ground with coffee grinders and stored in coffee boxes. For the preparation of coffee, coffee jugs or pots are used. In some regions, coffee is made on braziers with jug sets called coffee style. When the coffee is ready, the fluid is poured into coffee cups and served. The coffee cups are made of porcelain. They do not have a handle, instead they are put in cup holders made of materials such as silver or gold. The cup holder is used as the handle.We Turks, who are famous for our hospitality, have used coffee as the subject of our proverbs, and folk songs.