Eating out in Turkey is always something very special for the gourmet: a very old and traditional cuisine complete with the aroma of fresh additions of herbs and spices.
Everywhere by the beach in the early morning you will meet fishermen at the small harbours, waiting for you and other clients to buy their fish directly from the boat, caught during their trip at sea the previous night.
While waiting for you, they are eating warm piece of bread in form of a ring covered with sesame called simit or gevrek, having their first drink of tea and, like their great-grandfathers thousands of years before, exchanging tales of their adventures with the neighbouring fishermen, but never forgetting to keep their prey in view. The best start for a morning in Turkey is to sit down on your sunny balcony with a huge breakfast in front of your eyes. In hotels and restaurants a typical Mediterranean breakfast is almost too big to finish, with white cheese (beyaz peynir), honey or marmalade, black olives, boiled eggs and huge amounts of fresh bread, similar to Italian bread. Around Antalya, if you are lucky, you may be served the particular speciality of that area, marmalade made from egg plants. This consists of small pieces of egg plant in a sweet syrup, eaten spread on bread or together with yoghourt.
Sitting in one of the many cafes, you could have a light breakfast with coffee and toast with cheese. If this doesn't appeal, why not try one of milk bar for a more energy-giving breakfast. These small restaurants are prepared for early customers and specialize especially in milk and egg dishes. Lots of people like the morning dish called "Menemen", a delicious mixture of egg, tomatoes, cheese and pepperoni served in a small pan.
In addition to the hot pan, you will get pastry called "pogaca", small pieces of buttered bread, different types of cheese and a puff pastry served hot from the oven. Some restaurants also offer light milk puddings and sweet desserts, for example, a pudding made from rice and milk and pudding of Noah (Asure).
Turkish black tea needs to be brewed for a long time until it is strong and tastes bitter. Then you dilute it with as much water as you like. Tea is usually drunk, all day long, with two pieces of sugar, from glasses shaped like tulips. Many foreigners also like to drink tea to help digestion after eating oily dishes.
Tea is offered to tourists whenever possible and they should accept, whether they are in a carpet shop or even in a bank. The host feels offended if you as a guest will not agree to have a drink of tea with him. A very light tea is elma cay (apple tea), made from dried apples and their flowers and served already sweetened. A tea brewed from the leaves of a tree is very good if you have problems with your stomach. Turkish coffee is known world-wide for its taste and smell and also because of the grounds left after drinking used for fortune telling. Quite different to tea, Turkish coffee is not served automatically to a customer, and it is necessary to know how to order it: sade means unsweetened, orta means medium sweet or sekerli, which means very sweet.
The tea gardens are nearly every where - in small villages or in big towns. They are well-known as meeting points for the locals, but are mostly used by men, who love to have tea in groups, maybe while playing a game of backgammon. Lots of new experiences await you away from your holiday resort. Enjoy them.
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