Visiting Turkey through kebab

29 Mar

Kebab with flatbread

Over spring break, my sister treated me to a meal at a Turkish restaurant, and I knew what food my next blog would feature! Flavorful meat with spicy sides is the trademark of Turkish food. A popular wrap with these ingredients, called a gyro or a kebab, is a staple in many countries surrounding Turkey as well, including Europe, Africa and Asia.

If you’ve ever eaten at a Middle Eastern, Greek or North African restaurant, you’ve probably seen them scrape lamb or beef off a huge chunk of spinning meat. The first hurdle I had to tackle was finding a way to create a small batch of meat that was comparable.

Creamed meat, anyone?

The recipe I found was a sort of compact meatloaf made up of beef and lamb. It tasted good, but instead of nice slices, the meat sort of fell into smallish chunks. I made bazlama, Turkish flatbread, to go with the meat. I’ve never made flatbread before, so I was amazed that raw dough could cook in just a minute or two on a hot pan! Finally, I covered the mixture with cucumber yogurt sauce.

Overall, my “Turkish” dish was good, but it didn’t really taste like anything I’ve eaten from a Turkish restaurant or street vendor.

I haven’t given up on Turkish food, though, and will try it again soon! As for now, at least I know I can make legit Turkish coffee. The Turks became dearer to my heart when I found out they introduced coffee to Europe. Also, they were the first to make yogurt, which I love. Well done, Turkey, well done!

Apart from food, the jewel of Turkey is Istanbul, the only city in the world that lies in two continents – Europe and Asia. Istanbul has a long history that includes being the capital of three empires!

A popular attraction in Istanbul is Topkapi Palace, home to former Turkish powers. It has been turned into a museum and takes almost half a day to tour the whole thing. For the haggler at heart, a visit to the Grand Bazaar might be tempting. The thousands of shops attract around 300,000 people daily. After finding a good bargain, you might want to go somewhere less crowded. Surrounding Istanbul are the Walls of Constantinople, a centuries-old fortification system on which you can walk and observe the city.

Over on the West Coast lies one of the best-preserved ancient cities in the world. Ephesus is jam-packed with historic ruins and is home to the famed Temple of Artemis. The Temple is mostly gone now, but there are plenty of other ruins to see, like the Library of Ephesus, the Gateway to Ephesus or the Theatre that housed gladiator fights and other ancient entertainment.

Personally I’d like to try paragliding in coastal Oludeniz, arguably the top location for paragliding in the world! When in the air, you have a spectacular view of the bright blue lagoon and panoramic mountains. Afterwards, time to hit the beach!

I don’t like to play favorites, but I have to admit that Turkey is near the top of my “countries to visit” list! If not Istanbul or a Turkish beach, where in the world would you most like to go?

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One Response to “Visiting Turkey through kebab”

  1. Cara March 30, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

    That cucumber yogurt sauce was delicious…and I don’t even like yogurt. 😛 I can’t believe 300,000 people go to the Grand Bazaar every day! Wowza! I saw on that (beautiful) paragliding website that people can go tandem…wanna?!?! 🙂 As for where I would like to go, it changes almost daily. Right now maybe some ancient pyramids and undiscovered tribes in South America. Ask me again in an hour. 🙂

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