Gluten-free eating in Turkey may sound challenging and it is really hard to withstand against the delicious food of Turkey. If it is not the dishes themselves makes you take the challenge, it is the slaphappy, carefree, lovely waiters, the know it all restaurants and nothing can happen form this kind of attitude bearers.
There are two main points that will force you to stay healthy first of them is waiters and the other one is Turkish cuisine.
Most of the good-hearted, generous, lovely waiters of Istanbul or Turkey may not understand that gluten is a health issue, an illness or allergies…
Turkish cooking/cuisine is a very healthy cuisine, and we do not eat kebab all day. We cook a lot of vegetable dishes, both hot and cold… Not to forget grains!
Breakfast: Turks go insane over breakfast (most of us), yes we love to eat simit, poğaça, and sorts but we also love sahanda yumurta, or eggs prepared any way you like, you may try a menemen, and varieties of cheese, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, bal (honey) – kaymak (clotted cream), jams and butter…
Soups: Most of the soups have flour as a thickening agent, or starch, or chicken bouillon perhaps. You have a lot to taste so skip that.
Dishes cooked with olive oil: Sorts of vegetable dishes cooked with olive oil aka zeytinyağı without meat, served cold, a national heritage I must say, we are very obsessed with our zeytinyağlı dishes! (for example I do like my zeytinyağlı served at room temperature, just before putting it in the fridge, the same day it’s cooked, obsession is a sweet thing.) These dishes can be made from any vegetables like leeks, peas, green beans, artichokes, aubergines, okra, zucchini, green fava beans, wrapped vine leaves, wrapped cabbage leaves, sarma, stuffed zucchinis, tomatoes, dried aubergines dolma… Turks have plenty of them, choices will vary due to season for sure… Most of the restaurants serve this kind of dishes.
Salad and Mezes: Meze is a large selection of small salads, zeytinyağlı dishes, kinds of appetizers to share, accompany your drink and every tavern has different kinds on their menu. Some made from seafood, some fish, some vegetable.
Vegetable dishes: Stews and sorts… Not to forget the rice dishes too! All the delicious food displayed on the counter calling your name and they are yours after and you basically point and say aye! You may order a bowl of yogurt with that.
Fish/Seafood: Order yourself grilled fish, what is in season. Stay away from the fried ones, we cover them with flour and fry them. Shrimps cook in small earthenware, octopus salad, grilled octopus… Do not order fried calamari, but grilled calamari may do.
Kebab/Meat: You will be tasting delicious kebabs, order them as a portion, but we serve the kebabs on a pide, lavaş… The thing you have to be careful is ordering them without. Same goes with the döner!
Köfte: It includes breadcrumbs in, the delicious meatball, so sorry!
Sweets: Sorry but you are safe with the fruits 🙂