A Turkish döner kebab is nothing like the ones you’ve come across in the UK. I’ve never had a lamb one, but chicken döner is one of my favourite fast foods!
The name relates to the way the seasoned meat is cooked slowly on a vertical rotisserie. As the outside layers of meat get cooked, they are carved off and served. There are various ways the meat is served – over rice with salad, in a wrap (dürüm) or in a half-bread like a sandwich (yarım ekmek). We usually get the half-bread – the perfectly cooked chicken is shaved off and put inside along with onion, tomato and lettuce.
It’s served with a side of pickled hot chili peppers. The English in me means I sometimes order chips, cover them in salt and vinegar and stuff them inside too!
Konya Etli Ekmek is a cross between pide and lahmacun. A thin, flat bread topped with ground beef and peppers, cooked in a stone oven. We had this in Fethiye and aside from the taste, the most impressive thing was the size of the etli ekmek – 1.5meters long!! Served with spicy acılı ezme and salad and all for 10tl (although this was 2 years ago, it may have increased in price since). Despite being so long, it’s quite light since it’s thin. Delicious!
Manti are tiny little dumplings, filled with ground meat, similar to ravioli. Sheets of dough are rolled thinly and cut into small squares, then a small amount of filling is added and the sides pinched together, to form little dumpling parcels. The manti is then boiled and served covered in garlic yogurt with a spicy sauce, made from oil or butter and chili flakes.
Making it from scratch is a lot of effort, so when they decide to make it, women in Turkish villages invite each other around and they’ll sit in a group forming a little production line, gossiping whilst making hundreds of manti for their families.
I like it, as long as it’s not too soggy, but I still struggle with the concept of yogurt on dinner foods!
Gözleme is a popular street food in Turkey, marketed in holiday resorts as ‘pancakes’ even though they aren’t really pancakes at all, they’re more of a flat bread. It’s made with flour, water and salt, which forms a basic pastry dough. The dough is rolled very thinly on a special low round table, then filled, folded and cooked on a metal plate. Traditional fillings are savoury – mincemeat, parsley and onion, cheese and spinach or potato and onion etc, but in some areas you will find sweet flavours too – lemon and sugar, nutella and banana, etc, flavours which have been highly influenced by tourist crowds!
My favourite is mincemeat and potato, and our favourite place go for one is the Korkmaz family’s stall in the Fethiye area weekly markets!