My expanding waistline and derriere are living proof that I love dining out in Turkey.
Why? Two reasons, because the food here is tasty and sold at pocket friendly prices.
I feel seriously lucky and spoilt for choice as I can dine out in a range of places such as lokantas (24 hour cafes), bars and restaurants.
However, one of my favourite types of food here is the seafood that can be found in most local restaurants.
On a warm summer’s day, I love to head to a seafront eatery for a plate of fried squid accompanied by garlic butter (drool) and a cheeky cold beer.
If I’m feeling flush, I’ll go for a mega “scoff fest” aka a meal at a local restaurant that serves seafood with friends.
Dining out in Turkey (or the Mediterranean in general) is totally different to eating out in the UK; it’s a slow and chilled out affair.
It really is a marathon and not a sprint; as you have to slowly eat your way through a barrage of breads, masses of mezes (starters), salads, meat/vegetable dishes, sides and pudding (if you can squeeze it in).
You almost need to block out time in your diary for breakfast, lunch or dinner here, as it can go on for at least a couple of hours.
A meal always kicks off with mezes (starters); I usually opt for a yoghurt dip packed with garlic and cucumber, an aubergine salad (aubergines are in loads of dishes here) and another option.
This is followed by a fish dish (if I’m in seafood mode) or a lamb/chicken dish served with either rice or bulgar (wheat) cooked in a tomatoes, onions and garlic.
All of this is gobbled down with masses of fresh bread and salad, no meal in Turkey is complete without these two bad boys!
In summer its best for me to don a maxi dress that’s perfect for hiding my post food frenzy belly; that stands proud, round (and sometimes loud- oops).
On a more serious note, I can hardly recall a time when I was disappointed by a meal here.
It’s just all so fresh and tasty and the bonus is that it is almost rude “not” to drink the national drink “Raki” with dinner when you’re eating out.
This bold beverage is not to be scoffed at, it may look harmless, but be warned (it’s pretty darn strong and leaves beer and vodka in the dust).
And the beauty of Turkey is the fact that on days when I yearn for some good old English grub; I need not despair as bars and cafes cater for British tastebuds too.
Fish and chips, sausages, roast dinners and good old English brekkies are in vast supply and if I’m thirsty I can wash my nosh down with a nice cold local (Efes) beer.
What’s not to love about that!