Ahh of course, food again. I had some crazy good food the week+ I spent in Turkey, and some I was not so crazy about as well. For started, Turkey doesn’t hold a candle up to Lebanon’s delicious yogurt, hummus, and olive oil. I was out of my element to actually have to ask waiters for olive oil instead of just having it on my table. It wasn’t nearly as good either. Nothing beats Lebanon’s labneh yogurt and the hummus…I don’t even want to talk about the hummus. Needless to say, I tried it once and didn’t touch it for the rest of the trip.
Alas, it is not all bad! In fact, most of it was pretty good. The breakfast buffets at the hostels were always delicious, filled with veggies, meats, cheese, thin yogurt and homemade jam to mix it with. Lunches and dinners consisted of a lot of meat and veggies, like the delicious pottery kebop, cooked until perfect tenderness and dripping with juices.
Everything was amazing, I’m glad I spent more meals at actual restaurants then eating street food because it was totally worth it. The street meals were all pretty much the same thing, shawarma meat in different types of bread, somewhat bland and only handy if you’re on the run. Street snacks were better though, mussels, doughnuts, roasted chestnuts, watermelon, sooo much corn, cucumbers, and a bunch of other good, cheap stuff.
Walking through the Spice Bazaar I also got to taste a lot of new things (the advantage of being a girl traveling with a girl, shop owners are so much more “welcoming” to you). Yummy string cheese, weird gummy fruit candies, Turkish Delights, strangely seasoned almonds, sticky sweet baklava, plus everything else people beckoned me to try. They really don’t take no for an answer.
Then there’s the ice cream. Soooo much ice cream. I don’t know how I’ve never tried banana ice cream before, but I’ve been shown the light and it’s definitely one of my favorite flavors now. Turkey also a type of ice cream I’ve never heard of or seen before, called Maras. It’s tough to work with, kind of like taffy, and the guy who sells it to you practically has to wrestle it out of the container. Then it just sits there in the cup, not really melting or anything, and you can fling it all around and it’ll just stay there. I wasn’t in love with it, but it was pretty cool.
Let’s not forget the Turkish Apple Tea! Now anyone who knows me knows how weird I am about drinks. I can’t stand coffee at all, I can be inside of a Starbucks for all of about 2 minutes before the smell is too strong for me and it grosses me out so I have to leave. Tea tastes like dirty, warm water to me. Ever since I gave up soda 3 years ago I’m totally turned off by it (except Guarana, but that’s a different story). When people find this out they ask me, bewildered, what I drink. Ummm…water? You know, the thing that makes up, what, 70% of your body? Yea you should try it sometime, it’s actually pretty good. And juice, the kind actually made from real fruits, not that processed sugar crap you buy in bottles and boxes from the grocery store that has maybe 5% of fruit juice concentrate, if you’re lucky.
Anyways, I’m getting off topic. Turkish apple tea is a gift from the heavens, deliciously warm and appley and sweet. It’s so completely different than tea, made from these little pellets that dissolve in hot water rather than leaves. It tastes a bit like warm apple cider, but different somehow. I’ve always wanted to like tea, it seems like such a soothing, warming drink, but I haven’t been able to get myself to drink the stuff until now. I wish I had bought more before I left, I’m almost through my entire supply.
Enjoying tea after a long hard day of relaxation.
Plus everywhere I went in Turkey I could find fresh orange and pomegranate juice! The guys have stalls or shops on the side of the road and juice fruits up right there, its fantastic. Call me spoiled, but living in Florida for such a long time with access to fresh squeezed orange juice nearly year round has made my taste so that I can’t even look at that gross grocery store stuff without cringing.
Now I’m hungry. I hope lunchtime is soon…
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Enjoying a nargile after tea, the Turkish way.