Turkey is a fantastic country it really is where east meets west, which gives it a unique look and feel. The people are very welcoming, friendly and accommodating. Looking after others is very much part of the culture of Turkey, so they are great hosts.
One of my favourite things about Turkey is the food. There really is no end of wonderful foods to choose from. Turkish people like to try new things, and over the centuries, they have incorporated the foods of many different cultures into their cuisine.
Each part of Turkey has something different to offer, so travelling around Turkey is very much a culinary adventure.
By far the biggest influence on Turkish food is Ottoman cuisine. But ,even that cuisine is best described as fusion food. There are elements of Middle Eastern, Caucasian, Mediterranean and Central Asian food.
Great for those with food intolerances
The great thing about this type of cuisine is that there really is something for everyone. That includes people who suffer from food sensitivity like the types described in detail over at overcomefoodintolerances.com.
If you have sensitivity to certain foods, you should still be able to enjoy the food while travelling around Turkey. However, for those with a full-blown food an allergy (or allergies) eating out is a bit trickier and could turn out to be dangerous. Whether you do it or not is very much a personal decision.
Dairy free vegetarian food
A significant percentage of the dishes cooked in Turkey are vegetarian. They also have plenty of dishes that do not feature dairy products. In many cases, the milk or dairy products used in those dishes that do include dairy will be goat or sheep’s milk. This is good news because some people who cannot eat milk from a cow can tolerate sheep and goat’s milk.
Popular wheat free Turkish dishes
The Turkish people cook with a range of grains including wheat. However, they are far less reliant on wheat than many Western cuisines are. Turkish pilav is a good bet because it is made from rice. Just be careful to avoid those that contain noodles too.
In most restaurants, you will find a range of delicious chickpea based stews. However, you still need to be careful because sometimes these stews are thickened with wheat flour.
Beware of seafood
Despite Turkey being a largely Muslim country where you would not expect to see seafood being served the Turks actually eat a lot of shellfish and fresh fish. Most of the time the presence of shellfish is obvious, but occasionally a soup, or stew will include a stock that is made from shellfish bones and shells without that fact being advertised.
A word of warning
The idea of food allergies and intolerances is still quite new in Turkey. These conditions are less prevalent in the Turkish population than they are in some Western nations.
Therefore, it can sometimes be difficult to make it clear that you cannot eat certain foods. It makes sense to get a good translation of some basic phrases to help you to explain that you need to avoid certain foods to avoid falling ill. Practice and learn how to say these phrases clearly in Turkish. The Turkish like to look after guests properly, so once you explain in a way that they can understand most waiters will ask in the kitchen for you.
Quite a few restaurants in Istanbul are allergy friendly. For example, the Neyzade Restaurant at the Sirkeci Mansion Hotel, Istanbul is friendly to those with food sensitivities.