Friends, it’s been too long.
We’ve been on hiatus for the better part of the Summer. And for the past two weeks, we’ve been traveling around Turkey. Specifically, to Istanbul, the Western Anatolian cities of Selçuk, Şirince, Ephesus, Fethiye, Kaş, and Göreme, and then got exclusive island passes from Hostelbay.com to the Greek island of Rhodes. We saw great sites and definitely ate great food.
Our strategy was to sample mainly street food in Istanbul since we believed we could find more authentic and heritage cuisine from the smaller towns on our itinerary. So to find the great street food stands and stalls, I threw out the guide books and consulted Turkish food blogs, chiefly Istanbul Eats and Turkey’s For Life. In a city with such a strong street food culture, we knew we’d be in for a treat. We found great places to eat köfte, tantuni kebab, balık durum, and islak burger. They were cheap, filling, but also carefully made, well seasoned – incredibly flavorful!, and fresh.
Some of the best food we had were from the kitchens of the guesthouses from where we stayed. In Selçuk, we stayed at Homeros Pension run by a smal family. “Mama” prepares home-cooked dinners every night and guests can sign up to attend. We only stayed one night and did not pass up the opportunity to try an authentic meal. Hands down, this was one of the best meals we had in Turkey and we tasted regional cuisine of Southern Turkey. Funny fact – in Istanbul, we went to a restaurant specializing in the regional cuisine of Southern Turkey. We recognized some of the dishes there from the meal that Mama prepared. And the restaurant was no where as good (and definitely more expensive) as what we we had in Selçuk. So our strategy has merit! In Kaş, a small town along the Mediterranean coast, we again ate dinner at our guesthouse, Hotel Hideaway and had perfectly grilled, fresh caught sea bream. In Göreme, we stayed at Sultan Cave Suites and ate at it’s restaurant Seten Anatolian Cuisine. The restaurant features local dishes and cuisine from Anatolia. Though it was just the two of us, we couldn’t pass up the mixed meze platter, which filled us up before our main courses came!
What we loved most was the authenticity of ingredients. The food was simple but flavored incredibly through organic methods of charring, grilling, smoking, pickling, and drying. There were quite a few dishes we loved and want to (will attempt to) recreate for you from our tiny NY kitchen. So stay tuned for a few Turkey themed posts and recipes!