First week I came to Ankara, Tuğçe and I went to have breakfast outside. I looked at the table with fear and doubt. Every
freaking inch was covered by a plate, bowl or cup. The table was full of food! I actually thought: ‘Have the waiter misunderstood our order?’ When we said “breakfast for two”, did he understand “a huge feast for my hungry horde of Vikings”? Because I couldn’t believe my eyes…
Nevertheless, THAT was a “normal” Turkish breakfast: eggs, different kind of cheeses (old, goat, sheep…), bread, olives, tomatoes, cucumber, börek (fluffy, filled pastries), poğaça (fluffy bread filled with cheese or smash potatoes), omelet, fruit preserves, ‘simit’, sweet butter sausages, honey, jams, nuts, salad, ‘sucuk’ (like pepperoni or ‘chorizo’ in Spain) and tea in a ‘semaver’ (tea urn). Everything you could possibly want was there. Turkish people really enjoy their ‘kahvalti’ (literally, “before coffee”). They can sit down, eat, talk and drink tea for hours. One could possibly think: Of course you can have a breakfast like that in Europe, but for how much money? The most shocking part was actually the bill. It was just 30 TL for two people, that is 5 euros per person!!
“Simit” is an important symbol for lower and middle-class people of Turkey. It is a circular bread with sesame seeds. In Ankara, simit are more crunchy because they are made with grapes molasses. Simit is also a street food. They are sold by street merchants. Some of them have a simit trolley, others carry the simit in a tray on their head. Street vendors generally advertise simit as fresh (‘Taze simit!’/’Taze gevrek!’) since they are baked throughout the day. Besides, they may be hot (“Sıcak, sıcak!”) and extremly hot (“El yakıyor!” literally meaning “It can burn your hand!”).
- Interesting fact #1: Turkish tea always consists of black brewed tea. The Turkish tea glasses always have that curvy shape because it resembles the figure of a curvy woman. Guys mix the sugar in the tea touching gently the sides of the cup to make a soft and high-pitched sound. The tradition says the sound resembles the moves of a belly-dancer.
- Interesting fact #2: Besides beautiful culture and traditions, Turkish language has also awesome and pleasant words that most other languages haven’t. For example: if you liked the food in a restaurant after finish eating you may say: ‘ellerine saglik’ (literally means ‘health to your hands’) and the waiter/waitress would answer ‘afiyet olsun’ (bon appetit). When someone pays for you (usually guys) you may say to him: ‘kesene bereket’ (I hope your money will grow) and then he may answer ‘afiyet olsun’.
- Interesting fact #3: They always serve wet wipes after you meal, no matter how cheap the restaurant is.
- Interesting fact #4: The bill is always given inside a cute box and handed in to the guy of the table.
- Interesting fact #5: Everytime your cup of tea is empty, a waiter or waitress will fill it for you though it is a cheap café, restaurant or food place.
‘Turk kahvaltı’ might look like tastless and poor if you compare it with the sugary breakfasts served in America and Europe. But with time, one’s body gets used to this healthy routine in the morning.