I’m back from Istanbul, and I had a great time! I was a little bit wrong with what I expected their cuisine to be like….I promised lots of pictures of lentils and bulgur, but there isn’t very much of that. Here are the foods that seemed to be staples in Instanbul:
- Meat. Lots and lots of meat. Mainly lamb and beef. There was no pork because it is a Muslim country.
- Yogurt. They put yogurt on EVERYTHING!! I actually really enjoyed this. It’s very popular to severe meals with yogurt mixed with dill. They also have a cucumber and garlic yogurt soup and a yogurt drink that are both very common.
- Eggplant. Yummm! I love eggplant. I ate this a lot
- Olives. I hate olives in America. It took 3 days for my friend to convince me that they taste different in Turkey. She was right. They are not so bad. I especially liked their black olive spread that they would serve in olive oil with fresh bread.
- Tomatoes. Tomatoes are still in season in Turkey!!! I got to eat lots of fresh local tomatoes
- Tea. Not really a food, but they drink tea all day long! I really liked this.
The only thing Turkish people do not eat yogurt with is fruit. They also do not eat fruit or yogurt for breakfast. Here is a traditional Turkish breakfast:
Olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, a hard boiled egg, and Turkish cheese. Turkish cheese is delicious!!! It tastes a lot like feta in America, but it has more moisture and is saltier. In Turkey, they simply call it “Turkish white cheese.”
After I got home, I wanted more info on what exactly Turkish cheese is, and this is what I found:
White cheese, commonly known as Feta cheese in the West, is mainly produced in the Marmara Region, is consumed in abundance. It can be produced out of sheep or cow milk, but the production techniques may change according to region. White cheese needs 90 days to mature in salt water. High fat content white cheese is soft and smooth whereas low fat versions are harder. It is an essential part of Turkish breakfast and used in börek.
That makes a lot of sense….it tastes like feta, because it is! Just really fresh, higher fat feta that is matured in salt water. It’s really wonderful.
On to my first Turkish lunch:
That’s all for now! Stay tuned for part 2.