Our first course was welcomed as we were more than a little hungry and very eager to begin our Konya food feast. And we were not disappointed!
Our starters consisted of a warm yogurt soup cooked with a variety of herbs (mint, parlsey, basil and others) often called yoğurtlu çorba and sometimes known as yayla çorbası. Our soup was accompanied by a fresh, lemony tomato and cucumber salad, or çoban salati.
For our main course, we enjoyed Konya's three most famous meat dishes: dolma, etli ekmek, and kavurma. The grape leaf dolma was delicate and savory, stuffed with a herby meat and rice mixture, and cooked in olive oil. Despite having just enjoyed my yogurt soup minutes prior, our dolma was served traditionally, with bowls of cool, fresh yogurt to dollop on top. Our etli ekmek was heavenly! Truth be told, I would return to Konya for their etli ekmek alone. Etli ekmek directly translates to 'meaty bread' and Konya is known throughout Turkey for this fabulous delicacy. It resembles a thin-crust pizza without the tomato sauce or cheese and with only one topping: perfectly seasoned and cooked steak. I could have eaten two more plates it was so delicious. The final main dish we sampled was kavurma, which means roasting in Turkish. Kavurma is roasted lamb simply served atop a slice of fresh leavened bread alongside a wedge of fresh white onion. Turks say the onion breaks up the fattiness of the meat and enhances the flavor of the meat. Given that our Konya visit was during Ramadan, it is worthwhile to note that kavurma is one of Turks' favorite Ramadan dishes.
Dessert time is my favorite time, and any time is a good time for dessert in my book. Our Konya desserts were two-fold: höşmerim and saç arası. Höşmerim is a very simple dish made from equal parts semolina, water and milk plus one and half parts sugar and half part butter. Calorically, this dessert won't do you any favors but it is so very delicious. Accordingly to Turkish legend, höşmerim got its name from a timid wife asking her recently returned military husband if he liked the dessert she cooked for him with the few, basic ingredients she had on hand. The name comes from her question: 'Höş mu erim? ' or 'Is it good my soldier?'
Saç arası has a lot going on. It is a flaky, wet, and stuffed pastry. Not a novice dessert by any stretch, it's name means between the hairs. If baklava and a croissant had a stuffed baby, it would be saç arası. It reminded me of baklava in its overly-sweet, syrupy nature and a croissant in its layered flakiness. The filling within saç arası was kaymak (Turkish clotted cream), barely sweet to juxtapose the overly sweet syrup saç arası so delicately swam in. Because I have a sweet tooth, I could eat both of these desserts everyday for regular meals, though I wouldn't recommend either if you not be a sweet-person...
Here are Rumi's 7 advices that are sure to inspire you to live with intention and sincerity:
In compassion and grace: be like the sun.
In concealing others’ faults: be like the night.
In anger and fury: be like the dead.
In modesty and humility: be like the soil.
In tolerance: be like the ocean.
A mosque's mihrab critical to Muslim prayer and features a semicircular niche in the wall of a mosque that indicates the qibla; that is, the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca and hence the direction that Muslims should face when praying. Alaaddin Mosque's mihrab was decorated in ornate turquoise tile coupled with artistic Islamic calligraphy. See the final three photos of the gallery above for a look into Konya's Alaaddin Cami'i.