Ok I was in Turkey months ago. I've just been too lazy till just now about posting on its food.
Turkish food has plenty in common with Indian food. The reason isn't hard to find; a succession of Turks have ruled various parts of India stretching back over a thousand years. We had Turkish painters and poets, some of them must have been cooks too. I'm not really going to present a study of Turkish food in a blog post (that is beyond even my fantastic reserves of overconfidence). My idea here is to describe some of my most notable food experiences in Turkey, and so I should start at the start.
The first thing I had after landing up in Istanbul was a dolma (or stuffed grape leaf) from a small store that looked like a cross between a New York Deli and an Indian corner grocery. Apparently, cold dolmas are vegetarian, hot ones have meat - this one was cold. This was followed in short succession by "Duniya Mehshur" Kuru Fasuliye - World Famous Butter Bean Stew. The restaurant Hüsrev has apparently been making the stuff since 1928, a stew of beans and meat in a tomato base. Its made in these huge aluminium vats by grim-faced cooks and served with buttered rice. Nothing fancy, but quite satisfying.
Next on the list of interesting foods was a baked potato - something I always thought of as uniquely American. It sounded very boring, and frankly I wouldn't have given it a try if it had not been for the insistence of my vegetarian friend. The Turks give it an exotic name - Kumpir - and load it with more stuff than most Americans can spell. These fillings are laid out in colourful rows behind a glass case, looking for all the world like an ice-cream parlor. The Kumpir-master takes a massive potato, splits it open and piles it high with yoghurt, olives, veggies, beans and loads of other things, then finally tops of off with a flourish of ketchup and cream. Surprisingly, most filling choices were veg - in fact the only common non-veg choice was a very dull sliced sausage that looked like it had come from a can. The kumpir is one of the most colourful dishes I've ever seen, but best of all - its a fantastically tasty medley of tastes and textures.
This is getting long. To be continued...