Eat Like A Local In Turkey

Friday, July 26, 2019
By Azamara

I was reading the May issue of AFAR Magazine over breakfast today. This is AFAR’s annual Food Issue and I highly recommend it, especially if you’re a magazine junkie and amateur foodie like me. The inspiration for this week’s ‘AZ the World Turns’ blog is a sentence by the Editor-in-Chief, Julia Cosgrove, “As with most of my travel memories, those from my Turkey trip are entwined with what I ate and drank there, and with the meals shared by friends old and new.”

Photos from the Selcuk Market during a recent Azamara cruise to Kusadasi, TurkeyPhotos from the Selcuk Market during a recent Azamara cruise to Kusadasi, Turkey.

I can relate to that! There was a time when I was in Istanbul quite a bit for work.

Over the years I fell so in love with Turkey that my husband and I vacationed there as well. One year Peter and I sailed a Beneteau 42’ from the Bay of Gocek along the gorgeous coast of the Gulf of Fethiye. Every night we pulled into some small harbor. There was always a young man at the ready to help us tie-up in the Mediterranean fashion of ‘stern-to’ the dock or quay (not easy if you’ve never done it!)

Along the coast of Turkey we always ate the most wonderful grilled fish, accompanied by fresh salads, home baked breads and local wines.

The food of Turkey is amazing, and so are the people. In one small port town an old man cried when I told him I was American. He was used to welcoming Europeans and Australians but was taken completely by surprise when I replied “American”. My knowledge of WWII history is shaky at best but I understood he was grateful.

Photos of the charming Turkish village of Sirince, near KusadasiPhotos of the charming Turkish village of Sirince, near Kusadasi.

The foods all along the Turkish coasts are truly of the Mediterranean Diet. Many cookbooks and articles are published about the health values of the Mediterranean Diet. In a nutshell, it is based on fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, whole grains and plenty of olive oils.

Turkish agricultural traditions date back thousands of years. This brings to mind the Slow Food movement. Slow Food is an international non-profit organization whose mission is to promote local foods and the original traditions of gastronomy and food production in each locality. Each local chapter aims to protect their culinary traditions, original recipes, heritage seeds and game, and to teach future generations so that their cultural legacy is not lost to the homogenization of foods and traditions. And while the Slow Food Movement began in Italy in 1986, it is enthusiastically embraced in Turkey. Last summer the Slow Food International Council meetings were held in Istanbul.

With Azamara’s longer stays in port and frequent overnight visits, guests have more time to dine locally. In Europe, chefs often go ashore to buy fresh ingredients.

Photos of the charming Turkish village of Sirince, near KusadasiExecutive Chef Frederic selects fresh fish from a market in Saint-Tropez.

I’d love to hear about your own Mediterranean dining experiences!


Wow, this blog post sure made us hungry! We can’t wait to return to Turkey. Here are a few upcoming voyages:

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