Typical Turkish Spread

The Turkish people love to eat!    My husband and I just spent 8 days visiting this interesting country and noticed that very few individuals were obese (or even overweight).    There is fast food in the cities but it tends to be buffets with lots of veggies, cheese, lamb and chicken. Some form of yogurt is often a side dish.    Instead of soft drinks (which were rare to see), a favorite beverage is made of yogurt, water and salt and is sometimes served in a bowl with a ladle used as a spoon (definitely an acquired taste) and fruit juices which are plentiful.  Street vendors offer fresh squeezed pomegranate or orange juice.  McDonald's and Burger King's are rare and according to our hosts, quite expensive.   They do love their sweets with lots of pastry shops offering  nut and fruit based desserts and the famous Turkish delight, a gummy bear-textured candy filled with things like pistachios, coconut and cherries.  I cannot figure out why those sweets don't pile on the pounds!

Turkish tea

When you visit someone's home or office, you are offered Turkish coffee or tea often with fruit, nuts, or pastry.  And speaking of tea, everywhere we went, we were given small glasses of tea.   We met some members of Parliament and tea was offered.  We went to a silk scarf shop and we were given tea while we shopped. At the famous Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, there were men walking around with trays filled with glasses of tea, luring you into their shops to look at rugs!    It's a traditional way of life for the Turkish people that has only been modernized by the additional choice of  herbal options. Because it is primarily a muslim country, many people do not drink alcohol, so that may be a factor in their low obesity rates.  Turkey does have a growing wine industry and it will be interesting to follow its progress and impact on the country's cuisine.

Now that I'm back in the USA, I am going to try to eat more like the Turks  (which is quite Mediterranean) and see if it makes a difference!

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Comments

i love turkish food, but there are few restaurant in japan, so sad..

I've been trying greek for a while, this seems alright too tho! I want to stay more healthy :)

Yogurt mixed with water and salt is awesome - especially in hot climates. I know that south Indians go one step further by adding rice to the mix. Great article - It's been a while since I've eaten Turkish food, but I think you've put me in the mood to go get some! Cheers!

Yes, per capita consupmtion of alcohol is low (1.4 lt per capita per year according to a survey covering 1980-2008), though I am not sure if the low obesity rates are linked with that. Traditional Turkish cousine is very much vegetable-based, so that might be a significant factor...

Turkish cuisine is one of my favorites. The taste is fantastic. I would be interested in trying the beverage mentioned in the article being that I have never seen anything like it before. How does it taste? Editor's reply: It was sort of sourish and salty. I think it is an acquired taste. Our hosts loved it.

The same goes for the Indonesian cuisine. The ingredients are extremely fresh and mainly come from the local farmers that not use any form of pesticides. So the quality of the ingredients for which you pay a lot in the "western" world are standard ingredients in most of the Asian countries and especially in Indonesia.

To tell the truth as a professional foodie I am not all that familiar with Turkish cuisine. I am however familiar with the fact that the Mediterraneean diet is considered to be amongst the healthiest diets on the planet. I am going to have to do some research and exploring of Turkish dishes and prepare some. Thank you for sharing this wonderful information!

There is no doubt that Turkish food now ranks among the greatest and most distinctive cuisines of the world. Unlike other cuisines, for example, that of France, which relies largely on the sauce, a Turkish cook simply varies the way he or she cooks meats, fish, vegetables, pastries, and fruits. Plus they're healthy. What more can you ask for?

Great info! I never tried turkish food, but I think I will now, thanks!

Yes, per capita consumption of alcohol is low (1.4 lt per capita per year according to a survey covering 1980-2008), though I am not sure if the low obesity rates are linked with that. Traditional Turkish cuisine is very much vegetable-based, so that might be a significant factor…

This is such an interesting post. I love trying food from other countries, I've never tried Turkish though. I'll look for some recipes for sure. Thanks!

I LOVE Turkish food. It has so much flavor. What wonderful news to find out that it is good for you!

I really like this blog, because it gives me the information I need for my college course materials on Istanbul Gynecology. Very nice work, I applaud you. thank you

The Mediterraneean Diet is considered to be more healthy than many american and north europeean diets,because of its fresh components:fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts and olive oil. And,keep in mind,the turkish population do have a lower heart attack rate than North European population.

Turkish cuisine is one of my favorites. The taste is fantastic. Turkish food is a fusion of Balkan, Greek, Jewish, Armenian, Ottoman and Central Asian cuisines. Many Turkish restaurants in the west include Greek, Lebanese and Middle Eastern dishes on their menus.

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