Spicy Blog

Erik's Food Blog - Turkey

May 2, 2018

That’s an easy one.  Many Moons ago, I lived and worked in Bursa, one of the biggest cities of Western Turkey, for a summer thanks to an AIESEC traineeship.  Bursa is halfway between Istanbul, one of the most fascinating cities in the world, and Izmir, the gateway to the Aegean Sea, one of the nicest parts of the Mediterranean. But more importantly, it has a ton of history. It is the birthplace of the Osman Empire, and equally important, the Iskendar Kebab (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%B0skender_kebap).  Iskendar Kebab is thinly sliced, grilled lamb, tomato sauce, Turkish pita bread, and yoghurt, completed with exotic spices.  It’s incredible, simply amazing. And they take it seriously in Bursa.  It is like coming home to your mother's cooking.  Once you had it in Bursa, you will never forget it. 

 

Three additional dishes are in my top 10, ever. One is the various eggplant dishes, with my all-time favorite being fried eggplant, called patlıcan kızartması.  Again, if you have been ambivalent about eggplant, try this dish, and you will become a life-long convert. 

 

Second is Turkish salad, made of cucumber, tomatoes, and red onion (with a bit of salt, pepper, oregano, olive oil). I was not a big fan of salads, but now I am. The third one is Turkish bread.  At that time, the price of bread and the bakeries were state-controlled (now you think this is a bad thing, but au contraire …), ensuring that you could get fresh bread five times a day. Yes, FIVE times a day. 

 

As a result, I had lamb, eggplant, yoghurt, salad, and bread every single day while in Turkey. Sometimes twice. And this is only talking about the food. 

 

The people, the culture & architecture (ancient, middle age, modern, and contemporary), the water & beaches, the natural wonders (think Pamukkale). If you ever have a chance to go to Turkey, go.  It was one of the best summers of my life.

 

And almost as an afterthought, let's not forget about the most important meal of the day, the breakfast.  Here is a great Ozy article about the magic of Turkish breakfasts - https://www.ozy.com/good-sht/turkish-breakfast-the-best-in-the-world/64471?li_source=LI&li_medium=default-widget

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