Two women tour Turkey to find the best breakfast
Take a stroll on the shores of Bosphorus any Sunday morning and you will be amazed how many people are happy to get stuck in traffic for hours just to eat the best weekend breakfast.
But it is not just about Istanbul. Two travel writers, Mutlu Tönbekici and Tülin Kılıç, decided to uncover the mystery of best breakfasts and thus travelled around Turkey for a whole year to check and write the equivalent of a “Michelin Guide for Breakfasts.”
“Breakfast has been a cultural phenomenon in the past five years. In cities like Istanbul people are OK with taking the hassle of waiting in line for 90 minutes to get into a hip and popular breakfast lounge. And it is really not cheap. People spend around 30 to 50 liras per person just for that breakfast,” said Kılıç.
Tönbekici, who has penned several guidebooks on Turkey’s small hotels with Kılıç, thinks breakfast really does have something to do with happiness, as the poet Cemal Süreya once wrote.
“Even in Greece you do not have anything similar to Turkish breakfasts. All the cheese, muffins, böreks, fruit jams, simits, tomatoes ... It is a completely Turkish phenomenon and the country should really invest in it,” she said.
Kılıç believes it has something to do with conservative culture as well.
“People go out less and drink less in the evenings. Breakfasts became cultural and social meeting opportunities, especially for young people and conservative families,” she added.
Tönbekici stressed the variety of breakfast flavors across Anatolia.
“Honey from Bitlis, cheese from Kars, hot pepper spread from Gaziantep ... In the places we wrote about, owners make an effort to distinguish themselves and be remembered. Unconventional locations like Kastamonu with its Katmerci Zekeriya Usta, Gökçeada’s Biyer, Karamursel’s Papuri, and Limon in Edirne are particularly interesting breakfast stops in the book, along with several in Istanbul, İzmir and Bursa,” she said.
“We gained 10 kilos over the course of writing the book. But we are happy with the outcome,” say Tönbekici and Kılıç.