Vegetarians

What to eat and drink, what not to eat or drink, food preferences, allergies, and (why not?) recipes for Turkish cooking!

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sghughes42
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Vegetarians

Post by sghughes42 » Thu Apr 19, 2012 11:33 pm

How vegetarian-friendly are Turkish restaurants? I'm visiting Antalya and Istanbul for about a week with visits to Pamukkale and Side.

I'm happy to compromise on by-products but no flesh or fish and don't want to stick to familiar chains, I want to experience the local food.

Any advice would be appreciated... The people I'm going with aren't vegetarian so anything that would also suit their Asian diet would be useful.


sally
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Re: Vegetarians

Post by sally » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:22 am

I suspect that the idea of vegetarianism is not well understood in Turkey but Turks eat a lot of vegetarian food without giving it that label. In a lokanta, where you see large trays of hot food just inside the door from which you make a selection, there is often a stew of green beans or of dried beans, there is always rice and sometimes a mixed vegetable stew as well. Omelettes are easy to come by and may contain cheese. Salads are fresh and delicious. Use your own judgement rather than the waiter's and you'll eat well. You can always buy fruit and nuts in a market.

SwampeastMike
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Re: Vegetarians

Post by SwampeastMike » Sun Apr 22, 2012 2:54 am

Chain restaurants are scare in Turkey. A GOOD thing in my estimation!

You should be pleased with the Turkish breakfasts that are nearly a universal inclusion with a hotel stay. Always good bread, olives, tomatoes, fruits and cucumbers. Also cheeses, yoghurt and boiled eggs if you "do" dairy.

As Sally said, the lokantas (sort of a combination cafeteria/restaurant) should be perfect for both you and your fellow travelers even if they can be a bit hard to find in the highly touristy areas. Do though be aware that nearly all of their soups (including the ubiquituous mercemek [lentil]) have a chicken or meat broth base as do a number of their hot vegetable dishes.

The only part of Turkey that I would consider difficult for a vegetarian (and especially a vegan) would be the east where meat in some form is part of nearly everything save plain bread, rice and salads.

Tavsan
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Re: Vegetarians

Post by Tavsan » Tue May 01, 2012 12:25 am

Some of the best cooking in Turkey is vegetarian in nature. Try the whipped eggplant for something different. My favorite. Turks practically invented pilaf too (keep count of the varieties). Lots of fresh veggies and fruits. Best fresh nuts anywhere in the world. Grab some of them as a snack. Their breads and desserts are legendary (you can live on them alone or hey it's worth a try). As mentioned below if you go dairy the possibilities are endless. Soups do indeed sometimes have meat broth bases. It never hurts to ask too. With as many tourists as Turks welcome every year (you know some of these folks are vegetarian) and as many Vegetarians as Turkey seems to have these days I think you'll be OK. Look up some of the Turkish veggie dishes to know what to look for. Seriously, the eggplant is awesome there no matter how it is prepared. I also like the fried squash patties. OK I'll stop. I'm starting to get hungry. Right now I am waiting on pide dough to rise and I will be making a fresh pide with a goat cheese feta and egg topping. If you do cheese and eggs you want to try this combo while in Turkey. We think day old pizza for breakfast is good here in the states. Can't touch Turkish pide for breakfast complete with a hot glass of cay! :D

Tavsan

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David Morgan
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Re: Vegetarians

Post by David Morgan » Tue May 01, 2012 4:02 pm

Tavsan wrote:I'm starting to get hungry.
Me too! Mmmm, patlıcan!

SwampeastMike
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Re: Vegetarians

Post by SwampeastMike » Sat May 26, 2012 6:35 pm

The eggplant (patlıcan) in Turkey is indeed good and I say that as a person who does not care for eggplant. They pick them very small. In preparation for winter they scoop out the seeds and pith and hang them outdoors in long, beautifully arranged garlands to dry. Beautiful next to the garlands of red peppers. Just thinking of the vegetable bazaars is making me hungry for Turkish food!


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