Article in PDF (Download)
Delights and Street food from Turkey and How to make them at Home
by Turkish Culinary Expert Ozlem Warren
We Turks love our street food; our love of food I feel, is poured into the streets with a delicious, practical way of enjoying them through street stalls. From Simit, sesame encrusted bread rings to stuffed mussels, Midye Dolma, from flat breads with ground meat and vegetable topping, Lahmacun to rice pilaf with chickpeas, Nohutlu Pilav, nuts, roasted chestnuts and many more, we do love having a delicious bite while on the go, for centuries.
Turkey, with its long history of ancient civilizations, its fertile lands, and geographical setting between Asia and Europe, stretches a thousand miles from east to west, and covers an area equal to half the size of Mexico. It follows therefore that the cuisine of this country is diverse. The choice of the dishes is wide, but all have a wonderful delicacy and richness. Turkish street food takes its fair share from this abundance of richness and diversity; everywhere you go in Turkey, there’s something delicious to eat in the streets, which can also vary from region to region.
Simit, sesame – encrusted bread rings
Simit, sesame – encrusted bread rings is really the quintessential Turkish street food; these sesame-encrusted bread rings must be the most popular snack at home. You can have simit for breakfast with a cup of cay (tea), sliced cucumber, tomatoes, feta cheese and olives. You can enjoy them for a mid-morning or afternoon snack with cheese or simply plain. Turks prefer savory accompaniments to simit, though I must say it is also lovely over some butter and jam. Their flavor and deeply satisfying texture are quite unlike anything else.
There are mobile simit stalls everywhere, especially in Istanbul (Istanbullus pride themselves as to have the genuine article). Recently, there are also Simit Houses opened all around the country, where you can enjoy simit with various fillings; cheese, olive paste, sucuk (Turkish spicy sausages made from dried cured beef). A magnificent revival of this all-time favorite street food.
You can make this utterly delicious Turkish street food, Simit, at home, here’s my recipe http://ozlemsturkishtable.com/2012/02/simit-sesame-encrusted-bread-rings/
Gozleme, Anatolian flat breads with fillings
Gozleme, Anatolian flat breads with fillings is another personal favorite. We Turks were originated from Central Asia, then drifted towards Anatolia gradually and made our way to Anatolia, land of Turkey. We have been making these stuffed flat breads since then. Gozleme is a much loved Turkish street food and a special part of the delicious Turkish breakfast. These popular snacks are cooked quickly on a hot griddle and can be filled with various fillings. Some of my favorite fillings are mashed potatoes, cheese and parsley; spinach and cheese, and ground meat and onions. Here’s my Gozleme with spinach and cheese recipe, http://ozlemsturkishtable.com/2013/05/gozleme-anatolian-flat-breads-stuffed-with-spinach-onion-and-feta-cheese-so-delicious-and-easier-than-you-think/ I hope you enjoy it, afiyet olsun.
Here is a visual feast of some of my favorite Turkish street food for you. I do hope they inspire you to have a go at these delights and visit Turkey to enjoy them first hand!
You can find all these street food recipes at my blog, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, www.ozlemsturkishtable.com
Learn how to make delicious and wholesome Turkish Cuisine with Ozlem’s Turkish Table
I am a native of Turkey and Turkish cuisine and culture is my passion. I have been teaching Turkish cookery over 8 yrs and delighted to see such amazing interest for Turkish cuisine and what has been cooked in Turkish homes. You can view my Turkish cookery classes at this link http://ozlemsturkishtable.com/cooking-classes/, if you’d like to join us.
I also recently prepared a wonderful Online Turkish Cookery Course to provide a window into Turkish culture through its food. I share insight into Turkish history and hospitality, along with a demonstration of popular Turkish dishes; Spinach & feta filo pastry pie, Ispanakli borek; popular Stuffed Eggplants/Aubergines with ground meat and vegetables, Karniyarik, Potato and Bulgur patties with pomegranate molasses; Patatesli ve Bulgurlu Kofte, Turkish Coffee and history of Turkish Delight. Once purchased, course can be watched at your own time, unlimited times; it can also make a wonderful gift of good food for Mother’s Day.
© Ozlem Warren