Having the opportunity to try new food on a daily basis is definitely one of my favorite parts of traveling. Although I do miss cooking at home, putting plain yogurt on top of ravioli (monti, my new favorite Turkish dish) is something that I probably would have never tried in my own kitchen. Most restaurants present their menu solely in Turkish, which although daunting, can be a chance to be forced to try something you never would have eaten otherwise. Especially before our two day Turkish class, ordering something completely random and mysterious was really exciting. One time I decided to be adventurous and order an exotic sounding chicken dish, but it ended up being a breaded chicken patty with french fries and ketchup. However, another time I ordered blindly I received a delicious eggplant dish that was like nothing I had ever eaten before.
Now that I have learned most Turkish food words commonly used on menus, much of the thrill has been taken away, but it has also helped me to discover my favorite Turkish specialties. Even further, many restaurants in more touristy areas and some bigger restaurants have English translations of their menus. Just the same as being spoken to in English by a store clerk when your intent was to practice Turkish, English menus take the excitement out of going out in Istanbul. Despite the lack of mystery these menus offer, they frequently elicit many laughs because of the goofy wording and spelling often found in the English names and descriptions of menu items.
Although I don’t always have a way to record and remember all of these funny wordings and spelling errors we’ve seen, here are some:
- waste shish
- shrimp spoup
- meat procedure tray
- salmon needle
- fungi pizza
- macaroni with mash and chicken
Sounds appetizing, right?