Seafood is one of
the delights of Turkish
though it is
fairly expensive. If you are allergic
to fish or seafood, however, you may
still be able to enjoy Turkish cuisine
Fish is one of the
glories of dining in Istanbul and
indeed anywhere along Turkey's thousands
of kilometers of coastline, and fresh
or frozen fish are shipped to
well. Alabalık (trout)
are raised in fish farms for the table.
Fish is usually served by itself,
looking like a fish, rather than as
an ingredient in stews, pastries, etc.
lobster, mussels, etc.) and other deniz
mahsulleri (deh-NEEZ mahh-sool-leh-ree,
"sea harvests") are
on many seafood restaurant
menus in Turkey, even though consumption
of shellfish is prohibited by Islamic dietary law. Because of this prohibition,
shellfish are unlikely to be
included as unknown ingredients in many dishes.
The chef may see it as his responsibility
to let diners know if shellfish have
been included in a meal so that diners
who follow Islamic dietary customs
may avoid them.
Traditional Turkish dishes
do not usually combine seafood and
meat ingredients. Meat and
vegetable-meat dishes are just that,
in my experience.
Many simple ready-food (hazır
yemek) restaurants do
not serve seafood at all, so their
soups, stews, pilavs and kebaps should
be safe (as well as inexpensive and
may include seafood,
such as taramasalata (fish
roe spread), or fresh sardines (sardalya) or
fresh anchovies (hamsi) prepared
in various ways, or lakerda (salted,
pickled tunny), but in my experience
the seafood dishes are pretty distinct
and thus easily avoided.
The cuisine of the Black Sea
region is particularly rich in fresh sardine and anchovy dishes.
Many restaurants serve both meat and
fish, but others specialize in one
or the other, so anyone subject to
fish or seafood allergy may want to
avoid seafood restaurants and
specializing in meat or traditional
Turkish ready-food dishes.
I cannot say
how careful kitchens are about keeping
fish and non-fish
dishes, pots, pans separate. I'd
guess not very careful. Luckily,
in many ready-food restaurants the
kitchen is right in front of you, and
you can often see how the food is
prepared. See also Food
Allergy Awareness in Turkey.
Fish: balık (bah-LUHK)
Lobster: istakoz (eess-tah-KOHZ)
Octopus: ahtapot (ahh-tah-POHT)
Shrimp: karides (kah-REE-dess)
Squid: kalamar (kah-lah-MAHR)