Category Archives: Turkish Cuisine

A Heartwarming Soup for Cool Nights: Yayla Çorbası

yayla corbasiWe know the temperatures in Bodrum still permit for swimming, but sometimes those evening breezes off the sea can be chilly!  Warm up your skin and soul with this traditional Turkish soup.

History:

Yayla Çorbası, also known as Yogurt Soup, is a thick and hearty traditional Turkish soup from the cool and rainy northern Black Sea Region of Turkey. The name, reflective of the soups origins, is derived from “yaylalar”, or the high mountain meadows of that region, which is also famed for the quality of it’s dairy products.  The main ingredients – yogurt, flour, rice, egg yolk, and mint – are all easily-found staples of Black Sea and Anatolian cuisine.  As with most Turkish dishes, recipes have been passed down from mother to daughter and neighbor to neighbor over the centuries, resulting in great variation region to region and kitchen to kitchen.  Turkish families often serve this soup in winter, when the Black Sea drizzle chills residents to the bones, or when someone is fighting a cold.  If you’re shivering when the suns dips down before you have time to fully dry off from a day’s swim, then this is the perfect soup to try at home!

Recipe:

You will need: IMG_2532

  • 1/2 cup white rice
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 2 T flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • White or black pepper to taste
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T dried mint

Directions:

  1. First, measure out the rice and put it in a covered soup pot with a pinch of salt and 3 cups of water. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook until the rice is soft. If you have boiled chicken legs/thighs (see “variations” below) then you can replace the water with the chicken stock.
  2. Measure one cup of yogurt (preferably whole) into a bowl. Whisk until the texture is completely even.
  3. Next, mix in the flour and beat briskly.  IMG_2534
  4. Once the flour and yogurt are amalgamated, beat in the egg yolk.  Keep beating until the mixture has a silky smooth texture.
  5.  Once the rice is cooked, take one ladle of hot water from the pot of rice and gently stir it into the yogurt mixture to raise the temperature.  If you skip this step, your yogurt might separate when you pour it in the hot broth. IMG_2547
  6. Gradually pour the yogurt mixture into the soup pot with the rice, whisking all the while. IMG_2550IMG_2549IMG_2551
  7. Add salt and pepper.
  8. Continue whisking until the mixture simmers. Take it off the heat before it boils.IMG_2553
  9. Meanwhile, heat the butter and dried mint in a saucepan.  Once this boils, stir it into the soup and serve!IMG_2555

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Variations:

  • IMG_2531Add chicken: Before cooking the soup, boil 1-2 chicken thighs and several bay leaves in water until the meat is tender and falls off the bone.  De-skin, de-bone, and add to the soup when finished. For a complete recipe that incorporates chicken, see this recipe on food.com.  While definitely not traditional, you can also add Turkey. Simply Recipes has an adapted recipe with Turkey and chickpeas here.
  • Add chickpeas: cook chickpeas beforehand, or add drained canned chickpeas to the soup and cook together for the last 3 minutes.
  • Substitute rice out for buckwheat.  Buckwheat provides a nutty flavor and is lower in calories and starch but higher in fiber and protein. This recipe substitutes rice for cracked wheat.
  • Top with mint butter, savory sumac, urfa isot (dark roasted pepper), paprika, thyme or cayenne pepper to suit your taste.
  • There are as many variations as households in Turkey! Try a few more recipes here, here and here.

Terrified of trying Turish cooking on your own?  There are plenty of great cooking classes around Istanbul and the Izmir Peninsula.  If you’re vacationing at Çeşme or Izmir, we encourage you to try out Babushka Alaçatı!

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15 Great Expat Blogs About Turkey

Here are 15 great blogs to check out if you are curious about living in Turkey, want to try out more Mediterranean Cooking, or are just searching for some travel inspiration:

  1. Turkey’s For Life: Julie and Barry, two UK citizens, share advice, recipes, and plenty of personal adventures on this extensive blog.
  2. Ozlem’s Turkish Table: Photos, easy-to-follow recipes and interesting tales woven together by an award-winning chef who also happens to offer online cooking lessons.
  3. Turkey from the Inside: Pat, a UK-origined former Thomas Cook travel specialist, travel book author and writer for Today’s Zaman takes readers on a whirlwind tour through the culture and history of many different Turkish regions
  4. Back to Bodum: An Aussie expat and her Turkish husband re-adjust to life in the Turkish countryside
  5. Pul Biber – With Everything (Red Pepper with Everything) Two retired UK expats living in Selçuk adjust from their fast-paced London life to soaking up the small town sights, smells and occasional serenity
  6. Adventures in Ankara: A Pennsylvania native and lawyer by profession shares her adventures and observations after moving to Ankara with her Turkish husband. Plenty of travel tips, trip reviews, and a culinary corner as well.
  7. A Seasonal Cook in Turkey: A 30+ year expat resident of Istanbul share’s the years’ best fare with recipes fit for every season.
  8. Slowly By Slowly: “Roadtripping through one Turkish-American marriage with a troupe of backseat-driving Karagöz puppets”
  9. Almost Turkish Recipes: Simple and tasty meals you can make in your own kitchen, regardless of whether you have access to Turkey’s extensive outdoor bazaars.
  10. From the Seven Hills of Istanbul: A Wisconsin native who has lived almost continuously in Turkey since completing her MA in Turkish Studies in 2009 now shares restaurant reviews and travel tips covering Bursa and Istanbul.
  11. Binur’s Turkish Cookbook: Recipes, tantalizing photos.  What more could you want in a simple food blog?
  12. The Turkish Life: A SF native residing in Istanbul and writing about food, running, photography and the environment
  13. Far From the Sticks: An East Coaster residing in Ankara with her Turkish husband shares stories, photos and culinary adventures.
  14. Adana Adventures: Part travel /living guide, part blog written by an American expat living in Adana with his Turkish wife.
  15. Inside Out Istanbul: Lisa Morrow, author of  Inside Out In Istanbul: Making Sense of the City and Exploring Turkish Landscapes: Crossing Inner Boundaries shares book reviews, life tales, and plenty of photos.

+ 1 Best of Bursa: An expat family shares their favorite experiences in a city they’ve come to call home.

Looking for More Reading: the Daily Sabah has also collected an “Ultimate list of expat blogs on Turkey” to be found here.

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Turkey’s City Street Food

If you’ve been around the beach, you know the basics (or can find them here: Turkey’s Best Beach Food): gözleme, ayran, stuffed mussles, melon ice cream bowls, steamed corn, fresh fish.  But what can you eat when you hit Turkey’s urban streets?  Here are some of the must-try simple street snacks (or full meals) you’ll find in almost every urban center:

19555587985_89648f59d8_zBreakfast:

Head to the nearest wheeled glass cart labeled “halk ekmek” (“people’s bread”) or the small shop by the bus stop and grab a few simit for a simple start to the day. At first glance a simit may look a bit like a bagel covered in sesame seeds.  Cracked open it can be eaten with soft spread cheese.

3077558355_04f058d2be_mTired of simit?  Ask for a poğaça instead.  At 2/1 lira they’re still quite cheap, and come with a variety of savory stuffings  like olive (zeytin), cheese (peynir), or spicy sausage (sucuk).

salepFinish off your breakfast with a glass of strong Turkish tea or salepa traditional drink made with powdered orchid root and flavoured with cinnamon.




Lunch/Quick Dinner/Midnight Snacks

Turkey’s most popular savory street food is the doner kebab (here known as durum) with long strips of lamp of chicken rolled in flatbread with tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and the occasional french fry (curious about what defines a kebab? read our post here). But if you only know the doner… you’ve barely dabbled in Turkish street tastes!

7793420340_cf56c7e319_zOnly got 10 minutes for lunch? One of Turkey’s most popular “fast foods” is lahmacun, a flatbread topped and backed with minced meat and a garlic-tomato paste, almost always paired with a cool glass of ayran (salty yogurt).  Almost any neighborhood will have a lunch joint with 2 lahmacun + ayran lunch specials for about 5 lira.  Don’t forget a squeeze of lemon!

tantuni

If you’re seriously on the run, grab a tantuni or “Turkish burrito”.  Tantuni are wraps composed of ground meat cooked on a wide metal plate with spices and oil then rolled up with slices of onion, tomato, cilantro and lettuce.  Take it with a hot green pepper if you can handle extra-spicy.

Hit by 3 am hunger pains? Head for a kokoreç stand.  While chopped sheep intestines might not sound appealing during the day, this savory, spicy and complex flavoured sandwich is sure to satisfy your midnight cravings.

19271026726_4d83c7aa55_zLooking for something a little more sophisticated?  Pideoften nicknamed “the Turkish pizza” is a boat-shaped oven-baked bread topped with everything from spinach and feta to chicken and tomatoes to ground beef and cheese. Expect fresh bread hot out of the oven, with the juices from the toppings just starting to sink into the dough. Ask for a side of tomatoes and sliced cucumbers with a sprinkling of lemon.

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Vegetarian? No worries. bulgar-based Çiğ köfte is savory, sometimes spicey, and always delicious, whether eaten alone or in a wrap. Each region has it’s own recipe for Çiğ köfte though, as a rule, the ingredients include and bulgur, chopped cilantro, onion, tomato paste, spices, crushed garlic and salt.  Again, everything is better with a slice of lemon!

Snacks

2037583738_eb5fcd9dfb_zIn winter warm your hands and your soul with a cup full of hot roasted chestnuts (kestane) and served in a paper cone for 2-5 lira per portion.

Don’t forget that Turkey has great regional varieties in cuisine – while in Kayseri you’ll have to try the kayseri mantisi; in Bursa, iskender kebab, and in testi kebab in Cappadocia.

Hungry for more? We know you are… Check out these pages extensively covering Istanbul’s street food scene, and share with us you favorite street foods from around the country.

World’s Best Street Food: Istanbul Edition

Beyond the Doner: Real Turkish Food

IstanbulEats.com

Culinary Back Streets: Istanbul’s Best Street Foods

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What is the “Mediterranean Diet”?

The past few years popular magazines and science journals alike have been abuzz with articles about a new fad called the “Mediterranean Diet” (If you’ve been out of the loop, see the Mayo clinic or the New York Times: “The Island Where People Forget to Die“, “Mediterranean Diet Shown to Ward Off Heart Attack and Stroke“, “When Diet Meets Delicious“, “Mediterranean Diet is Good for Your DNA“). But the Mefuterranean is a huge region encompassing a variety of culinary cultures – most of which we don’t often associate with “heart healthy”. So…

IMG_0570What is the Mediterranean Diet?

Simply put, the “Mediterranean Diet” is less a diet, per se, than a lifelong way of eating that emphasizes fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, lean protein and healthy fats. There’s nothing very complicated about the diet: eat lots of foods high in fiber and other nutrients like local vegetables and legumes; consume healthy fats like olives, almonds and olive oil; substitute fruit for other sweets; emphasize low-cholesterol sources of protein like chicken and fish over red meat; avoid additives and preservatives; and enjoy the occasional glass of red wine. For more information delving into specifics, see this post on health.com.

Why Is It Good for Me?

fresh oranges dalyan

A fresh fruit stand on the highway outside Dalyan

The Mediterranean Diet probably isn’t (as some have claimed) a cure-all.  But it does promote overall well-being by providing your body with full nutrients and decreasing your intake of disease-causing foods such as refined sugar and artery-clogging saturated fats. Combined with regular exercise, studies have shown the Mediterranean diet to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, reduce the risk of diabetes, obesity and heart disease while promoting longer living.  Other studies have shown the Mediterranean diet to lead to a reduced risk of dying from cancer or cardiovascular disease as well as the risk of developing Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. (References here, here, here and here)

Following the Mediterranean Diet in Turkey

Turkish fruit sellers

Village women selling figs and olives outside Didim

When we conjure images of Turkish cuisine, what do we see?  Probably heavy red meats like shish kebabs and doner, plenty of bread, a fair amount of full-fat dairy and tantalizing sweets like baklava and dondurma.  But how a tourist tastes a new country is not necessarily representative of the way most residents eat day-in-and-day-out or the ingredients readily available in the grocery store. Whether stocking up your own kitchen or eating out, nutrient-dense whole foods in Turkey abound. Turkey is full of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as locally sourced, GMO-free products at reasonable prices.  While you can pick up your groceries at the local Carrefoure, most Turks in both town and city do their shopping at the local bazaars.  Many Turkish people tend to eat seasonally, with an emphasis on in-season local produce.  Due to the mild coastal climate and long growing seasons, this translates into consuming a great variety of different foods. Unless you live in a small town in the Anatolian hinterlands, it’s easy to find fresh produce and staples of the Mediterranean diet year-round.  Turkey’s produce is officially GMO-free, and there are a growing number of organic and free-range farms.  Compared to the west, it’s much less expensive to stock your fridge with locally-grown, additive-free fresh food. Here’s what you’ll probably see families eating in Turkey

Turkish breakfast

Part of a typical Turkish breakfast: tea, olives, salad, local honeys and jams, fresh cheese, and eggs on their way!

Breakfast: A typical Turkish breakfast includes a complete spread: jams, cheeses, eggs, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives and bread.  Most restaurants will also have omelets and menemen, scrambled eggs with tomatoes and green peppers.

Lunch: A traditional lunch might include a bowl of hearty lentil soup coupled with salad, mezeler (cold vegetable dishes with olive oil), cucumber and tomatoe salad, and crusty bread.  For a little more protein, go for fresh grilled fish or menemen.

Dinner: Dinner is often the day’s biggest meal, shared with friends or family. Dinner will often start with a light soup, followed by salad, mezeler, a starch or grain, and a source of protein. Grains like bulgar and barley, often thought of as ‘health foods’ in the west, are here common fare (see more on grains used in Turkish cooking here).

Dessert and Tea: Every meal and almost every visit in Turkey will be accompanied by a cup of black tea.  If you are visiting someone’s house as a guest, your tea will be accompanied by small dishes of cakes, dried fruits, and nuts.  Instead of sweets after dinner, many Turkish people drink tea and nibble on nuts and dried fruit, or bring out a plate of cut fruit.

Drinks: While raki is the Turkish national drink, there are plenty of vineyards producing local vintages as well. Moderate amounts of red wine are supposed to be good for your heart and overall health.

Going for Healthier Options

Like most countries in the west, Turkey does have a high obesity rate (currently 16.5% for men 29.4% for women).  It’s obvious that being surrounded by an abundance of healthy food doesn’t automatically make one healthier.  So here are a few minor changes you can make to follow a healthy and whole diet in Turkey:

  • Skip the sugar in your tea. The average adult should consume less than 60 grams of sugar in a day.  One sugar cube has 12 grams of sugar.  If you drink as much tea as the average Turk, that’s a lot of extra sugar.  Ask for a slice of lemon instead.
  • Revel in the fresh fish! IMG_1323Fish is an integral part of almost every restaurant’s menu; for those traveling to Istanbul or the Aegean, fresh fish is a must.  Most restaurants have daily dinner specials for 12-25 lira including meze (appetizers), salad, and the catch of the day.  Our favorite fish is çupra (gilt head sea bream) for it’s tender and flavorful white flesh. Eat with a side salad and a slice of lemon to bring out the fish’s full flavors.
  • Go for low fat or fat-free dairy. Dairy forms a central staple of Turkish cuisine – spreads of soft and hard cheese at breakfast, salty ayran, handchurned yogurt, and the sweet cream kaymak.  Thankfully, most dairy products are also available in reduced fat or no-fat form.  Look for the pink cups of ayran, or dairy labels that read yarım yağlı (half fat), az yağlı (low-fat) or yağsız (fat free).
  • Pass on the Kofte and Adana Kebabs.  These are high in fatty meat and kofte are cooked in oil.  If you’re hankering after red meat, go for Simit kebab (cooked with bulgar), Şiş kebab with vegetables,  Buğu kebabı or Testi kebab. 
  • Switch out the white bread.  Most Turkish bakeries have options with higher fiber, like whole wheat (tam buğday ekmek) and cracked wheat/whole meal (kepekli ekmek).
  • Ask for servis.  This means your fish or kofte will come on a plate with salad, instead of sandwiched in half a loaf of bread.  At more causal joints you may have to pay an extra lira for servis 
  • Go for almonds and fresh and dried fruit at tea. We know those sweets piled on trays at tea look tempting; reach instead for something more sustaining, like almonds, dried apricots and dates.
  • Quench your thirst with fresh juice instead of coke. Fresh fruit stands abound in
    Juice in ankara

    A juice stand in downtown Ankara

    both metropolises and up and down the coasts (and at every town in between) Even in the dead of winter downtown Ankara has dozens of stalls making fresh pressed carrot, orange, grapefruit and pomegranate juice for as little as 1.5 lira a cup. Most malls have fresh fruit juice stands as well.  If you like the strong flavor, şalgam, a salty beet-red drink made from fermented purple carrots, turnip and bulgar, is a refreshing alternative to soft drinks.  If you over-indulge in raki, you may find a glass of şalgam being imposed upon you as a [supposed] cure for hangovers.

Little Bazaars; Fresh Produce

First, take a virtual walk through two of Turkey’s outdoor bazaars with this beatifully crafted and illustrated traveler’s post: Refueling at Fethiye Markets.  Check out these bazaars over the summer for some fresh, locally-grown and low-priced produce:

Bodrum: The food bazaar is held in a different location every day of the week; Thursday is market day in Yalikova; Friday the food market is held in the Bodrum Market (pazar); if you want a trip back in time, Monday is  market day at the little town of Guvercinlik, 20 km north of Bodrum. See here for a full schedule. IMG_0940

Didim/Altinkum: If you have a car, head out to Akkoy and scoop up produce sold by the roadside straight from the fields.  Figs, olives, and preserves are all produced locally and sold at rock-bottom prices.  The Saturday Market has produce (along with everything else from clothing to household items).  If you want to get away from the summer tourists, you can also drive to Söke for an authentic bazaar experience. 

Fethiye: Farmer’s markets take place in different locations on different days; Tuesdays and Fridays are in the town center. Turkey’s for Life has a great bunch of posts about the Friday Market, Patlangıç Market, Çalış Market, and more. Interested in learning more about the push to put local produce on hotel tables?  Read about the Taste of Fethiye project here!  Taste of Fethiye also prints a Fethiye Village Driving Route to take you and your taste buds on a self-guided local culinary tour (PDF: Turkey_driving_route_booklet_opt).

Want fresh fish? Head to the Fethiye Fresh Fish Market.  This Fethiye Times post includes market information as well as English-Turkish names for dozens of varieties of local seafood.

Kusadasi: Find the bazaar on Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday. Tuesday markets are located on the street by the cemetery; Wednesday and Friday markets are on the same street, but opposite the main dolmus (minibus) stop at the city center. Food is fresh from the sea and the farms.

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Cool Summer Sweets: Sütlaç

IMG_1307Sütlaç’s closest kin is rice pudding, but you’ll notice that the inside texture is silky, and the top is coated with a thick and creamy skin.  It’s perhaps accurate to call fırın sütlaç (or, oven-milk pudding) a cross between Crème brûlée, custard and iced arroz con leche.  While originally made with rose water, today’s sütlaç  is more commonly flavored with vanilla. Served cold in thick clay dishes, it’s the perfect dessert to cool off on a summer eve – or cool your tastebuds after a spicy dinner.

History: Fırın sütlaç originated in Ottoman kitchens. The original name “sütlü aş” identifies it as hailing from the Rumelia (now Balkan) region, which is why you can find similiar rice pudding dishes across the Balkan states.  Today sütlaç is popular across Turkey, though rice grains, ingredient ratios and topping or flavoring will vary from region to region.


This photo of FELAMURDA KAFE/RESTAURANT is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Recipe: Unlike crème brûlée, sütlaç’s main ingredient is simply milk.  Most cooks swear by using fresh and unpasturized whole milk when making the dessert. While not exactly a health food, sütlaç won’t kill your gut or fill you with regret.

If you want to make sütlaç you will need: 4 cups milk (preferably fresh), 1/2 cup rice, 2 T cornstarch or rice flour, 1 cup sugar (or pekmez), 1 tsp vanilla extract, and 1 beaten egg yolk.

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  • First, boil the rice with 2 cups water (though some recipes recommend cooking the rice with milk to give it fuller flavor).
  • After cooking the rice (about 25 min), stir in all but 1/4c of the milk, sugar and vanilla extract.  Bring it to a boil, and then reduce the heat, letting it boil gently for about ten minutes.
  • Meanwhile, dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining milk.
  • After ten minutes, add the cornstarch mixture to the rice and milk, gently stirring it in. Lower the heat and simmer for another 15 minutes.
  • After the pudding thickens stir for another 2-5 minutes before removing the mixture from the stove and pouring 1/2c-1c servings into individual bowls or foil tins. Swirl a small part of the egg yolk into each serving.
  • Let sit until the pudding has cooled to room temperature, and then sprinkle with sugar and broil in the oven until the top has browned.

Serves 8

You can find other full sütlaç recipe (there are dozens of varieties) and instructions here and here (rosewater with pistacho crumble)

Our Favorite Variations:  If you want to truly try sütlaç, make sure you are tasting the real deal.  The pudding should be ice cold, have a thick skin half golden-brown, and be served in a red clay cup.  Traditional sütlaç is flavored with rose water (not vanilla) and topped with crumbled pistachios, and can be found at Ottoman restaurants; for more modern variations, try a dessert cafe like MADO.

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Exploring Turkish Cuisine: What Exactly is a Kebab?

IMG_9018

Two types of Kebab: Adana (back) and Beyti (front)

In the US we tend to think of a “kebab” as a grilled food on a stick: sizzling sliced of red meat and onions over the charcoals, vegetable kebabs, Hawaiian kebabs with speared pineapples and fish.  In most of Western Europe it’s sliced meat in a pita. But in Turkey you will encounter plenty of things called a kebab that look nothing like what I described above.  The meat may not be skewered; there may not even be a grill; there’s often not a pita.  In fact, some Turkish kebabs, like Tesli Kebabi, come in a baked clay bowl and look more like a stew.  Others, like the simit kebab, are sliced and wrapped in lavash under a dressing of sour yogurt.

kebab

Traditional Çöp Şiş

So what exactly is a Turkish kebab?

When you think of a kebab, the image that comes to mind is probably that of  Shish kebabs (Çöp Şiş or şiş kebap in Turkish) or shashlik (mixed meat and vegetables skewered and grilled).  But those are only two variations of kebabs. Kebab itself actually refers to a type of meat preparation – usually.

“Kebab” style meat – sliced meat layered on an upright spittle, then slowly rotated until cooked through, and carved off in thin slices – was invented by a Busa native named Iskender in the late 19th century. Kebabs can also refer to chunks of meat skewered and grilled, or a meat stew. Kebabs are traditionally made from lamb, but you can also find chicken kebabs, beef kebabs, and mixed meat and vegetable kebabs.  That is to say – there’s no one all-encompassing definition of a kebab. Each region has a few famous varieties; we recommend you try them all to determine for yourself what a kebab actually and truly is.

Some of our favorites from around Turkey:

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Interview with a Real Estate Agent: Onur Arık

Onur Arık is an Ankara native and the owner and manager of Milan Estate Agents, a boutique personal real estate agency and consulting business in the popular seaside resort of Didim, Turkey. He has a background in Finance, is currently studying Law to better advise his clients, and speaks Turkish, English and some Dutch.

1. Introduce yourself in one sentence. Two things are the most important for me: the first is honesty and the second is being helpful. These are also important for business. When people understand that you are honest and you will always help them everything goes smoothly.

2. Tell us a little bit about your company. My company is a real estate company but we also provide consultancy and after sales services. This is because when you sell a property buyers also need those services. This means we are with clients throughout the whole sales procedure. We have been working for more than 5 years in this sector. We have a lot of clients from Europe, especially from Belgium. We have been working on Aegean side of Turkey, which includes Bodrum and Kuşadası as well. We have a lot of different properties in our portfolio with prices ranging from 30 000 Euro to 1 000 000 Euro.

3. How long have you been in Didim? I have been in Didim for more than 5 years..

4. Why Didim? Didim is developing area. Everyday it is growing.01b369162721d7a56cfb64ce469754ae7df412587f This means there is a high demand from investors. It also means that when you invest, you will see a profit within a reasonable time. Because of this, Didim is a great place to open up a real estate agency.

Didim is also a great place to live. It’s a small town, but popular seaside holiday resort, which means we have many of the amenities and options of a big city. It is located between Kuşadası and Bodrum and just 2 hours from Izmir, one of the Mediterranean’s largest cities. However, compared to Bodrum and Kuşadası prices are far more reasonable in Didim. For example, you can find a nice 2 bedroom apartment with a swimming pool from 50 000 Euro.

While a modern town, Didim is also surrounded by many historical sites, like the Temple of Apollo, Miletos, and Ephesus. Both the beaches and the archaeological sites attract a lot of different people to the area.

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5. Milan is a city in Italy – how did you choose this name for your company? My son was born in Belgium and named him Milan, as it’s a very popular name there. My company is named after my son.

6. What are your most popular properties? Most of our properties are in full-service complexes with a swimming pool, security and other facilities, following the hotel concept. 2 bedroom apartments are the most popular. Clients generally prefer closed residential areas where they can find a swimming pool, cafe and bar inside the complex. Two bedroom apartments are usually more than large enough for 4 people on vacation, and thus attractive for renters, and the price is also not so high. But demands change from one person to another. Some people want to be close to sea; some a bit farther away. Some people want to be in the centre; some people seek quietude. We have properties to suit expectations in our portfolio.

7. Who is moving here? Are they vacationers, seasonal residents, or year-long 1residents? Generally vacationers and seasonal residents, though Didim also has 6,000+ permanent British residents, and several thousand retirees of other nationalities . Most foreigners are from the UK, but we also see clients from Belgium, Sweden and France. The permanent residents are usually retired people over the age of fifty, but summer sees a lot of families vacationing here as well. Didim has over 300 days of sunshine a year, it’s still warm enough to swim in late September, and the winters are not cold, so it’s also a great place to live year-round.

7. b. Who are you selling properties to? What are they doing with their properties? As I lived in Belgium, I am focusing especially on that market. But we also have some clients from England, France and other countries. They are generally vacationers who come 3-5 times per year. If they do not have time to come they generally rent their houses out. We also provide full Rental Services.

Photo Courtesy of Trip Advisor

8. What are people’s initial impressions of Turkey? Of Didim?
They really like it here. Didim, Bodrum and Kuşadası have different options. As I have said Didim is still developing, so you can find much cheaper options. Bodrum is hailed as The Saint-Tropez of Turkey, but people are generally really impressed and surprised because Didim is not big as Bodrum, but it still has everything. It does not matter if they are 20 years or 50 years old, they can find something that meets their interests and expectations. If you like history or entertaining night life you have that in Didim. If you like seafood and water sports you also have a lot of options.

9. What are the most common misconceptions about Turkey? About Didim? About living in Turkey? People generally think that Turkey is not safe, as its border close to the Middle East. But actually it is not like that. Compared to other European countries, Turkey is one of the safest places in Europe. We have a lot of advantages, such as reasonable living costs, 300+ days of sunshine, a culture of hospitality, thriving tourism, etc..

10.  What are the advantages of working with a local real estate agent like you versus a larger international real estate company with properties in many countries? We are more friendly 😀 We can offer everything that a big company can offer, but we are not just looking people as clients. We want to build long-term relationships and see our clients as friends. When they need us, we will always be there for them, whether it’s to understand an electricity bill, call a repairman, be on hand to help install appliances, or find a good cleaner. They can even reach us in the middle of the night. Our after sales services includes everything that our clients need after they buy a property, and we work with our clients individually. It makes us not only a consultants, but also permanent friends they can rely on.

11.  You majored in finance in university.  How would you assess property in Turkey as an investment opportunity? Over the last 12 years a lot of European countries have had crises (like Spain, Greece, Portugal and Ireland). But our economy has been growing. As we have a young population we have a lot of advantages. We are working hard, andthis is positively effecting the economy. There is a possibility to enter the European Union. When we become a member, our prices will also rise, as has happened in Croatia and Albania. So If you invest now you will see a lot of profit in the future.

12. What are the best types of properties to invest in right now?  IMG_1067 (800x533)Nowadays 2 bedroom apartments are especially popular. They can be sold and rented easily, as there’s a big market for them. We have different 2 bedroom apartment options for all budgets. So if you want to be close to sea or far but cheaper apartments we can provide those options as well.

13. What should potential buyers be most careful about when searching for a property? First of all, all the papers have to be correct. We only work with the biggest builders in our region, so all of the papers like building permissions and title deeds are checked and verified by a lawyer. Then buyers must determine their budget. Then we can show them different verified properties in their budget range.

14. What is the most important factor that people often overlook when purchasing a property? People generally think that the budget is the most important aspect, but actually it is not. First of all, the property they buy has to have all necessary papers. This means the sale has to be safe and official. After we determine the legitimacy of the papers we can continue the sale if the property is in their budget and matches their expectations.

15. What factors should buyers consider when assessing a property? Safety, legality and budget.22

16. What kind of services (pre-sale and after-sale) should clients expect from a Real Estate Agency? I think clients should expect the same kind of complete services we provide. As long as they need us we help them. We help them through all sales procedures and even after they buy their home. Our after sales services is determined by clients expectations. If they need rental services we do it. If they need car rental, organizing daily tours, airport transfer, buying furniture, preparing the house for tenants, doing inventory, checking the property after tenants leave, etc… we can provide those services. Below is a list of our usual pre-sale and after-sale services:

Pre Sale services:

  • Arrange meeting with builder
  • Completing the sales agreement
  • Making payment plan
  • Getting a tax number
  • Opening a bank account
  • Applying for the title deeds
  • Obtaining the title deeds
  • Applying for electricity and water subscriptionIMG_1141 (800x533)

After Sale Services:

  • Assistance buying furniture
  • Organizing airport transfer or daily excursions
  • Rental Services
  • Inventory for tenants
  • Organizing cleaning services
  • Organizing car rental

17. How do you help clients find the perfect property? We provide inspections trips. Before the trip we talk with the client to determine their budget and expectations, and we arrange suitable properties for them to view. I have been working and building solid relationships with the best builders in Didim for more than 5 years. When they start a new project they always inform me, and after the project is finished I get new properties in my portfolio. Because of our mutual trust and collaboration, I’m able to have some very desirable and diverse proerties in my portfolio.

For the inspection trip,we organize everything to fit into 3-4 days. We pick up our clients from airport and take them to their hotel. We visit all the apartments in our portfolio in their price range and meeting their needs. If they decide to buy we do all paper work, and last we bring them back to airport.

18. Can you briefly outline the process of purchasing a property in Didim? 

244When our clients decide to buy a property first meet with the builder. We do the sales agreement and give a deposit for the property. If the clients have the budget to pay for the property at once, we can organize everything within one day and give them their title deeds. Otherwise we will arrange a plan for payment installations.

19. Describe the typical day of a retiree in Didim. They generally start with a good breakfast either at home with fresh food from the markets, or at one of the many reasonably-priced local cafes. Then they can go to sea to swim, sail or sunbathe. If they are interested in culture or history, there are many places to visit around Didim like The Temple of Apollo, Miletos, Iasos, Ephesus… In the evening you can find a lot of people strolling the boardwalk or sitting out in cafes, chatting over a cold beer or enjoying dinner. We have superb restaurants where they can eat fresh seafood. Sea Bass and Sea Bream are especially famous. After dinner you can see people socializing, or diving into Didim’s nightlife scene.

Sehir Lokantasi

20. What’s Didim’s best beach?  Didim’s best beach is Altınkum Beach. Didim is famous for its famous sandy beaches and there are a lot of beaches around Didim, some public and crowded, some quiet and secluded.  

Best place to dine on a budget? Didim also has a lot of restaurants, cafes and bars where you can eat delicious and fresh sea foods or Turkish local foods at a reasonable price. At Şehir Lokantası you can find authentic local Turkish food.

At Kamacı Restaurant (two branches: opposite the Temple of Apollo and in Altınkum) you can enjoy delicious fresh-caught fish.

Best place to splurge for a fancy dinner? If you want to splurge on dinner, there are some luxury restaurants around the new Marina offering different fresh specials each day.

21. What is your son’s favorite place in Didim? Definitely the municipal soccer field. He really likes to play football.

22. How would you characterize Didim? For whom is it the ideal town?01c35a47822968b8751e2fc9e221872bda968d5caa I think Didim is a good place for everyone. If you stay here for a long term or come for just vacation you will find good weather, good food, sea, reasonable life costs and enjoy Turkish hospitality. 
The town has to offer:

  • Good weather ( 300 days sunshine, it never snows)
  • Good fresh sea food and local Turkish cuisine
  • Reasonable living costs
  • Sandy beaches with a blue flag
  • Hospitality and Community Warmth
  • Proximity to local arts 01cd0971ef4c80f1ef8935ef54c3cc2f5f658d5009
  • English speaking shop assistants, hospitality industry worker and doctors
  • Diving and other water sports; a world-class marina
  • Entertaining night life
  • Historical sites open to the public ( Apollo Temple, Miletos, Iasos, Ephesus)

23. Any complaints you have about Didim? Every town has advantages and disadvantages. Some people find Didim too small; for them we have properties in the nearby cities of Bodrum and Kusadasi.

24. You used to live in Turnhout, Belgium.  What are the biggest differences between daily life01d712b60614c5105f04f88dd3f90fe031c8bdcb55 in Turnhout and daily life in Didim? The weather is very different. In Belgium we had 300 days of rain; here it’s the exact opposite. Didim is a resort area, so people come here for holiday. The pace is much more relaxed, and people are here to enjoy themselves and have a good time. Also, the food is better.

25. And…what’s your favorite food?  Where’s the best place to try this dish in Didim?  Fish of course. I especially like the sea bream, sea bass and octopus at Kamacı Restaurant in Altınkum.

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