Every year when we visit Onur in Didim we make a trip (or two, or three…) to nearby Akköy for Turkish breakfast. Turkish breakfast is one of the culinary delights of Turkey – as simple as it is extravagant, as scrumptious and savory as it is satisfying.
The Turkish breakfast can be a simple affair – fresh crusty bread, a few jams and spreads, cheese, olives, sliced seasonal vegetables and eggs – or it can be an elaborate feast that spans three hours, with places of sausage, clotted cream and honey, rolled and steamed pastries, garlic sausage and pepper, and, of course, tea. The traditional Turkish breakfast is accompanied by a cup of black tea and followed by strong black Turkish coffee made in a single-serving copper pot.
Time permitting, Onur brings all of his clients to a traditional Turkish breakfast at Akkoy – by the first whiff they’re hooked; by the last bite they know there’s no return to cold cereal and buttered toast. The owner knows him and seas us right away, on a cushioned platform with a low table, where we read the papers and listen to the rustle of late summer leaves until our breakfast begins arriving.
While Turkish breakfast is available all over Turkey – from fast-food joints that offer a simple 7 Lira (1.8 GBP, 2.8 USD) breakfast plate to lavish displays (and here) at top-end restaurants, the fare restaurants dotting small towns along the Mediterranean somehow tastes better. Maybe it’s the brisk salt air, maybe its the sun’s warmth still radiating inside the food fresh-picked. Maybe it’s the sound of eggs sizzling in the open-air kitchen where the owner’s whole extended family lends a hand. Maybe it’s the chickens pecking at the ground in the back gardens. Maybe it’s knowing that all our food is locally sourced, straight from field to kitchen to plate. Whatever it is, Akkoy is always worth the twenty-minute trip, and the 15 Lira bill certainly doesn’t hit our pockets too hard. We leave lazy and sinking into the day before an afternoon swim.
Akkoy itself is an interesting place for exploration. But 20 minutes from the boardwalk and downtown Didim and 10 minutes from the sea, Akkoy still retains the characteristics of a sleepy farm village.
White-washed houses line the cobbled streets, women take a break from the fields to sell fresh green figs, homemade packed jars of olives, and pickled peppers on tables by the road, chatting the day away.
Older men sit at the tables spilling out from cafes, reading the paper, playing backgammon, and stirring up town gossip. On the other side of the street, an Istanbuli artist has set up a cafe and art gallery away from the crowds of Bodrum down the bay. And yet, twenty minutes after leaving the remains of our breakfast feast, we’re back in downtown Didim, with a Burger King and Carrefoure, Chinese takeaway, and a dozen beaches of bikini-clad beach-goers.