About the food of Turkey

Town of Ortahisar in Cappadocia, a region in central Turkey. Photo by Brocken Inaglory.

Town of Ortahisar in Cappadocia, a region in central Turkey. Photo by Brocken Inaglory.

Turkey walks the line: her western borders dip into Europe, while the rest lounges in Asia. Indeed,  Istanbul – is the only large city in the world to span two continents. Pretty awesome.

Her extensive mountains cradle many small villages and cities, but it is her coastal plains and valleys that produce the most luscious produce. There’s everything from citrus to corn, and olives to barley.

Inner Anatolia, Turkey. Photo by ngoro.

Inner Anatolia, Turkey. Photo by ngoro.

The food will fill your spirit as well as your mouth. A few years ago I watched a show about Turkey and in it, I saw someone eat what looked to be a pizza. But they rolled it up like a burrito.  They call it Lahmacun [Recipe]. Epic.

The list of popular dishes is like a who’s who of my favorite dishes: all manner of meaty, spiced kebabs, glorious stuffed grape leaves, tabbouleh (called kisir) [Recipe], lovely pide bread, sweet, nutty baklava. Much of this can be enjoyed as part of meze, or a meal of many small plates (similar in theory to Spanish Tapas).

The ruins of the Temple of Apollo at Side, Antalya, Turkey. Photo by Saffron Blaze.

The ruins of the Temple of Apollo at Side, Antalya, Turkey. Photo by Saffron Blaze.

Just about everything can and should be served with good quality yogurt, honey, or nuts (think walnuts, pine nuts, and almonds).

Of course, we can’t forget about Turkish delight, which was first brought to my attention in the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe when the evil queen offered it to Edmund to buy his sympathies.  As I read, I thought it was a savory treat, but soon discovered that Turkish delight is a lovely confection covered in powdered sugar and often seasoned with rose water and orange blossom water. I had the joy of making it way back on the blog, when I cooked Albania).

So the question is, would you rather be eating Turkish Delight in the “Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe,” a magical place where a closet can lead to another world, or in Turkey proper, where beauty seems to grow from the very earth? 



  1. Gwen Larsen says

    after visiting Istanbul one year ago, I have often cooked classic Turkish dishes…but I never found out how to spell a sample at an airport eatery of what appeared to be noodles, egg custard and some type of mild cheese. I even wrote down phonetically what he said but lost the note before I could rewrite it in my travel journal! I’m hoping you will cook this for us or recognize the recipe? It tasted…indescribably good! 😉

    • Kelly says

      I think I know the dish you described! I’ll check my cookbook stash tonight and let you know – I have a feeling they have this in Greece too, or something very similar.

  2. Ayse says

    I am Turkish and I have been reading your blog for a long time. I can’t wait to see what you are going to cook, I am really curious. Turkish cuisine is so diverse that I would find it impossible to choose just a couple of dishes, so good luck!!

    ps. The capital of Turkey is Ankara, not Istanbul. Istanbul is the largest (and in my opinion the best) city in Turkey.

    • Sasha Martin says

      Hi, Ayse – thanks for catching that. I’ve been working on fumes here lately. Hope you loved our selections as much as we did 🙂 P.S. Your name is beautiful!

  3. Robin Wrenn says

    Oh definitely I’d rather eat Turkish delight in Turkey. Never been there but hear it is a beautiful country. I love, love Turkish delight!

  4. Angie says

    Oh, Sasha — please don’t forget Turkey’s vegetables: eggplant, tomatoes, green beans, etc! When I visited Turkey, all the food was wonderful, but I totally fell in love with the vegetables – stuffed, stewed, baked, mixed, solo. Our trip took us to many villages as well as the unforgetable historic places — most of our amazing meals were in those villages & small family-operated cafes with lots of vegetables for every meal. Sigh.

    Love your project, often enjoy cooking along with you — and cried with you as I read about your special minute before thousands. Thank you for your mission, time & many talents!

    • Sasha Martin says

      Angie, Thank you for your kind words! The veggies – yes… so wonderful. I would love to go those villages you speak of… I bet they grew those vegetables nearby. Sounds so idyllic.

  5. Brian S says

    Turkey fascinates me. For thousands of years, until about 1100, there were no Turks in Turkey. Instead, a patchwork of really interesting people, including some of the world’s earliest civilizations, a bunch of French people who arrived 200 BC and settled in central Turkey, a kingdom ruled by a south Russian which challenged Rome (Mithridates), and lots of classical Greek civilization. And of course the capital of the Roman empire for a thousand years and only light during the dark ages. Then the Turks came from the region around Kazakhstan and changed everything, conquering everything around including much of Europe, building a great and civilized empire.

  6. I absolutely love Turkish food, especially the baklava and those amazing spiced kebabs, i just could not stop eating them when i was in Istanbul.

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