After coming back from Istanbul, some of my friends in Porto told me that I looked chubbier than ever! Chubbier means gaining weight! Oh nooooooo! It was a big slap for me and I blame it all on Turkish foods. Yes, yes, yes. Those Turkish foods I ate in Turkey. Those delicious and cheap at twice the price Turkish foods. OH GOOOOOOSH, my mouth is watering right now imagining those delicious-o and perfect-o foods.
Angel Nabila: “Relax, Nabila, remember your weight. Go to sleep and wake up early to work out tomorrow!”
Evil Nabila: “Can you imagine those luxurious feelings on your mouth while eating the authentic kebap? Do you still remember that orgasmic dolma cooked by Melek’s mom?”
Okay, okay, I give up. I just couldn’t help myself when I was in Turkey and I cannot help myself of writing about Turkish foods I ate in Turkey (of course!). Warning: Do not blame me if after reading this post, you directly book your flight ticket to Turkey.
1. The authentic kebap
I have written about it here. But since kebap is the most famous Turkish food and in my opinion, this is the most delicious food I ate in Turkey; it deserves to be mentioned twice.
2. Balik Ekmek and Turşu
Balik Ekmek and Turşu were my first Turkish foods I ate on my first day in Istanbul. Balik means fish and Ekmek means bread in Turkish. So, Balik Ekmek stands for a “fish sandwich” with onion and lettuce. I didn’t know which type of fish was it, but for sure, it was baked. Balik Ekmek stalls were everywhere around Galata bridge. Those stalls looked the same with similar decoration. Fishes were baked inside an open small boat and people enjoyed Balik Ekmek in a small table on the street.
In the meantime, there were many sellers offering Turşu around Balik Ekmek stalls. Melek said that Turşu was kind of a “salad”. It consists of fermented pickles and other veggies. At the first time I saw Turşu, I thought it was an Indonesian “es buah” (Indonesian favourite summer treat. It is a bowl or glass of fruits mixed with mashed ice, syrup, and milk.). But, I was wrong! Because I don’t like fermented fruits, I didn’t like Turşu.
Manti is a Turkish “pasta”. It looks like a dumpling (seasoned beef or lamb wrapped with an egg pasta). Those dumplings are served with yoghurt and spicy sauce. How did it taste? OMG! It tasted so so soo good. Those dumplings reminded me of Italian ravioli. I mixed most of the yoghurt but I liked it better with less yoghurt. and of course, I am Indonesian so I need more spices and peppers :p
I told Melek about my addiction to Tengkleng and Gulai Kambing, Indonesian lamb curry. I just, just can’t live without lamb (I think that’s the reason why my intention of being a vegan is delayed again and again and again). Melek promised me that she would bring me to eat the best lamb in town and she fulfilled her promise. She brought me to Fatih area and here they were: the land of Büryan restaurants. It is located near the Aqueduct of Valens.
Büryan is originally a typical food of a city called Siirt where Melek’s parents come from. It is a lamb slow-cooked in a pit and served with pide (Turkish flatbread). The pide is baked and honestly speaking, I found it strange eating lamb with bread. As you might guess, I put spices and peppers crazily, but hey…my brains were falling out, this was so delicious!
The büryan here is meltingly tender and is served on flat bread with crispy bits of lamb fat and a a dusting of salt. -Lonely Planet
I should warn you this: This food consists of excessive fat. Look at those mayonnaise and spicy sauce on top. Nommnommnomm. Full-of-fat food is always tempting, isn’t it? This tempting rule applies for Kumpir also! Kumpir is a baked potato mixed with many things as you like such as corn, pickle, black and green olives, carrot, and other things you name it.
The best place to eat Kumpir in Istanbul is in the market in Ortaköy. You buy Kumpir on the market and eat it in front of Ortaköy mosque. You can sit everywhere you like and enjoy Kumpir with the view of Bosphorus strait and of course, the Bosphorus bridge. In other words: eating Kumpir in Europe while enjoying the view of Asian part of Istanbul.
6. Dolma and Börek
I am sorry! x) I was so busy eating and I forgot to take pictures of Dolma and Börek cooked by Melek and her mom. They cooked Dolma and Börek for a family dinner.
Dolma is a stuffed vegetable dish. It is an eggplant filled with rice and beef. But beforehand, beef and rice are cooked with tomatoes. You can change the eggplant with paprika or grape leaves. Meanwhile, Börek is a dough filled pastry. Melek cooked beef-filled Börek and a cheese-filled one. I liked the beef one better. Here is a recipe for Börek.
Those two were maknyuss! (y) —maknyuss is an Indonesian slank adjective to express how delicious a food is.
I was addicted to this Turkish street snack called Midye. It is a stuffed mussel. This mussel is filled with a boiled rice mixed with pepper. You can find this street Mediterranean snack everywhere in Istanbul. How to eat midye are: the seller opens it one by one in front of you, pours lemon on it, and gives it to you one by one. You eat midye directly in front of the seller. So, my advice is: find a handsome midye seller to make its taste more lezzet!!! (Lezzet means delicious in Turkish).
8. Boza with Leblebi
The first time I saw Boza, I was like, “OMG! it is Portuguese arroz doce!” and it also smelled like arroz doce because of the cinnamon.
Then, I ate it and yumm, it wasn’t arroz doce. It was Boza. It was a bit sour and usually in Turkey, people eat Boza with roasted chickpeas called Leblebi. Melek brought me to an old cafe on Boza in Istanbul. The funny thing was: that cafe didn’t sell leblebi so we need to buy Leblebi at the stall in front of this cafe. Fortunately, we didn’t have to buy one because a man gave it to us :p
When I was in Kocaeli, it was raining and uber cold. Kocaeli was colder than Istanbul at that time. Melek brought me to her favourite youngster cafe and she suggested me to order sahlep. Sahlep is served hot and it is a super duper creamy beverage made from special flour derived from the tuberous root of a certain species of Orchids. For me, it is like a creamy drink made nata and vanila mixed with cinnamon on top. It was a popular beverage during the Ottoman Empire.
Totally a refreshment after getting soaked because of the rain x)
Last but not least, the Ayran!
There is a famous advertisement slogan for a tea brand in Indonesia: apapun makanannya, minumnya Teh (whatever the food is, the drink is always tea). I need to adapt that slogan to the Turkish way of eating meat: whatever the meat dish is, the drink is always ayran.
Ayran is a natural yoghurt blended with water and salt. It neutralises the strong taste (and smell) of a meat.
Honestly speaking, I ate more than what I write on this post (OH NOOOO, MY DIET T_T). Now you know the reason why my friends said I am chubbier now. Take me to Turkey, pleaseeeeeeeeeee~
Ok, I need to stop imagining Turkish foods and start working out.
PS. I am living my days in a Turkish way of living can be found here.