Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Extra! Extra!

Dearest Readers,

It's time for my favorite kind of post: a very special TRAVELMONKEYS FOOD edition!

I'm tempted to launch into an analysis of why it is that eating food overseas is so much more fascinating than eating food at home--but I can tell it's unnecessary. Judging by all the emails and comments I received about Mike's food forays in Tajikistan, you feel the same way.

Let's start with packaging:

These cookies were pretty good, but what makes them something to write home about is their packaging. Even a trip to the corner store is delightful when you're unfamiliar with the brands. Candies and cookies are especially colorful.

In a similar way, Turkish tea tastes pretty much like tea anywhere, except that it's served in these delightful little glasses with individually wrapped sugar cubes on the side:

And not just in restaurants, either. (This picture was taken on a public ferry, where a man walked around selling tea for the equivalent of 41 American cents.) Somehow, the dainty glass makes the tea taste incredibly delicious.

The same rule applies to eating hard-boiled eggs, which I enjoy well enough in America, but suddenly adore when overseas--and all because it comes in a little ceramic holder and I'm given a tiny spoon with which to excavate.

Above is my daily breakfast. Most Turkish hotels include breakfast in the cost of the room, and Mike and I have been very happy with our food here. The Turks love bread and provide copious baskets of it with every meal. Also, there are cucumbers and tomatoes present at every meal. The little green package contains a tapenade. Not pictured: olives, feta, meats, honey. Turkish honey is delicious.

This is me, haggling for a little simit. It's kind of like a sesame bagel, only chewier, and people sell them all over town. Some vendors even carry them on their head:

Which is, you know, impressive. Vendors also sell corn. 1 lira for boiled, 1.50 for boiled and roasted. (Pay extra, it's worth it.)

Fresh fruit is also sold by vendors. These figs were extraordinary and came wrapped in a simple cone of folded paper.

Here's a more classic sit-down meal:

These are kofte, translated as "meatballs," except that they aren't balls, they're more like logs. Tasty though, and served with grilled peppers and tomatoes. The red sauce is kind of a spicy tomato sauce good for dipping, and the drink is something called ayran. It's a yogurt drink that's kind of like a mango lassi, except that there's no mango and instead of sweet it's salty. It takes some getting used to after thirty years of drinking sweet yogurt drinks, but it's pretty good. And it's so popular even McDonald's serves it.

And here's my honey, who has just reminded me that if I don't finish up this entry we're going to have precious few options for eating tonight. Goodnight, Monkeys.


Lou said...

JM, I am loving your blog. Reading about your adventures is the next best thing to actually getting to travel somewhere exotic. The food looks incredible! I'm so glad you guys are having such a fabulous time and thank you for sharing it with all of us!


JM said...

Thanks, Betsy! This is the first time I've traveled somewhere since starting the blog, and I have to say, it's a really fun tool. Like writing postcards, except that I get to take the photos and I get to share them with everyone.

S. P. Miskowski said...

I am eating the photos... Yum! xx