Last month I took a great trip through Turkey with a friend. If you are interested in what I did, check out my post titled Back From Turkey.
In that article, I didn’t cover one of my favorite parts of the trip- the adventurous food that I devoured.
People like food. I get more comments on the pictures I take of my meals than any other aspects of my trips. Because of that, I’m making separate dining posts for each location I visit. Enjoy the photos below of some of the unique dishes I sampled in Turkey.
Lots of my readers are looking for something very exotic or completely different from what they might find at home. This was the menu from a local Turkish restaurant in Bodrum. I might be losing my hardcore traveler cred, but I skipped these soups and had some amazing Doner Kabobs instead.
You might ask: “What is a Doner kabob?” You’ve probably seen Mexican restaurants serving pork “Al Pastor” from a vertical rotisserie like this one. Doner kabobs are very similar to Al Pastor pork, but are generally beef and sliced on top of a pita instead of into a taco.
Turkish kebabs are not on skewers like you would expect in a Middle Eastern restaurant here in the USA.. They are grilled meat over rice, a pita, or something else. This is a kabob, but it’s really like the Turkish equivalent of a Philly cheesesteak
Thinly sliced grilled steak covered with cheese, tomatoes, and onions. Sitting on a bed of hash browns with a garlic yogurt sauce. One of my favorite meals from the trip.
Dinner at the Bodrum Yacht Club rooftop restaurant. This is fish, shrimp, mussels, and calamari. It’s all placed in a large shell. Add onions, peppers and cheese. Bake until delicious
It’s served in the shell over a burning fire to keep it hot while you eat. Definitely better than the smoked cow tongue I had for breakfast.
Whole fish was a common option in the seaside town of Bodrum. The Turkish chefs made eating it easy by making some strategic cuts allowing the diner to quickly split the fish apart and eat the meat from the inside out. This fish was Bream from the Aegean Sea.
Before I get off track talking about some amazing food, I also have to discuss Turkish coffee. As most of the Turkish population practices Islam, many do not drink. Coffee shops are the replacement for bars. This is Turkish coffee. It’s a thick expresso like drink that is very strong. When you finish the liquid, there will be about a 1/2 inch of coffee grounds remaining in the bottom of the cup.
It’s very popular to turn the cup upside down after finishing the coffee. That allows the grounds to slide down the side of the cup. Turks will “read your fortune” by looking at the images created by the grounds sliding down the walls of the coffee cup.
In Turkey, appetizers are called “meze.” Waiters will come to your table with a massive tray of different varieties. You pick the ones that look good and the waiter brings out dishes full of your selections.
This is from one of our dinners. Beets, a local green that tasted like collard greens, spinach in a garlic yogurt sauce, beans, and mashed fava in a curry sauce. All this was about $8.00.
A three-meat kabob meal.
Tired of kabobs yet? This is a “Lebanese kabob.” It’s cooked sliced steak placed on a thin pita. The steak is covered with cheese and rolled up in the pita.
The whole thing is then fried until the pita gets crispy and the cheese melts. It’s then cut up like a sushi roll and covered with a yogurt sauce.
Pretty good. Entire meal with a beer was $9.00.
You can’t have food without drinks. In convenience stores, these little cups of water were sold right alongside larger water bottles.
The local beers were very malty pilseners and ales. I tried almost all the local brews and never tasted any hops. I didn’t find any Turkish IPAs in the country.
A very popular garlic butter shrimp appetizer.
The local pizzas had a very thin crust and less sauce than you might find in the USA.
Corn on the cob was a surprising afternoon snack served from a lot of the food carts in the urban areas. I’ve only seen that in one other country (Brazil) I’ve visited.
My final dinner was a casserole of shrimp, mushrooms, peppers, and tomatoes. Locals broke up pieces of the thin, hard crust, bread and dipped it into the shrimp casserole like sticking a nacho into a bowl of salsa.
I really enjoyed my meals in Turkey. If you ever get there, be prepared to have more kabobs than you could ever imagine!