Thursday, November 29, 2012

My Take on Turkish Food

This post will be about food :)

Now, I am not a food expert, and in fact I am really bad when it comes to eating food, so this post might not be spectacular, but I will try!

So, Turkish food is very interesting. I have never had Turkish food before I cam here, and I didn’t know what to expect except for the obligatory kebab, lamb, and yogurt. Interestingly enough, these stereotypes are at least somewhat true. For anyone that doesn’t know Kebab, it is practically meat on a stick. However, it seems to be that it is most commonly found being cooked on a stick, and not eaten on one, contrary to what I believed. And oddly enough, I have not had lamb yet.

Yogurt is very common and very popular here. This only seems appropriate that like kebab, yogurt is a Turkish word, too (but it is spelled “yoğurt”). The yogurt here is not like it is in the states: it has a very strong taste (quite tart) and it is either quite fluid or a bit jello-like. They also don’t always eat yogurt alone. They love to use it as a dressing on pretty much anything (pasta, salad, sometimes meat) and they also like a drink, called Ayran, which is some sort of yogurt-based drink.

However, I was surprised by the amount of other things this country has to offer. I discovered that Turks also love bread, cheese, and fruit. The cheese is usually quite soft, or quite tasteful, something that many Americans might not be used to (as I found out here, American cheese is quite bland). However, I really do not care for soft cheese, so I rarely eat this. They also love their fruit, with pomegranates being the most popular.

Turkish people are generally found eating dark-colored bread, which is very good. However, my favorite type of bread that I have found here has to be Simit. Simit is a ring of bread, like a bagel, that is usually twisted around and always covered with sesame seeds. It is quite abundant here, often sold on the street for only 1 Lira. This is definitely my favorite food here, and I eat it every day.

Here is a list of some more popular foods:

-Mantı – a meat-filled pasta with yogurt and some orange sauce on top, I am not sure what it is. (It might actually be ketchup… the Turks love to use it on everything and they also cook past in it sometimes, which is something the Italians found upsetting)

-Lahmacun – a pizza-like object. It is a wide, flat piece of bread that is covered with a lot of things, too many for me to recall.

-Pide – a flatbread that is topped with practically anything you want.

-Sucuk – a type of sausage, that is dark red and a bit spicy (it’ really good on pide)

I have some pictures of some of the food I've had:
^This is Simit^

This is a simit stand in Kadıköy, close to where I live 

This is some guy preparing kebab

This is a pudding that my host family made for me that is apparently customary for this specific week

Piranha. I do not know why. But it was not half-bad.

I do not know what this was, but it looked like hair and tasted like chocolate. It was good

This is the table at breakfast. There is bread, butter, honey, cheese, jelly, and Nutella

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Less Than 8 Months!

Hello, once again. It has been a while.

I have not posted recently; there has not been much to post about. After the AFS camp in Izmir, there was a holiday called Bayram which is multiple days long (I am not sure about the details). During Bayram, it is customary to sacrifice a sheep and then make it into food. Luckily, my family did not do this, and neither did any of the other families in Istanbul (some AFS families did it in other cities). My extended host family visited for a couple of days and I hung out with my friends a lot in Europe.

I have been seeing my friends quite often recently. It has been mostly my AFS friends, but I have hung out with my school friends on occasion. I do not have many friends in school yet, but I think I will get more as the year goes on, especially since I am now in the English Theater Club. The first meeting was on Thursday, and we watched Dracula (which is the play we will be doing). Coincidentally, Thursday was Bram Stoker’s (the author of Dracula) birthday. The leader of the club told me that I will get to choose my part since I am American. This has never happened to me before, so I have been having a hard time deciding. I now know how my theater teacher in the US feels!

Today I went to a mall with the AFSers after Turkish lessons. The mall was really huge; I think it was six or seven floors, all of which were the size of the Maine Mall. I believe I even saw a roller coaster there… Tomorrow, the AFS kids have to do a marathon. Not only do I dislike running, but I haven’t even ran in a few months. Thankfully, AFS said we don’t need to do the whole thing.

Soon, I wish to write a post about Turkish food, or about Istanbul. If anyone has ideas on what I should write, please contact me through FaceBook or by using the comment option on the blog!