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A Foodie eats her way through Turkey

In July, I jetted off to Turkey for two glorious weeks with my cousins. I love summertime, and it turned out to be the perfect season to eat, eat and eat! The days are long and the restaurants are open until the early hours of the morning. One thing that makes Turkey particularly appealing to the Muslim traveller is the vast availability of halal food.

We separated our trip into two parts – resort and city life. For the resort portion of our trip we headed to Antalya. In Antalya there is a myriad of resorts located on the beachfront. These resorts are generally all-inclusive (accommodation, entertainment, and meals). At these resorts it is quite literally all-day eating, with a variety of options. At the resort that we stayed at, there was breakfast in the main dining hall, then if you are at the pool you can order something from the cafes. In addition, there is fruit, ice-cream carts, and beverages available in abundance. There is also a deli, which takes the décor of a picturesque café somewhere in Europe. The deli serves desserts, sandwiches, chocolates, and sweets. For lunch and dinner, you can go back to the main dining area or you can make a reservation at one of the many restaurants on the resort. Dinner runs until about 21:30. There is also a late-night buffet from 00:00 – 02:00am. I found this to be impressive. The buffet in the main hall serves absolutely everything from beef, lamb, chicken, and seafood, to vast vegetarian options. The salad bar is fully stocked and there are desserts for days. There is fruit in abundance, with an impressive variety. There is pasta, rice, and various types of bread daily. Foods from most countries are represented.

A Turkish breakfast spread

For the city leg of our tour, we headed to Istanbul. Istanbul is a magical city filled with mesmerising sights, sounds, and is undeniably a shopper’s paradise. You will find an authentic donner kebab place on every corner and baklava in abundance. After scouring the land for good food, we have settled on two favourites – MADO and Hakkızade Hafız Mustafa. Both these eateries are 100% Halal, serving absolutely no alcohol.

MADO is a Turkish brand that was founded in 1850, with over 365 branches of cafes and restaurants all over the world. MADO sells everything from ice-creams, desserts, meals, and beverages. I absolutely loved the donner kebab option and their lentil soup (served with bread and goat’s milk feta cheese). I found the food to be flavourful and definitely appealing to the international pallet. At MADO you will find a wide range of offerings on the menu that is somewhat of a ‘fusion’ between Turkish and other cultures. For dessert there is a wide range of goat’s milk ice-cream in many different flavours. Vanilla and mango are my top two. There are even sugar-free options. I must stress, that MADO is the only place in Turkey that was able to give me a proper cappuccino. So, it is definitely worth the visit.

The ‘real’ cappuccino at MADO

Hakkızade Hafız Mustafa was founded in 1864 and is best known for their Turkish delight and baklava. The store is beautifully decorated with super friendly staff and great service. This café tends to be full, but it is worth the wait for a seat, or to make your purchase. Hands down, it was the best baklava that I have ever had, and we were all in agreement. I tried the walnut baklava, while my cousins had the chocolate baklava and the rose Turkish delight. The baklava is uniquely served with a milk sauce that adds another dimension to the flavour of the dessert. We all opted for traditional Turkish tea. Hafiz Mustafa is a dessert experience that must be had if you visit Turkey.

Walnut baklava at Hafiz Mustafa
Tea is served at Hafiz Mustafa

Overall, Turkey is a wonderful holiday destination offering many experiences that are appealing to, and unique for, the Muslim traveller. I highly recommend a gastronomical trip to tantalising Turkey! As the Turkish say, “afiyet olsun” – enjoy your meal.

By Maryam Bibi Rumaney
Maryam is a molecular scientist by profession with a passion for writing. She currently works as a freelance consultant offering laboratory advisory, scientific editing, and English language services. She loves travel and is always looking for the next adventure. Connect with her at http://www.mbrumaney.co/


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