This kind of restaurant is typically
Turkish and offers home-cooking style food. From a selection of meals, it is possible to
go to the window and choose whatever you like. Guvec is any kind of meat
prepared in a casserole. Bulgur pilavi is cooked crushed wheat. Dolma is
stuffed vegetables, usually grape leaves, peppers, eggplants, cabbage leaves or mussels
filled with rice, minced meat and raisins. Meatballs, vegetables or liver are among
traditional Turkish food.
This is the place where kebaps are sold. Kebap
is a roast, broiled or grilled meat prepared in many different ways each of them called by
adding a word to kebap; doner kebap, sis kebap, patlican kebap, etc. Doner
kebap is lamb meat roasted on a revolving spit. Sis kebap is cubes
of meat on skewers. Kofte is grilled or fried meatballs.
These differ from Italian pizza to Turkish
farinaceous foods such as borekci, pideci, lahmacuncu, mantici, etc.
Borek is a flaky pastry filled with cheese,
eggs, vegetables, or minced meat, then fried or baked. Gozleme is a thin
dough filled with cheese and parsley and baked on thin iron plate placed in wood or
charcoal fire. Pide is a thick dough base filled or covered with any
combination of meat, cheese, eggs, etc. It is quite similar to pizza but served with
butter and grated cheese. Lahmacun is a thin round dough base covered with a
spicy mixture of minced lamb meat, onions, tomatoes and parsley. Manti is a
kind of pasta filled with minced lamb meat and served with yogurt and garlic.
In the times before there was fast food,
people went to these restaurants to eat tripe or chicken soup either for breakfast or
after heavy nights of drinking. These places also sell a special food: Kokorec,
roast and grilled lamb intestines, also sold in push carts by peddlers in the streets.
Meyhane and Fish
These restaurants are generally for proper
dinner meals. First, a large variety of soguk (cold) meze, (hors d'oeuvres) will be
offered on a big tray among which you can choose a few, then you should sample a few sicak
(hot) meze before the main dish. The main dish is either fish or meat. After having
desserts or fruit, it is time to drink a cup of Turkish coffee.
Soguk meze: White cheese, olives, lakerda
(salted bonito), dolma (stuffed vegetables), cacik (chopped cucumbers
with yogurt and garlic), piyaz (beans salad), Arnavut cigeri (spiced liver),
fava (bean paste), imam bayildi (stuffed eggplant), pilaki (white
beans), patlican kizartma (fried eggplant), etc.
Sicak meze: Fried mussels or squid,
various kinds of borek, fried potatoes, etc.
This is a place where they sell different
kinds of sweets. There are many of them like baklavaci, muhallebici, dondurmaci,
Baklava is thin layers of
flaky pastry stuffed with almond paste, walnuts or pistachio nuts in syrup. Its name comes
from the shape in which it is cut; lozenge-shapes. Kaymak is thick clotted
cream eaten with most sweets as well as on its own with honey or jam. Asure
(Noah's pudding) is made from numerous types of dried fruits and pulses. Sutlac
is rice pudding. Kadayif is shredded wheat in syrup. Kestane sekeri
is glacÈ chestnuts. They are generally canned or kept in glass jars in syrup. It is
common in Bursa. Lokum (Turkish Delight) is cubes of jelly like or gummy
confection flavored with flower or fruit essences and dusted with powdered sugar. Pismaniye
is a sweet-meat made of sugar, flour and butter which resembles flax fibers. Tahin-Pekmez
is a mixture of both Tahin, sesame oil and Pekmez,
molasses or treacle (heavy syrup obtained from grapes). Helva is a flaky
confection of crushed sesame seeds in a base of syrup. Dondurma is ice
is a ritual rather than a drink. Although coffee is not grown in Turkey, it is called
Turkish coffee because it was introduced to the western world by Turks during the Siege of
Vienna in the 16C.
It is made by
mixing an extremely finely ground coffee with water and sugar. According to your taste,
you should let the waiter know in advance how much sugar you want in it: sade (without
sugar), az sekerli (a little sugar), orta (medium sugar) or sekerli
(with much sugar).
Turkish coffee is drunk in small sips after
you've rinsed your mouth with a little water which comes in a glass together with the
coffee. While drinking you should leave the coffee grounds at the bottom of the cup.
Turkish coffee is drunk any time especially after meals but definitely not at breakfast.
It is believed that after a heavy meal, one should either drink a cup of coffee or take a
40-step walk for digestion.
Cay (tea) is much more
common. Especially at breakfast, but is also drunk anytime from small glasses and stirred
with tiny spoons.
Boza is a fermented and
sweetened drink made from corn or wheat.
Salep is a boiled milk
flavored with orchis plant.
Ayran is a refreshing tangy
drink of yogurt, water and salt whipped together.
Raki (lion's milk) is the national drink; a
90-proof aniseed-flavored alcohol. To drink raki properly, one needs two long and
narrow glasses. One of the glasses changes its color from a clear liquid to a milky-white
when it is filled with half raki and half water. The other is for just plain water. The
aim is to keep the levels of the two glasses more or less the same. Raki is
generally a drink that goes with a good meal. It is drunk cold, mostly with ice and
requires some sort of food, the best accompaniment being some meze. The
average number of glasses for one person is between 2-4.
Wine: There is a good variety
of Turkish wine. They are comparatively reasonable in price and of good quality. Some
selections are Kavaklidere Yakut (red),Selection (red), Cankaya (white) and
Muscat (white), Doluca Moskado (white) and Villa Doluca (both red and white).
Although water is considered safe to drink
in most places in Turkey, chlorination and the different mineral contents of the tap
water, particularly in the larger cities and tourist resorts, can sometimes cause problems
for the visitor. It is therefore advisable to drink bottled water or mineral water as a
Local people in major or touristic cities,
especially in Istanbul, do not drink water from the tap. In fact, there are drinking water
stations similar in organization to gas stations, where the locals go to "fill
up" their water storage containers.