I’m Dumping My Clothes Here and Only Bringing Back Food

So I know a lot of people have already been blogging about food, but I’m a total foodie and I’m going to do it anyway.

As others have said, the food here is incredible. I’m tasting flavors I’ve never before encountered and combinations of ingredients that are brand new for me. But since coming to Turkey, there are three foods that I absolutely will need to either bring back or track down once I’m in the states, and would highly recommend for anyone coming here!

1. Halva

This was first presented to me as a dessert, but then I’ve stayed in hotels where it was served at breakfast, so I’m not quite sure what the deal is there. I think the real takeaway from that fact though is that Halva is good at any time of the day. It’s not necessarily a food that is exclusive to Turkish cuisine, but it’s amazing here. It’s made out of tahini, a sesame paste/butter, and sugar. Butter and sugar! Mmmmm! What’s not to like?

The best way for me to describe the experience of eating halva is this: It is like cotton candy + peanut butter + Styrofoam. Okay, maybe that doesn’t make it sound all that appealing… Particularly the Styrofoam part. But trust me! It’s worth trying.


2. Pastil

Okay I’m sorry… I’m not totally sure if this is the right word for this snack or if I’ve spelled it correctly… It’s made of dried mulberries somehow formed into solid, chewy pieces. The best ones have crushed nuts dried into them. They come in different shapes, but my favorite so far has been these thin rectangular pieces stacked to form small bricks, like a stacked deck of cards. You can peel it and eat it layer by layer.

The food I would liken it to most from the states is fruit leather. Or maybe the lovechild of a fruit leather and a fruit roll-up. Who can pass on that? Great road food.


3. Pomegranate Reduction Dressing

This is the absolute best. I don’t even really like pomegranates that much, but I cannot get enough of this stuff. Every time a waiter brings it to the table, I celebrate not-so-silently to myself. It’s incredible mixed with a little bit of olive oil and then eaten on bread. In some restaurants, it sort of takes the place of balsamic vinegar.

So here’s how I would describe it better: It’s like balsamic vinegar + molasses + syrup + pomegranate juice. It’s definitely sharp and sour like balsamic, but it’s thicker, richer, and also simultaneously savory. I don’t know how it’s possible, but I don’t question it. Some of us on the program have started to just call it “Pom Sauce.” As in, “Please pass more of that Pom Sauce so I can smother everything on my plate in it and then maybe just eat some with a spoon.”

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