Explore Türkiye through its Culinary Treasures

Published On: May 27, 2024 05:43 AM NPT By: Firat Sunel

Any Nepalese tourist visiting Türkiye will be delighted to discover the Turkish cuisine, among the other attractions the country offers. Like in many South Asian countries, food plays a central and cherished role in Türkiye, be it in vibrant street food scenes or celebratory family gatherings. We connect with loved ones over hour-long breakfasts, featuring a spread of fresh vegetables, cheeses, olives, Turkish pastries, and “çay” - the classic Turkish tea. We serve Turkish coffee and Turkish delight (“lokum”) to our guests, cherishing the warmth of the conversations that accompany them. There's even a saying that loosely translates to: “The memory of a cup of Turkish coffee lasts for forty years.” Similarly, in Nepal, Chiya is a significant aspect of social and daily life.

In Türkiye, we take pride in the variety across our regional cuisines. This diversity spans from cold mezes and light “olive oil-based dishes” of the western coast which highlight the freshness of vegetables, to the spicy, succulent kebabs of the southern and eastern regions.  Tourists visiting Türkiye experience this culinary diversity first-hand.

While Istanbul stands out as the most preferred destination for first-time visitors, in recent years we have seen a growing diversity in the destinations visitors wish to explore. The westernmost coast of Türkiye, the Aegean region, is emerging as a popular choice. This sun-drenched coast, with its lush landscapes of green and turquoise, offers magnificent scenery, a rich ancient history, and a healthy food culture, which emphasizes the freshness of local produce.

Nepali tourists visiting Türkiye must include the Turkish Aegean region in their itineraries. This destination is a heaven for vegetarians in particular – with the vast array of fresh, vibrant and plant-based dishes it offers. From wild greens to fragrant herbs, sautéed with garlic and olive oil, every bite embodies the essence of the Turkish Aegean way of life. These dishes attest to the regional philosophy of embracing wholesome and sustainable cooking practices, which priorities taste as well as health and longevity.

Indeed, the "Turkish Cuisine Week," initiated in 2022 by the First Lady of Türkiye Emine Erdoğan and annually celebrated from May 21 to 27 has this year focused on and showcased the flavours of the Turkish Aegean. Recent years have witnessed an upsurge in restaurants across the Turkish Aegean region, bringing to the fore innovative and creative recipes, while sourcing fresh produce directly from nearby fields to the tables. Notably, five regional restaurants (in the provinces of Izmir and Bodrum) earned Michelin stars last year.

The Turkish Aegean cuisine offers many culinary treasures awaiting exploration, ranging from plant-based dishes infused with the region's distinctive olive oil to refreshing cold mezes, alongside an array of fish and seafood delicacies.

In your next journey to Türkiye, make sure to pay a visit to the Aegean coast as well. You will have an unforgettable experience, exploring the region’s diverse blend of ancient history, sublime landscapes, sunny beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, cultural wealth and culinary pleasures, taking home cherished memories.


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