Must try foods in Erzurum, Turkey

Guide to eating in Erzurum, Turkey

Guest blogger and summer intern, Nichole, gives her first impressions upon her arrival to Turkey.


Merhaba! Welcome to the SilkRoad Moments Tourism blog! I hope you enjoy coming along this journey with me as I explore in, and learn about Turkey for the first time!



We landed in Erzurum about a week ago and have been soaking in the city, culture, and practicing a bit of the language. One of the things I have enjoyed the most so far are the tastes of Erzurum. There are a large variety of restaurants and coffee shops here, and I am excited to share with you some of my favorites so far!


We landed in Erzurum about a week ago and have been soaking in the city, culture, and practicing a bit of the language. One of the things I have enjoyed the most so far are the tastes of Erzurum. There are a large variety of restaurants and coffee shops here, and I am excited to share with you some of my favorites so far!


Let’s start with drinks!


Coffee - Khave

If you are a coffee connoisseur or love to try new things you should visit this local coffee shop where you can learn the traditional Turkish way to make coffee!

In this cultural experience you will add the fresh ground coffee beans and cold water to small Turkish cups called fincan, and place them in a metal tin that is filled with hot sand. This small cup size is used so that you can enjoy strong coffee in small quantities. They say that sand is the key to the perfect brew because it evenly distributes the heat underneath the cup. You will then use a spoon to move the sand to surround your cup to make sure the heat evenly covers the sides of the cup. The cup is left alone in the sand for a few minutes to give it time to boil, you want a nice bubble foam at the top. Turks love to drink their beverages hot and fresh! The grounds are left in the coffee so be careful not to drink too far down or you might swallow a few!

When serving the coffee the Turks use intricate silver cups and platters displaying their Crescent moon (which is also on the Erzurum flag). There is a lid you can use to put on the cup to keep the coffee hot while you are not drinking it. This beautiful culture is very relational and many Turks spend their mornings, afternoons, and evenings sharing a cup of coffee together. It is an invitation to engage in life and culture. While at this coffee shop we saw many men and women chatting over coffee, without rush.


The perfect pairing to the bold coffee is a Turkish delight! Turks like their coffee strong and their desserts sweet!

Tea - Cay

Another popular drink is tea or cay pronounced “chai”. The traditional way of drinking tea is with sugar. In Turkey, you take a cube of sugar and dip it in the tea, then put it in the back of your mouth between your teeth or under your tongue, next you take a sip of tea! Most tea is grown near the Black Sea which is only a few hours away from Erzrum. Tea is served in a stacked tea kettle. The top level of the kettle is pure tea, it is very strong. The bottom of the kettle is boiling water. You can choose the strength of your tea by adding as much of the tea and as much of the water to dilute it as you would like. Sharing a warm beverage is a love language in the Turkish culture. In Erzurum it is not common to have iced tea, so you may not find that here! Another delicious drink is the cherry juice! There are fresh cherry vendors on many street corners. This tart treat is so refreshi - Cay

A popular dessert here is ice cream called dondurma. As a visitor, you need to try the ice cream game! Be prepared for a good laugh! Some of my favorite flavors were apricot and lemon. There is a flavor called "Sky Blue," many say it tastes how it sounds! The ice cream here is usually made with goat's milk and wild orchid root which is used to help make the consistency more stretchy so it will not melt as fast! It is amazing!

Another sweet find is a local chocolate shop! The owner imports his chocolate straight from Belgium. They have so many options, from chocolate covered cheesecake to chocolate covered baklava, waffles, and sufles! You will want to get the sampler plate so you can try a variety of things on their menu.


So many candy shops and pastries line the streets and there is no shortage of new things to try! Hazelnuts and pistachios are popular additions in the sweets. Chocolates and other candies are given in special boxes as gifts at weddings and when a baby is born.


If you don't have a sweet tooth yet, Erzurum will change your mind!

You can learn so much about Turks from their food! Dessert is a reflection of the social culture and represents the honorable feature of hospitality. It is common for people to buy chocolates and other candies to give to kids throughout the day!


Meals

I had never had lamb before coming to this beautiful place! Wow, have I been missing out! The lamb kebabs called cag kebab are famous in Turkey! They are juicy and tender, a perfect meal. The traditional way to eat cag kebab is to bite on to the meat while it is on the stick and pull it off with your teeth, no utensils needed!


Food is a way to connect people to one another regardless of culture or background. It brings people together, to sit, to talk, to learn, to listen. In Turkey, there is no lack of options. Whether you love meat, vegetables, or sweets, there is something delicious in Erzurum for you. Another special thing about many of the restaurants in Erzurum is that they have couches and lounge chairs to sit on at the table. Instead of uncomfortable seating which makes you feel like you need to “get in-get out,” you can relax and enjoy the fellowship of the people you are with. A meal can become more than just a moment in Erzurum, it becomes a memory.


xoxo,

Nichole


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