Meze.. Traditional Turkish starters to accompany spirits (and rakı mainly)
Turkey is a country where the great majority of the population belongs to Islam religion which normally prohibits consumption of alcohol. However, you can find a unique and rich tradition related to alcoholic drinks such as “RAKI” – known for traditional Turkish drink.
Many Turks have adopted the tradition of having alcoholic drinks on special occasions such as engagement, wedding celebrations in particular. This could be in a tavern (meyhane in Turkish), restaurant or even at homes in the company of families and friends.
Meze is the general name given to the food / starters similar to Spanish tapas, served to the table in small quantities to accompany drinks. They are mostly consumed with RAKI which is known as national drink of Turks with the anise-flavour – mostly referred to as “lion’s milk”, until the main course is served.
A plate of assorted Turkish meze usually consists of following;
Beyaz peynir (literally “white cheese”), kavun (sliced ripe melon), acılı ezme (hot pepper paste often with walnuts), haydari (thick strained yogurt like the Levantine labne), patlıcan salatası (cold aubergine salad), beyin salatası (brain salad), kalamar (calamari or squid), enginar (artichokes), cacık (yogurt with cucumber and garlic), pilaki (foods cooked in a special sauce), dolma or sarma (rice-stuffed vine leaves or other stuffed vegetables, such as bell peppers), and köfte (meatballs).
For more pictures see gallery
Pictures are taken from MILOS BALIK RESTAURANT website