I begin, as I must, with food.
There are many options for street bites. My favourite would have to be the corn that’s sold in small glasses with lots of butter, salt and pepper (if you are a pepper person). This snack is buttery and rich; great for a cold winter night or even a summer night when you are strolling in Kaleici. They also have corn on the cob, but it is nothing like the mahindi choma from home so I didn’t like it and would not recommend it.
Doner. You have the option of having a chicken or beef doner. This is a wrap filled with chicken, lettuce, fries, peppers, pickles, tomatoes and steaming sauce. Oh and it is massive; I almost always couldn’t finish one at a go. The guys who make it have it down to an art; you should watch them do it. My last memories of Antalya are of my friend Daniel and I stuffing ourselves with doner. I am a vegetarian now but I think I would totally gobble a big doner if it magically appeared on my plate now ahaha!
Shakshuka. The original Middle Eastern shakshuka has eggs in it, the one I had in Antalya had small pieces of chicken, potatoes, eggplant and cheese. The first time I had eggplant and I loved it. Not so heavy, this dish is packed with flavour without being spicy. This is also one of the few dishes I enjoyed at the university dining hall.
Mercimek Corbasi. The Turks have a variety of soups. My favourite would have to be mercimek corbasi. This is a vegetable-based soup that combines tomatoes, lentils and other veges. It is just what you need on a cold winter night.
Gozleme. If you know me, you know how much I love chapati. I went home earlier this year and ate as many chapatis as I could. Also, I have many chapati stories from my childhood that I will tell you some day. Since I can’t make chapati, gozleme is the closest thing that I could find in Antalya. This is a flatbread filled with spinach and cheese. Oh, it is delicious! My friend Diny and I went to Duden Salalesi – another great place you should see in Antalya- and had gozleme for lunch after seeing the magical waterfalls. Loved it.
Turk Kahvesi. I must admit at first I didn’t care for Turkish coffee but ended up loving it after my friend Ayten made some for me. Turkish coffee is dense and rich. It stately sits in your mouth and demands to be felt, appreciated and lauded. It is served in tiny cups accompanied by something sweet (chocolate, sweets) and a glass of water. After all this years, I can taste it even as I type this. If there is one thing that will take me back to Turkey it is Turkish coffee.
So where do you go to get all this good food? Personally I prefer small, local eateries. You will find them dotted in old town Antalya. They are loud, quick and in most of them you can see your food being prepared which is always fun especially if you are getting something like the doner. If you want a quiet dinner then go high end with the many restaurants overlooking the sea; the view is gorgeous and you can dine and wine under the stars. If you are feeling adventurous, pack a picnic and head to the park. The parks are huge. You can enjoy a home cooked meal, have endless teas, have delightful conversations with friends and strangers and ,my favourite, people watch.
I could go on and tell you about some more foods but hold on. Head to the old city where you will find Otantik Kumpir cafe. This retro cafe sells all kinds of food but you are here for the waffles of course. The waffles are served with fruits, nuts, and melted chocolate. Heavenly bliss; they will bewitch you.
Great! Now that you are on a sugar high how about a long walk? Let’s meet here next week for bits from Antalya (2).