Generally speaking, Turkish home cooking is a mix of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Oriental styles, and that is probably what you'll find in the many Turkish restaurants that are open the UK.
As this cuisine is made up of a variety of dishes from different influences, it is difficult to pinpoint a single dominant feature in Turkish food. However, in the UK kebabs are widely associated with Turkish cuisine, and rightly so.
Turkish restaurants - Flavours to Savour
These days, Turkish food does not contain as many spices as it used to but thyme, mint, allspice, pepper, cumin and cinnamon still make an appearance in various authentic Turkish dishes.
As mentioned above, Turkish cuisine comprises of many different types of food including soups, pilaf, which is a rice-based dish with aubergines, chickpeas, beans or peas, borek, which is thinly rolled pastry wrapped around various savoury fillings, and doner kebab, slices of marinated lamb grilled slowly on a vertical spit and then placed in a pitta bread.
Turkish restaurants - First visit food
If you're heading to a Turkish restaurant for the first time then be sure to sample a range of dishes to get a good taste of Turkish food. You could start with meze, which a range of appetisters, such as fried aubergines with yogurt, pastirma (pressed beef), humus, and fish croquettes. In some restaurants a selection of meze is brought to the table on a tray after the drinks are served for you to make your choice.
For the main course, why not opt for a kebab, either a doner kebab, as mentioned above, or spiced chicken or lamb kebab on a skewer, which are served with vegetables and salad. If you want to try an authentic Turkish dessert then you might want to order muhallebi, a milk-based pudding with sugar and ground rice.
Get a feel for Turkish restaurants
Turkish restaurants tend to be decorated in traditional styles with plenty of red and gold on the walls, and some even offer authentic Turkish entertainment from dancers and musicians.
Find Turkish food in the UK
Bosphorous, London - Famous for its authenticity and attention to detail, this restaurant has Turkish fixtures and fittings as well as a wide range of traditional Turkish food.
Sofra, London - Sofra food may refer back to a Turkish heritage but it also looks forward, to international developments in food styles, especially those influenced by the Orient and to trends in healthier eating. With branches across London including Covent Garden and there are plenty of places where you can try the simple and healthy flavours of Sofra food.
Things to look out for at Turkish restaurants in the UK
There are a few things you may like to know about Turkish cuisine before heading to a Turkish restaurant in the UK. The first interesting fact is that tea is the traditonal drink in Turkey, so there'll be plenty of it in a Turkish restaurant in the UK.
Also worth noting is that desserts are high in the Turks' list of priorties when it comes to food so expect a good choice of puddings in a Turkish restaurant in the UK. These will probably range from sweet pastries to muhallebi (a milk and rice pudding).
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