Today’s Cheap Eats inspiration comes from the beautiful , historic city of Antalya on the southwestern corner of Turkey.
Guest writer, Ellen Rabiner ( whose birthday it is today! Say hello, wish her an amazing day at http://www.facebook.com/elleninturkey or via Twitter @ElleninTurkey ) is an opera singer, recovering lawyer and expat blogging about life in Antalya, Turkey and travel on the Turkish Riviera at http://elleninturkey.com
Ellen has been enjoying Antalya’s great variety of inexpensive food for over two years.
Here are her top 5 tips for eating cheaply and well in Antalya.
1. STREET FOOD
The doner (aka gyros, shawarma or kebap, depending where you live) is typical Turkish street food.
This sandwich made from pressed, seasoned lamb rotating on a spit is tasty and rarely sets you back more than 3-4 Euros.
An even less expensive option is the chicken doner, which you can often get for 3 lira ( 1.5 Euro) including Ayran, the traditional yoghurt drink.
Many of these take-away shops also offer meat ball (kofte) sandwitches, or grilled chicken liver (ciger) at similar prices.
Gozleme are usually translated as Turkish pancakes, but I think they’re better described as hearty, savory crepes. They’re always cooked on an open, outdoor grill by a woman in a headscarf, and are the usual staple of roadside teahouses. You can have yours filled with cheese, potatoes, spinach or kiyma (chopped meat), and they’re always served with a salad of tomatoes, cucumbers and parsley. At 5 lira, this makes a delicious, cheap lunch.
3. HOME COOKING
For a more balanced meal, try an Ev Yemekleri ( “home cooking place”).
You’ll have your choice of four courses for around 5 lira (2.5 Euro).
A typical meal would start with lentil soup and salad, followed by a main course vegetable or meat casserole and a pilav (rice or bulgar) or pasta. If you have a sweet tooth you can substitute dessert for soup or salad.
4. PIDE SALONU
Pide is the Turkish equivalent of pizza; a thin flat bread baked in a special oven and topped with meat, vegetables and cheese.
They run from about 5 lira for a simple cheese up to 12 for a hearty pile of beef chunks with tomatoes and peppers (kusbarili).
The tradition shape of the pide is long and thin, but nowadays some places also make round ones. Order a round one with cheese and sausage and you’ve got a reasonable facsimile of a pepperoni pizza.
Top tip: Stay away from anyplace claiming to sell actual pizza. These are fast-food chains of the lowest order, and those pizzas taste like they came from a supermarket freezer.
5. BEACH EATS
You don’t even have to leave the beach to get a cheap, healthy meal. And I’m not talking about the overpriced beach restaurants. Right on the beach you’ll a guy walking by, yelling “midi”. These are mussels stuffed with rice.
Another guy is selling “misir”, corn on the cob.
Flag down a “simitci”, the guy selling those sesame-covered rolls that look like bagels, and you’ve got lunch.
Even better, stop at the local market before heading to the beach and pick up some fruit to complete your picnik.
Hungry for more cheap eats?
Check our previous Cheap Eats Guides
Steve Lowy’s Cheap Eats Guide to London
Julia Rampen’s Cheap Eats Guide to London
Sophie Rae’s Cheap Eats Guide to Cardiff
Meg and Tony Ruilli’s Cheap Eats Guide to Boston