Amanda Does Turkey: An Idiot’s Guide to Holiday Survival

Amanda Does Turkey: An Idiot’s Guide to Holiday Survival

Join Amanda on her hilarious trip to Turkey.
What could possibly go wrong?

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Romancing the Kebab

Having a bit of fun with the origin of the faithful kebab.

Originally posted on janeyinmersin:

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Saturday night.  You’ve been out clubbing until late and you’re hungry.  What do you want?  A kebab!  You race to the nearest kebab shop (and it doesn’t matter where you are in the world there is always a kebab shop) and you order your kebab “with the works”.

Within minutes you are holding your kebab, smothered in chilli sauce (or God forbid BBQ sauce) and you find your mouth filling with saliva in anticipation.  You’re excited.  You know it is going to be the best kebab you have ever had – and it is.

Fast forward to Turkey.  You have arrived in Istanbul, ready for adventure.  There are historical sites, amazing beaches, gorgeous people – and kebabs.  Yes Turkish kebabs.  The real thing.  You make your way to the first lokanta you come across ready to order your first genuine kebab.  With confidence you place your order.  They speak English!  A bonus.  Your table is laden with a basket of bread, a plate of lemon and pickled chilli and a small salad.  Am I going to have to pay for all this stuff?  Um?

Within minutes a plate is placed before you with a smile.  You look at it.  What is it?  It is not a kebab.  It is not what you were expecting.  You try to get the waiter’s attention but he is too busy with customers.

What just happened here?

Heads up folks.  There are a variety of kebabs available to you in Turkey and each one is unique.

sis kebab

You’ve got the Şiş kebab.  This was what I received the first time I ordered a kebab in Turkey.  Large cubes of meat threaded onto a skewer and grilled over charcoal.  Usually served with grilled domates and biber.  Just a warning for you though, keep your wits about you when ordering.  If you are not sure check because instead of siğir eti (beef) or piliç (chicken) you may just end up with offal as your meat of choice and nobody wants that to happen.

iskander kebab

Then there is the iskander kebab.  It’s got the shredded meat (beef or chicken) but the bread is also shredded.  What?  You might get a side dish of rice and a fresh salad but there will also be yogurt involved and a smothering of butter.  Delicious but again … what?

adana kebab

My absolute favourite is an Adana kebab.  I love this kebab because it is hellishly hot.  Minced meat on a skewer and with some crazy hot spices it is also grilled over the charcoal.  Definitely served with pita bread, salad and I suggest a cold glass of ayran to help you digest or you will be a puddle of sweat by the end of the dish.

But we are still trying to find that elusive kebab.  You know the one that you have after a night out at home.

“Help me Janey,” you cry fearful of your next meal.

“Fear not gentle traveller.  Go forth and get yourself a doner kebab.”

doner

Usually beef, lamb or chicken the doner kebab is slow roasted on a vertical rolling spit.  The Turkish doner kebab was invented in Bursa by a cook named Haci in the 19th century.  The man was quite obviously a genius but not so much of a genius that he put a copyright on his invention.  Nope.  He probably died a pauper.

Your doner kebab will consist of shredded pieces of meat wrapped in flat bread.  You will no doubt also find tomato, onion with sumac and a pickled chilli or two.

Just don’t ask them for BBQ sauce.

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The List

Originally posted on Janey . . . in Mersin:

Sometimes living with The Turk can send me postal.  Have a laugh and maybe join in.  Do YOU have a list?  Let me know below.

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I questioned whether it would be appropriate to hand out little sticks of deodorant while riding a dolmuş this week in Mersin.  There is some major reeking going on at the moment and you just cannot escape from it.  I actually threw up a little bit in my mouth the stench was so foul! 

The Turk who really cannot tell when I am being facetious solemnly tells me that I am being rude but I kind of think I am doing everyone a favour.  I mean we do not want the dolmuş driver to faint from the odour do we?

The Turk and I then had a little bit of banter that went something like this:

Me:  “You know it’s not that hard to keep the B.O. at bay.  Look at Cameron Diaz.  She doesn’t wear deodorant.  True!  All these people have to do is wipe.  Like your ass but you do it under your arms.  It’s easy.”

Background information – The Turk is completely and utterly in love with Cameron Diaz.  I personally don’t get it but she is on The List.  What is The List?  The list is a free pass to sleep with that person if the opportunity ever arises.  I am pretty sure he will not have a hope in hell of ever sleeping with Cameron Diaz (frankly I think she would have better taste even without deodorant).  His list also includes Sharon Stone – again an unusual choice.  My List is even shorter.  It’s Brad Pitt.  Yep.  I think if he dumped Angelina and somehow found himself wandering down the street in Karaduvar and came knocking on my front door he would discover that I was his perfect match and we would live happily ever after.  Oh and I think he would make a great step-father for Daughter.  Daughter is happy with that arrangement too as it means she can go shopping all the time.

The List

Back to our banter:

Me:  Blah, blah, blah.  Cameron Diaz.

The Turk:  She does not smell.  Her scent would be like a flower or a ray of sunshine.  (No shit, that is what he said).

Me:  Dude.  Everyone stinks.  Feet stink, undies stink, breath stinks.  Cameron Diaz is no different.

The Turk:  You stink!  (Maturity level showing).

Me (voice slightly raised):  Yep and so does every other feking person on this dolmuş and IF Cameron Diaz was on this dolmuş she would be stinking it up too because she doesn’t wear deodorant!

It seems we are both pretty mature because I poked my tongue out at this point and he stuck his finger up at me.  If Cameron Diaz or Brad Pitt do ever turn up on our doorsteps they are both going to be in for a treat!