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Turkey - A Picture-esque Food Tour

Exotic, old-world charm and vibrant, Turkey is all of this and more. It sits on the world map with one foot in Asia and the other in Europe. But this Republic is not confused. With a rich heritage and great infrastructure, it is no surprise Turkey has found its rightful place on a traveler's bucket list. The conventional Indian travelers per se discovered Turkey in 2010. A lot of my friends and my Facebook pages had Turkey trip photo albums popping up. Very different and beautiful landscapes made Turkey a fascinating and alluring destination. 

In April 2012, it was finally my turn. I visited Turkey - Istanbul, Cappadocia, Pamukale and Antalya, to be precise. Back then, I had not begun maintaining a blog - which I regret - so I did not practice keeping notes documenting my travels. Now when I think of writing this blog, those lovely and interesting beads of trivia and experiences lie somewhere distant in my memory and I struggle to fish them out. Hence, I will carry out this blog post through pictures we captured. At least images will tell a story of their own and I will caption them the best I can. 

Food in any country signifies local culture and lifestyle, In Turkey too, the food was one of the highlights of my trip. There was always something new to eat, new flavours to explore and fresh ingredients to savour. From buffets to street carts, sweet to savoury, I tried everything!

Turkish tea traditionally served in this beautiful curved glass
Crusty bread with sun-dried tomato paste
Grilled fish with fresh salad spiked with juice from a lemon wedge

Pretzels from a food cart, popular street food. Slightly sweet, but a tad hard to bite.
Such carts are a common sight in the street. Fresh pomegrenates and oranges are juiced with that machine you see right in front of you! It doesn't get healthier than this. 
'Chestnuts, chestnuts', you'll hear hawkers call out to you, enticing you to buy a paper bag of hot roasted chestnuts...a must have!
Stacked blocks of halwa at a local sweet shop - these are made with sesame seeds and flavoured with nuts or chocolate and so much more.
Turkey is a great place to shop for spices and tea. The variety available will leave you gobsmacked. 
And I was talking about variety - there is a tea for every health benefit!
Like Indians, the Turkish locals too harbour a sweet tooth. Nougat and other chewy halwas available!
Borek, a baked, filo pastry commonly stuffed with cheese
I can't quite remember what the dish on the right was, but on the left, you have the traditional kibbeh - meat coated with potato.
Very much like our nan, here is freshly made bread stuffed with mint and cheese cooked on an upside down rounded tawa
Sweets and more sweets, so much colour!
A top view shot of my plate during buffet breakfast - cheese, a boiled egg, olives and pretzel
Another plate from the buffet - top left is a chunk of halwa. And do you see how big that strawberry is!
Lollies to tempt!
After all, globalization hits. We missed our burger and fries...
Kebabs and grilled veggies on display before they become the famous doner kebab!
He slices juicy meat and sandwiches it between bread

Vibrant juices, orange and pomegrenate, freshly squeezed. Natural flavours and colors. 
I don't shy to say this was perhaps the best mushroom tagliatelle I have eaten 
Ayran, a popular brand of yogurt and a bread basket in the background
How can you resist desserts when they look this good? 
Any guesses? That's an assortment of cheese
A top shot of Turkish tea served in traditional crokery topped with a sprig of mint and a lemon wedge
Smoked cheese, charcuterie, olives and bread - my favourite breakfast items
Now that's what I call a berry blast
Turkeish ice-cream - vanilla and chocolate flavours seamlessly swirled after a taste. 
Fresh trout grilled with a side of rice and salad

Olive varieties displayed in these clay pots on a buffet
Amuse bouche

That's how a plate of desserts should look like. Spot the baklava.
Bow pasta with fava beans and fried pastry stuffed with cheese
Go green! Parsley, olives, cabbage, lettuce...the works!

Comfort food - soup and rice

Cashews, raisins and other healthy treats displayed at the market

One more plate from the buffet. Spot the grapefruit,
The meal we got in every flight we took travelling around Turkey - bread, with a slab of cheese, lettuce and tomato
Turkish ice-cream is chewy and when turned upside down does not even react to gravity
Coffee and a plate of assorted sweet baklava - everyone's favourite evening at the local cafe
A boat shaped loaf of bread topped with cheese and toasted. They even have this with meat toppings.
This bread was long, fluffy and tasty! Eaten hot, we didn't even need accompaniments!

In follow up to this post, I will share other aspects of Turkey - landscapes, sights, streets et al! Stay tuned :)

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