‘Turkish food‘ does not equal ‘kebab’. Sure, kebabs may make regular appearances on menus and at street stalls, but visitors who fail to get beyond this miss out on one of the world’s great cuisines. Mezes are where Turkey’s palate is most inventive and adventurous – dine out here for a month and you won’t exhaust the possibilities.Aubergine mash and courgette croquettes; stuffed peppers and tomatoes; vine leaves and bean salads – fresh, simple ingredients, artfully prepared, all scooped up with pide bread and accompanied with delicious soups.
Here’s the full 360-degrees Istanbul food experience: head to the Beyoglu neighbourhood, grab yourself a simit (the ubiquitous pretzel-style snack) and wander the streets in search of an appealing meyhani (Turkish tavern – you won’t be short of choices), where you’ll be quickly surrounded by mezes, followed by some enormous fish and meat dishes, all served up in a convivial, buzzing atmosphere. Be sure to wash the food down with plenty of wine and raki, before walking things off, accompanied of course by a generous portion of syrup-laden baklava and pistachio-crusted lokum (Turkish delight).