7 Turkish Foods you Must Try on your Sailing Holiday
After a lazy day sailing, hop ashore to sample some of the culinary delights that Turkey has to offer. Turkey has a rich and complex cuisine that goes well beyond the greasy döner kebab from your local takeaway. Some of the tastiest flavours of the Med are found in the backstreet eateries and restaurants, particularly in the port cities and towns where fresh catches of the day are common. While it would simply be impossible to list every dish and snack, when you disembark at the marina keep your eyes peeled for these 7 Turkish foods…
While vegetarians will likely turn away in disgust, for the carnivore there’s nothing quite like kokoreç. An offal blend of seasoned sweetbreads, hearts, lungs and kidneys are neatly wrapped up in lamb or goat intestines to form a torpedo which is slowly cooked over smoky hot charcoal. Best served in warm Turkish bread with zingy lime and salad leaves.
Manti are like ravioli. Tiny dumplings filled with seasoned lamb, sautéed onions and spices are topped with a lip-smacking mix of slow-cooked tomato sauce, nutty brown butter and garlicky yogurt. Vegetarians can look out for chickpea and cumin-stuffed versions. Don’t expect to find it at every local joint – it’s often prepared for special occasions.
Move aside pizza. Lahmacun is Turkey’s answer to the Napolese favourite. Super thin dough is topped with a layer of slow-cooked tomato sauce, fresh peppers, a blend of spices, herbs and minced meat before being cooked until crisp in a wood-fired oven. Traditionally eaten rolled up with lime juice, salad leaves and accompanied with a salty yogurt drink called ayran.
This staple family of pastry dishes are always made with layers of paper-think phyllo. While they come in all shapes and sizes, the most popular include su böreği filled with feta cheese, butter and parsley, the spiral-shaped kol böreği made from cheese, spinach and potato, and the single-serve gul böreği which is often stuffed with minced meat.
This is Turkish fast food done right. If you’re after the perfect snack on the fly, make a dash for the nearest gözleme joint. Hand-rolled unleavened dough is with topped like salty cheese, vegetables, potatoes and minced meat before being sealed and cooked over a griddle until crisp. Spinach with melted cheese gözleme is the most popular.
Karniyarik, which literally translates to ‘split belly’, is a Turkish favourite found all over the country and a legacy of the Ottoman palace kitchens. It’s a hearty dish made from slender aubergines stuffed with a mix of sautéed onions, tomatoes, peppers, garlic, minced meat and black pepper. If you’re a vegetarian, fear not, there is always the meat-free alternative İmam bayıldı.
This perfect brunch dish is one of the simplest yet most pleasing. Scrambled eggs are cooked until barely set with tomatoes, peppers, chillies and lashings of olive oil. Best accompanied with a side of salty Turkish cheese, olives and warm bread straight out the oven. It’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser and is, perhaps, best eaten overlooking the bobbing yachts in the marina on a sunny Turkish morning.