Turkish breakfasts are out of this world. The snack food is amazing. And if you have a sweet tooth – you’ll be in heaven. The food in Turkey was one of the highlights for us during our two months in the country and we wanted to recognise some of our favourites.
Best thing about Turkey full stop – çay.
Who would’ve thought that tea would be one of our favourite things about Turkey. We had read about the popularity of çay but it was only once we arrived that it made sense. It’s always served black, strong and always in the cute little Turkish tea glasses. And it tastes so good.
This isn’t your everyday tea made from a teabag – it’s much more complicated than that. Turkish tea is made using a çaydanlik – which is basically two stacked kettles on top of each other – one large and one small. I’d explain the process of making tea but it’s long and complicated. Luckily, it’s not something you need to know how to do as there is a teahouse on every corner throughout Turkey.
We loved Turkish tea for so many reasons, the flavour, the warmth but our favourite reason of all was that our tea habit forced us to stop and just relax. On ferry rides in Istanbul, overlooking lakes in Van and watching sunsets in the Kaçkar mountains, a cup of çay in our hands and all was right with the world.
Best meal of the day – breakfast.
We didn’t have a single bad breakfast during our stay in Turkey and even the most basic of hotel breakfasts was delicious. A basic Turkish breakfast includes bread (Turkish of course), boiled eggs, tomato, cucumber, olives, feta, honey (local) and butter (most of the time homemade). However, usually, it was a LOT more than that. There would be five types of cheese as a minimum, different breads, pastries, jams, spreads, dried fruits, yoghurt (again mostly fresh), fresh fruit and more. We ate like kings at breakfast!
Best food – lahmacun
They say that simple is sometimes the best and I have to agree. My love of lahmacun has been well documented already on this blog, so it should come as no surprise that it’s the main dish I would recommend if visiting the country.
The ‘Turkish pizza’ is so simple, so tasty and so cheap. I’d eat lahmacuns daily if it was possible. Take a look on our Gaziantep food tour post to learn more about this amazing treat.
Best sweets – baklava, lokma and kunefe.
A three-way tie as we just couldn’t decide. I can’t tell you how often we meant to save some baklava for later but instead ended up eating the entire box. Also known as a way to pile on the weight! Everything in moderation kids.
Baklava – The Turkish are known for their baklava and the options here are endless. We’d tried it before but nothing compares to the baklava you’ll have in Turkey – especially if you’re lucky enough to try it in Gaziantep.
Lokma – Deep-fried dough soaked in sugar syrup or honey and sometimes sprinkled with cinnamon. That’s all you need to know.
Kunefe contains shredded filo pastry, butter and soft white cheese. The ingredients are layered and then baked in the oven until it’s crunchy on top and the cheese has melted. Drench in rose water or orange blossom syrup until it’s soaked through, top with chopped pistachios and you have a winning dessert. Best eaten warm. I think this might be my favourite.
Best snack – simit.
Cheap, cheerful and available all over town, simits are a delicious bread-like snack, cross between a bagel and a pretzel, covered in delicious nutty sesame seeds. A tasty treat whatever the time of day.
Best drink (that wasn’t tea) – ayran.
Honorable mentions – claypots, manti and pide.
If for some bizarre reason you tire of lahmacun, here are some of our other favourite meals we had on this trip. No one meal stood out above the rest for us but they were all delicious. We had claypots in Cappadocia, slow-cooked meaty stews topped with bread. Manti in the Black Sea region – bundles of meat wrapped in dough and covered in a burnt-butter sauce, yoghurt and chopped nuts. Or the classic, Turkish pide, almost always cooked in a wood-fire oven which adds so much to the flavour.
Simple and delicious food, done well. Thanks Turkey!