Postcard #13

Meze served in a restaurant in Istanbul, Turkey

I stopped for a late lunch in a restaurant with a beautiful sea view. I was missing the meze that had been part of my means while living in Turkey two years before. Passing my eyes on the menu I found I should choose five types. ”Please, choose for me.” the waiter smiled and left, returning 5 minutes later with this simple but delicious selection.

Have you tried meze? Do you know its origins?

Meze or mezze is a selection of small dishes served to accompany alcoholic drinks in the Near East, the Balkans, and parts of Central Asia. In Levantine, South Caucasian, and Balkan cuisines, meze is often served at the beginning of multi-course meals.

In Turkey, meze often consist of beyaz peynir (literally “white cheese”), kavun (sliced ripe melon), acılı ezme (hot pepper paste often with walnuts), haydari (thick strained yogurt with herbs), patlıcan salatası (cold eggplant salad), beyin salatası (brain salad), kalamar tava (fried calamari or squid), midye dolma and midye tava (stuffed or fried mussels), enginar (artichokes), cacık (yogurt with cucumber and garlic), pilaki (foods cooked in a special sauce), dolma or sarma (rice-stuffed vine leaves or other stuffed vegetables, such as bell peppers), arnavut ciğeri (a liver dish, served cold), octopus salad, and çiğ köfte (raw meatballs with bulgur).