The Turkish Cuisine is a unique one which combines dissimilar tastes, improves continuously and possesses idiosyncratic cooking technics and synthesis. Having started their march in the Middle Asia, our ancestors combined the new flavours which they discovered in the lands they were passing through, with their own taste buds and left us a grandiose and precious intangible heritage. We have been around the same dining table in sorrow or gladness for many generations, creating delicious dishes with the products grown in the fertile soil of Anatolia, thanks to this heritage and cultural richness.
Even though Alanya mostly reminds people of sea, sand and sun, the city in fact possesses a cuisine culture worth to explore.
Alaiye (Alanya), which was once the capital city of the Anatolian Seljuks and one of the richest port cities of its time, has been home to the Turkmens since the time of its conquest. The Turks and the Orthodox Rums lived together until the population exchange – with Greece – in 1950s (Rum is a word to describe Greek Orthodox living in Anatolia and Near East) and they improved the city’s cuisine according to their lifestyle.
The practical tastes of the Yörüks who take their herds to highland in the summer and return to the coast in the winter, and the settled traditions of the Turkmens formed a cuisine with a unique identity. Despite being a coastal city, Alaiye is not home to “mediterrean style nutrition” dining tables. With the effect of agriculture and husbandry, in Alaiye it is common to see dishes with plenty of butter, meat, walnuts, almonds and pekmez; in other words, rich-calorie foods. If you have already visited Alanya but have not tasted Laba Dolma (Stuffed Laba), have not eaten Gülüklü Soup in a big dining table or have not challenged eating Öküz Halva without ruining its pool, in fact you have not really come close to Alanya Cuisine.
What about the olive oil dishes? There are some of those too, of course, however there is no way making a local of Alanya have them cold, either in the summer or in the winter. Green beans dish cooked with olive oil, with its steam rising over the plate, or a quickly prepared Tömeken (Purslane) dish are served hot in the dining table.
And of course we should mention the fondness of the Yörüks on yoghurt and cheese. “Yoghurtlama” dishes, which are made with probably the best yogurt you can taste, can be prepared using boiled egg, or sometimes fried mix vegetables, or a trout just fished in the stream.
The list is not over yet. Ülübü Piyaz, Göleviz Dish, Dried Eggplant Tarator, Chayote Tarator, Dish of Dried Romano Beans in Pod, Patience Dock Sarma, Green Tomato Salad, Çigirdik, Migration Çörek, Pishi, Yufka Bread and a lot more of Alanya Cuisine are waiting for surprising you.
As well as being a city fairly loyal to its history, Alanya also serves as the tropical garden of Turkey. It may sound interesting but the locals of Alanya got to know the tropical fruits so long ago and included them into their cuisine and local dialect. How did they do it? Anyone who asks for “avgada” with lemon in the breakfast - as if asking for olive and cheese - will get surprised if there is not any. We should emphasize that the word
In brief, Alanya Cuisine Culture is a rich one which conserves its past and reaches the new flavours. The Turkmens, the Yörüks and the Rums gave the form of the Regional Cuisine of Alanya conjointly. It developed a more cosmopolitan identity with tourism and tried out different flavours. However, the locals of Alanya could not break the tie with their history and started to consume newly-discovered vegetables & fruits with modern cooking technics, making them more appropriate to their own taste bud.