“Cappadocia is going to be a full-on exotic holiday!” that said (and squealed) eating at Mcdonalds in Avanos just wouldn’t fit the bill. I mean, when you’ve committed yourself to sleeping in a cave, hiked the valleys, and waken up to a mass of fairy chimneys and other beguiling rock formations, why would you be gorging burgers and downing coke?!
We stayed in the town of Göreme and it wasn’t very hard at all to find a traditional restaurant. Nonetheless, due to the inflow of tourists over the years, the locality in many of them has been diluted. One of those Menu-of-the-Days translated into Japanese really got people thinking whether they’d boarded a flight to Tokyo or Turkey.
Among the few places we tried, Dibek was my favourite. It was definitely not one of those unexceptional run-of-the-mill traditional restaurants in Göreme. I enjoyed the ambience but most importantly I really savoured every bit of the food they served.
They make their own wine, offer the “pottery kebab” as well as many local specialities.
Don’t you just love the look of red furnishings set against brown stone walls. Except for the low tables fenced by wooden bannisters, the Turkish tapestry, carpets and brass knick-knacks all came together to add that very “homey” feeling to the dining experience. It’s like we were invited into the house of a local.
You can disregard everything I said above as utter rubbish but please take heed of this one simple suggestion: When in Cappadocia, eat Testi.
Otherwise known as pottery kebab, testi means “jug” in Turkish. It is a type of tomato-based meat and vegetable stew cooked in a clay pot that’s sealed with bread dough. Not only was it delicious, the dish itself also had some theatrical potential. Pictures above show the owner breaking the clay pot before pouring out the stew to our plates.
…Bore some resemblance to Chinese food, I know. Add a trickle of oyster sauce, testi could have just become some oriental speciality. Oh how clever of me.
You might have thought that after all the slow-cooking, the meat must have been richly infused with flavours, but in truth, its taste was quite the contrary. It was quite light, but not in a bad way and certainly not to the extent of blandness. With the gravy and the rice, all I could say is that instead of having a concoction of flavours possibly coming from assorted spices, I could really savour the essence of the meat.
We also had some home-made wine, kurufasulye, which is white bean cooked with tomato in oven, and given some pickles to go with the testi.
Instead of blakava, we went for aside to finish the meal, a traditional sweet and slightly sticky dessert of Göreme made with flour, oil and grape molasses.
Then took some more photos, got the bill and wended our way back to the hotel.
With love x