When it comes to Middle Eastern cuisine, the Turkish cuisine is certainly one of the most popular cuisines. Everything from its appetizers to desserts are widely known in the world, due to the strong influence of the Ottoman Empire and its culture. The Turkish cuisine is a mixture and refinement of Central Asian, Middle Eastern and Balkan cuisines.
Qatar is home to various Turkish restaurants spread out throughtout the country. In Qatar, Turkish restaurants are the number one places to go to for shawerma or fatayer as they serve the best. The Turkish cuisine consists of many dishes but these are their most popular dishes:
Yaprak Sarma or dolmas
Wrapped vine leaves with a filling of rice, onion and spices like mint, currant, pepper and cinnamon.
Similar to a pizza, Pide is a popular Turkish fast-food-like dish, which is a thin crust of pastry is covered with toppings including cheese, egg, diced meat, chicken or tuna and then it is put it into a high heat stone oven. Similar to a Pide is Lahmacu, which is also a pizza like dish with a topping of finely minced meat and onions with spices on flaky thin dough. It is served with tomatoes, lettuce, parsley or rocket and most people prefer to squeeze lemon on it and roll to eat easier like tacos. Pide originates from the early Syrian cuisine of the Levant and the name comes from Arabic ‘dough with meat’.
Kofte is the Turkish version of meatballs. Sold in a wrap as street food or served on a plate with rice and salad in restaurants. There are many different types of kofte and their taste will vary depending on the region that recipe originates from. Çiğ kofte is unusual as it is raw meatballs originating from the south east of Turkey and these are traditionally eaten as a snack or appetizer.There are more than 40 different types of kebabs in Turkey but the most popular is the traditional street kebab. Large skewers of rotating chicken or beef are cooked slowly. When an order is made, the cook will slice stripes from the outside of the skewer, place them in a pastry wrap, and then fill it with lettuce, onions, and tomatoes.
Slow cooked meat or chicken stuffed inside bread, along with your choice of vegetables.
When it comes to dessert, possibly one of the most favoured Turkish food in the Middle East is baklava, which is layers of filo pastries, filled with nuts and then covered with a sweet honey or syrup. Baklava has inspired much of the Middle Eastern dessert, which today is a common gift people in the region give to others. In addition to the baklava, Turkish delight, which is also known as Lokum, is another favourite sweet in the region. The classic Middle Eastern sweet consist of a gel of starch and sugar. Premium varieties of Lokum consists largely of chopped dates, pistachios, and hazelnuts or walnuts. Similar to Lokum is the Nougat, which is made with sugar and/or honey, roasted nuts, whipped egg whites, and sometimes chopped candied fruit.
And of course, after a good meal, one must have a Turkish coffee and the Turkish tea.
Marhaba Picks: Independent restaurants, offering Turkish cuisine in Qatar (in no particular order):
- Emirgan Sütiş Qatar, Al Emadi Financial Square | 4037 5293
- Palace Of Bukhari, Najma Street | 4436 0800, 4436 0801
- Sukar Pasha, Katara Cultural Village | 4408 2000
- Turkey Central, Al Mirqab Al Jadeed St, Doha, Qatar | 4441 2435, 4442 3423
- Ali Baba Restaurant, Al Mansoura Street, Najma | 4443 4640, 5564 5312
- Venice Restaurant, Al Sadd Street | 444 1750, 4432 8492
- Istanbul Sea Restaurant, B Ring Road | 4441 3807, 4436 2662
- Marmara Istanbul, Al Difaa St, Al Sadd, Qatar | 4436 5414, 4436 3947
- Al Karawan, near Qadeem Park, Umm Ghuwailina, Doha | 44315844, 44315843
Author: Ola Diab
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