Great Turkish food

So not to show bias to one country against another with regards to food, I had better put the record straight, I will eat anything as long as I like it, and as long as it is not fish, peppers and apple pie, apart from those I will normally eat what is put in front of me and enjoy it.

Whilst here in Gaziantep in Southern Turkey, giving an NLP Practitioner course, a Coaching course and a talk to the Gaziantep Chamber of Industry, my host Mehpare of GAP Consultancy, has taken me to many restaurants, to savour local dishes.

Today I was taken to Semazen Et Lokantasi, (Gazimuhtarpasa Bulvari No: 69). This restaurant serves Konya cuisine, in a clean, light and airy atmosphere.

Semazen et Lokantasi, Gaziantep
Semazen et Lokantasi, Gaziantep

The lamb meat served is so tasty and moist, it melts in the mouth, and falls apart on the fork. The cooking is done in giant ovens faced with traditional Turkish tiles. The traditional Konya pizza type dish, known as pide, with a topping of knife chopped lamb, is placed on a long spatula to be inserted into the oven, as seen in the photograph below.

The giant oven in the Semazen restaurant
The giant oven in the Semazen restaurant

The dish is then served on a long wooden board covered in paper, to the table as the photograph below, along with a salad and a yogurt drink called Ayran. Italian pizza has never been served to me like this.

Pide or Konya pizza
Pide or Konya pizza.

The second course was the succulent lamb cooked in the ovens above, served on bread, a helping og of rice, some very hot chillies and raw union, again with salad.

Kuzu Tandir or a Konya Lamb Burger
Kuzu Tandir for me Konya Lamb Burger

Kabak Tatlisi or a Pumpkin dessert
Kabak Tatlisi or a Pumpkin dessert

The dessert was pumpkin boiled in sugar and water, so it had become soft in texture and to eat, and served with a sprinkling of walnuts, all swimming in the sugary sauce, plus sesame sauce called Tahin.

Karanfil or cloves to freshen the mouth
Karanfil or cloves to freshen the mouth

The meal could have gone on and on I am sure, but I was too full and satisfied, even to have a Turkish tea or coffee. It was impossible to eat all the food, in fact, I had a large “doggy bag” to take back with me.

To finish, a plate was presented with the inevitable wet towel, a much needed toothpick, and dried cloves, in Turkish the name is Karanfil.

The dried cloves confused me somewhat. What should I do? I had only seen them placed on food as it was cooking.

Mephare took one and place it in her mouth, and said it is traditional in Turkey as it refreshes the mouth, like brushing the teeth. Apparently you should keep it in the mouth until it become soft enough to swallow, but the taste for me was too much, and it stayed in my mouth for a few seconds only.

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