I was stressing about a lot of things before coming on this program but the food was not one of them. Lamb? Baklava? Olives? Yogurt? Sign me up. The food has been UNREAL.
We just got back from our first excursion which was titled “Eastern Anatolia.” We did go to Eastern Anatolia, but another accurate way to describe the past week is “Death by Turkish Hotel Buffets” or “How to Learn Portion Control in a Foreign Land.” When I say we just ate our way through Turkey, I’m not exaggerating. The struggle is real.
I’ll let the food pics speak for themselves. However, I will leave you with a few do’s and don’t’s to help future Duke in Istanbul-ers avoid the dreaded Turkish Tummy.
DO drink a lot of su (water). It’s fun to say (“Hey, can you su me?” has yet to get old for us), it fills you up and should, theoretically, prevent you from overeating (not always the case), and it’s vital to, you know, live.
DO figure out which desserts you don’t really like. I like all desserts so this was a toughie, but I also like fitting into my clothing so I would highly recommend this. Baklava? Those delicious honey-filled eye-ball things? The dessert that looks like sand but tastes like heaven? Turkish delights? Use your first week to sample everything, then only go for the desserts you love. This is much easier said then done but your body will definitely thank you.
DO finish every meal with çay, aka tea. This is pretty easy to do since you get it after every meal. There was one dinner when I didn’t automatically get çay and it was very traumatic. We’re all pretty pro-çay right now. It’s a great way to end a meal and helps settle your stomach. Only downside, you will have to pee very shortly afterwards. On our excursion, we had many stops that were called “tea and pee.” Lolz.
DON’T eat a lot of ekmek (bread). Oh ekmek. Can’t live with it, can’t live without it. The Turks loveeee their bread. I’m not a bread-eater at home, but this stuff is unreal and they literally dump baskets of it on you at every meal. For a while there, I was pretty much averaging 2-3 pieces a meal. Tough times, tough times. For those of you with portion control, please disregard. For everyone else (aka normal people), my advice is to wean yourself off of the ekmek as fast as possible. Corrine, Megan, and I recently participated in our first ekmek-free Friday. I can proudly say I’m 48 hours ekmek-free and feeling great.