Some of the foods / desserts / meats / cultural anecdotes of Turkey can only be found in Turkish kitchen and culture. Their amazing taste and fantastic cooking style, the way of presentation is quite different than other kitchens of the world. I try to describe the most well-known ones in the ‘‘ special tastes ’’ section, here are some examples. My personal advice is to not to these miss these kind of beauties while you will be in Turkey.
Helva: Flour-based (called irmik), and nut-butter-based (called tahin) sweet. Term is coming from Arabic language, this sweet is also cooked not only in Turkey, in Arabic countries as well.
Asure: known as Noah’s ark pudding, contains apricots, raisins, currants, figs, pine nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, chickpeas. Some cooks even includes fresh coconut, bananas, pomegranate pieces. Like many Turkish dishes; asure has its own story behind it. According to the legends and historical records, first version of asure was made by Noah himself. After weeks on the ark, the waters began to recede. As food stocks dwindle, Noah decided to throw bits of everything he had left on the ark into one pot and mixed them. Journey finished till the mountain of Agri (city name in Turkey) with this food. Asure is the symbol of friendship, diversity and brotherhood in Turkish culture.
Baklava: A dessert made of paper-thin layers of pastry with chopped nuts. The most famous baklavas are made in Gaziantep city in Turkey. Gaziantep baklava, which is made with locally grown pistachio nuts (called antep fistigi) , was awarded “ protected status ” by the European Union. Some popular baklavas types are; square cut , cylindrical shaped, mini-turnovers (sobiyet), carrot slice (havuc dilimi)
Meze: Selection of hot and cold dishes, typically served near with alcoholic drinks in general. Some examples are; a white sheep’s milk cheese (beyaz peynir), rape leaves stuffed with rice and vegetables (dolma), a thick strained yogurt (haydari), meatballs (köfte), yogurt with cucumber and garlic (cacik), seasonal salads with tomatoes and traditional cheese, grilled bread with olive oil, Bonito fish preserved in salt (lakerda) etc…
Rakı: is known as traditional alcoholic drink of Turkey, flavored with anise seeds. When mixed with ice or water for drinking, it turns milky white. Thats why it is called as lion’s milk (aslan sütü) between Turkish citizens. It is a nice drink near to ‘‘ mezes ’’ and with fishes.
Lokum: It is one of the most ancient sweet dishes in the world, dating back 230 years. Traditional varieties are often flavored with rosewater.
Turkish bath: Tradition is coming from several generations ago, adapted from Romans, perfected by Ottoman Turks and has continued even until today. What you can expect from a Turkish bath in brief is; body relaxation, a great atmosphere with cultural motifs, traditional body message even a small swimming pool in the luxury options.
Döner kebab: A kind of kebab that is thoroughly beaten with tallow and local spices, cooked on a skewer and cooked upright against the wood fire.
Lahmacun: is also known as Turkish pizza in the local daily field of Turkey :), It is a kind of bread more or less that is prepared with spices such as mince, parsley, onion, garlic and black pepper, red pepper on the opened dough, baked in a stone oven after the ingredients are added.
Nargile: is also known as hubble – bubble, is an old tradition in Turkey for smoking Turkish tobacco. It is not only used in Turkey, it is very popular around Arabic countries as well. Egyptians call it Shisha, Lebanese refer to it as Nargile. Today, there are also flavored nargile types such as with vanilla, strawberries, apples etc…