Sesame Allergy in Turkey

Travelers allergic to sesame (susam) do not usually have too difficult a time in Turkey because sesame is used in limited ways in Turkish cuisine, and foods normally containing sesame can often be prepared omitting this ingredient.

You will encounter sesame seeds most commonly in simit (bread rolls covered in sesame seeds—a street snack), sweets and desserts, though you may also see some sesame seeds sprinkled on other breads, rolls, salads and some other foods.

Turkish bread:
usually OK to eat, but look for seeds on top…

Sunflower and olive oil, both of which Turkey produces in abundance, are the most common oils used in cooking. This doesn’t mean there can’t be sesame oil, but it would be used only in certain dishes as a flavoring.

In general, simple restaurants making the common, traditional Turkish dishes may use little sesame. Innovative, more expensive restaurants may use more.

Here are some useful phrases:

Susam alerjim var.
(SOO-sahm [a jee-DEE] ah-lehr-ZHEEM vahr)
“I am allergic to sesame.”

Susama ciddi alerjim var!
(SOO-sahm-AH jee-DEE ah-lehr-ZHEEM vahr)
“I am seriously allergic to sesame.”

Hiç susam veya susam yağı yiyemem!
(HEECH SOO-sahm veh-yah SOO-sahm YAH-uh yee-YEH-mehm)
” I can eat no sesame [seeds] or oil!”

Yersem, çok hasta olacağım!
(YEHR-sehm CHOK hahss-TAH oh-la-JAH-uhm)
“If I eat [it] I will be very ill.”

Yalnız susamsız yemek yiyebilirm.
YAHL-nuhz soo-sahm-SUHZ yeh-mehk yee-yeh-bee-lee-reem
“I can only eat foods without sesame.”


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