Turkish are probably the best masters of roasted food as I known. As soon as we have checked in a small hotel somewhere in Sirkeci region, with the help of GPS and Guardian Guide, we were heading to one of best kebab restaurants in Istanbul – Şehzade Erzurum Cağ Kebabi. After two years, I could not recall what it exactly liked, but only thing I remember is that the meat was defiantly one of best roasted flavor I have ever tasted, and it was complexly unexpected.

Spending busy sightseeing day from bazaar to bazaar, one of the best snacks you could get is the fast food type of kebab sold just in the corner of bazaar entrance. Ever though, it would not be disappointing you. Juicy kebab meat was generously stuffed into a big piece of Turkish bread. Avoiding the novel way of adding fired chips, you can just stay eating street food type of kebab, not fancy fast food type.

In Istanbul Karakŏy near the sea side, fresh fish market sells all kinds of fish. Sitting in any open restaurant with amazing view of sea and mosque, you can enjoy grilled or fried sea fish, probably directly from the market. No any fancy garnish or any other complex flavor, only raw onion and piece of fresh lemon, maybe a bit pepper and salt. You can just have the very pure taste of fish. Or, you can get a grilled fish stuffed in bread, mixed with a bit salad and raw onion and chill sauce as a perfect afternoon snack.

For me, Izmir did not give me much more impression. However, a hided amazing kebab restaurant – Doyuran Manisa Kebap Salonu, cached all my attention and memory. Sitting outdoor under green shadow, different from Istanbul, Īskender kebab is big sliced and thin meat; mainsa kebab is layered on soft bread yet with super crispy skin. Both are served with tomato sauce and splendid yogurt, roasted green chili. I am not vegetarian, love meat but also do not eat much, definitely not large portion during lunch. However, I ate maybe 300-400 gram kebab only during that lunch? And it was just satisfying. With meat roasted in master level, all you can have is the very authentic way of enjoying meat, not other fancy flavor, just the piece of meat with the very sense can only come from well roasted meat.

1410776279040 Doyuran Manisa Kebap Salonu - izmir

If unfortunately, you are very strict vegetarian, you can still enjoy various baked/roasted food. Famous pita bread can be served with any dish; Gözleme is stuffed with spinach and cheese; Simit is baked with sesame seeds, which you can get anywhere and it is even perfect as a snack; Vegetarian Turkish pizza is stuffed with fermented spinach and cheese.

Such country, when I have opportunity traveled from coastal region to the central Anatolia region. With the changed and amazing landscape, I understand why roasted/backed food is one of the essentials in its cuisine, and Turkish are absolutely masters of grill and roasting.

(All photos from Leee’s Turkey trip on Sep 2014)

Other reading
Turkey session one – Unforgettable Istanbul
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