HI all, it’s Dale here and this blog post is about food, as a number of people have expressed interest in the topic. Not that I am a good cook or food connoisseur by any stretch of the imagination, but I will share some eating experiences with you to date.
As famous as Turkish delight is, there are many other treats and dishes that are well worth a try. At restaurants, a variety of “Mezes” (starters) can be picked out for a tasty smorgasbord, and at times people will have just these rather than a main meal. Mezes I have tried include: red pepper paste and crushed nuts to spread on bread, sizzling shrimp in oil and garlic, lightly coated fresh calamari, herring in curry sauce, rolled up sea bass, and creamed salmon, followed by fresh fruit platter of grapes, melon and figs. Click on the link for more: http://www.wittistanbul.com/magazine/mezes-found-in-istanbul-meyhane-restaurants/ Here are a couple of pictures:
Turkey is famous for its beef, chicken and lamb kababs, and these can be accompanied by spicy lentil soup, chickpeas and rice, stuffed peppers and eggplant cooked with tomatoes, oil and spice. Actually there is a joke here about people knowing 99 recipes for aubergines.
Turkish flatbread is called Pide and lovely fresh soft pretzels called simits can be bought from street vendors.
An enjoyable activity is going to the neighbourhood market on Tuesdays to buy fresh fruit, veggies, eggs and creamy, tangy Turkish cheese. Turkish yogurt is similar to Greek yogurt, it is thick and very nice with fresh fruit added to it.
My favourite breakfast at a local café is an order of crepes with water buffalo cream and honey, a perfect mix of rich and sweet. And speaking of sweet, baklava comes in many flavours, including pistachio.
As for drinks, tea is served everywhere, in a small glass cup on a saucer with a lump of sugar, and Turkish coffee (pictured below) has a thick layer at the bottom that can be left alone or stirred up depending on how strong you want it.
Another option is apple tea, similar to hot cider. Raki is a popular alcoholic drink similar in taste to Greek ouzo, and it can pack a punch. It is in the picture above and is mixed with water and goes through a reaction.
The good news is that eating out here is inexpensive as well as a lot of fun.
Terry here: I have to add that one of my favourite things to eat here is ice cream (dondurma), it’s like gelato. This picture is from our go-to ice cream place here (Girandola Dondurma). And Tuesdays are a good day for lunch at the school cafeteria, as they have frozen ice cream treats that day! (I wish it was every day). Speaking of the cafeteria, the chef is a real character. If he likes you, you get good treatment. If he doesn’t like you, not so good … so he seems to like me, and not Dale, try as she does to please him. It might be because I eat all of my food. I have to say that it is great having school lunch every day: I don’t have to make a lunch, the food is pretty good, and it’s a chance to socialize with the other teachers.
So that’s it this time. Next week is a half-week, so I hope to explore Istanbul and have more things to tell you … I’m ready for a break, this teaching is hard work! The good thing is that there are holidays pretty much every month here. Anyway, Dale and I hope you are well, and surviving the upcoming winter, the crappiness of the Maple Leafs, and the rollercoaster that is the Blue Jays (they are playing tonight, down 4-1 …). But some very good news with the election!!!! (though I was hoping for an NDP win, or a Liberal-NDP coalition, I’m not super-happy with the Liberals). Bye for now everyone.