For our second week in Turkey we visited some sites outside of Istanbul, including Canakkale (Troy and Gallipoli), Kirazli (Ephesus), and Pamukkale (Heiropolis, Travertines).
As in Istanbul, we ate a lot of simit, nuts, fruit, and pringles (because you can get them at the bus stops), but we also had a few standout meals about town.
In Canakkalewe stayed at the Kervan Saray hotel, and found that the Ev Yemekleri next door was stocked with vegan foods. I didn’t manage to write down the name of the place, but if you head there, look for the hotel, and its the place to left of the door. The staff were really helpful, paid attention to the vegan passport when we couldn’t explain things properly, and we had a great vegan meal.
We then headed to a small village called Kirazli, which is close to the ruins of Ephesus. We found a place to stay through AirBnB- a one bedroom/studioish flat being rented out by some expats. It turns out that the woman who owns the flat is also a fabulous cook, and we enjoyed two vegan dinners and one breakfast while we were staying there.
The food was really good and the flat was gorgeous, so I figured I should share with any future vegan visitors. It isn’t a vegetarian household, but we had one of the best meals we got in Turkey here. I definitely recommend it to any vegan travellers who’d like a break from the busy city and the battle for food.
Next up we travelled to Pamukkale, home of Heiropolis and the Travertines (natural hot springs flowing down the mountain to form baths and blinding white calcium formations). While every hotel was claiming to offer vegetarian food, most of the restaurants inside were actually closed for the winter. So, we went in search and found two passable options for the vegans to follow.
Mehmet’s is a large restaurant space, covered in carpets and memorabillia, serving traditional Turkish food. Mehmet himself has very good English, and we found it easy enough to explain our requirements. He assured us the soup was vegan, so we ordered that and a platter of appertisers.
Unfortunately, while he understood that we did not eat stock, I think maybe he failed to let us know that the soup was packet mix. I don’t like to guess at these things, but it had that chicken-flavoured-flavour that I remember from powdered soup (none of which is vegan). We put it aside.
The apertiser plate was fabulous though. Fried eggplant in tomato sauce (like I made in Turkey week), stuffed vine leaves, stewed leeks (leeks seem to be season), and other delicious bits and pieces made sure we didn’t starve.
We enjoyed the food and the atmosphere here, and our host was very kind. Just don’t go for the soup.
We also ate at the Kale hotelrestaurant twice, and enjoyed it each time. The hosts made sure the food was vegan for us, and we got a specially made eggplant and zucchini dish with rice and home made chips the first time, and Imam biyaldi eggplant, rice, salad and fries the second time. They even gave us some of the homemade pomegranate juice the family was sharing, which was kind, and really tasty.