Tree Nut Allergy in Turkey

Tree nuts (ağaç çekirdekleri) such as almonds (badem, bah-DEHM), hazelnuts (fındık, fuhn-DUHK)walnuts (ceviz, jeh-VEEZ), and pistachios (Şam fıstığı, SHAHM fuss-tuh-uh) are used occasionally in Turkish cuisine, but except for pine nuts,(çam fıstığı) tree nuts are uncommon in main-course dishes. You find them mostly as snacks, and in some desserts(sweets).

In general, simple restaurants making the common, traditional Turkish dishes may use fewer or no nuts. Innovative, more expensive restaurants may use more.

Peanuts (yer fıstığı, YEHR fuhs-tuh-uh) are not actually nuts, they’re legumes, pulses. Here’s information on traveling in Turkey with peanut allergy.

Walnuts

Walnuts (ceviz, jeh-VEEZ) are used in baklava and in Çerkez Tavuğu (chehr-KEHZ tah-voo-oo, “Circassian Chicken”), chicken with a walnut sauce.

Hazelnuts

Turkey produces half the world’s supply of hazelnuts(filberts, fındık), so they may appear in some innovative dishes, or in restaurants in the Black Sea region, where the nuts grow.

Pistachios

Pistachios (Şam fıstığı, SHAHM fuss-tuh-uh) grow in the southeast. They, too, are mostly a snack, or used in desserts (such as baklava and burma kadayıf) and confections (such as lokumTurkish delight), but may be used in some stuffed vegetables, pilavs and even kebaps.

Snacks and desserts may contain nuts—like these macaroons, each with an almond on top.

Almonds

Almonds (badem, bah-DEHM) are often eaten fresh, in season, as a snack, served on a block of ice to cool them. You’ll also find them dried, again as a snack, rarely in restaurant dishes.

Pecans & Cashews

Pecans (pekan) and cashews(kaşu cevizi) are not native to Turkey, and are not normally used in Turkish cuisine.

Useful Phrases

The Turkish phrase for “I’m allergic to nuts” would be Çekirdekler alerjim var (CHEK-ehr-dehk-LEHR ah-lehr-ZHEEM vahr), but the word used here is “seeds” rather than “nuts.”

Unfortunately, Turkish doesn’t have a single-word designating tree nuts, as English does. If your allergy is to a particular sort of nut, you’d say:

[Name of nut] alerjim var.

For example, Yer fıstığı alerjim var (YEHR fuhs-tuh-uh ah-lehr-ZHEEM vahr) for peanuts: “I’m allergic to peanuts.”

If you want to avoid all nuts, seeds and their oils, say:

Çekirdekler, fıstık – fındık ve yağları alerjilerim var.

(CHEK-eer-dehk-LEHR, fuhs-tuhk fuhn-duhk veh YAH-lahr-uh ah-lehr-zhee-lehr-ZHEEM vahr)

I can eat no nuts or seeds, or their oils:

Hiç çekirdek, fıstık fındık veya yağlarını yiyemem!

(HEECH chek-eer-DEK fuhss-TUHK fuhn-DUHK veh-yah YAH-lahr-uh-nuh yee-YEH-mehm)

If your allergy is not mentioned here and you don’t know the word for it, contact me and I’ll find it for you.

—by Tom Brosnahan


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Food Allergy Awareness & Medical Assistance in Turkey

All Food Allergies

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