Authentic voices. Remarkable stories. AOL On Originals showcase the passions that make the world a more interesting place.
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Alia Abdul-Ghani Remembers Turkish Sites and Flavors
Alia Abdul-Ghani: Yes, I was in Istanbul for 10 days. And we did a lot of amazing things which I don’t quite remember but one thing that I quite distinctly remember is that spot on the vociferous river where it divides Europe and Asia, excellent view. And I remember that very distinctly and I remember the blue mosque and I remember shopping, little shops, little bazars and I remember I loved Islamic art which I quite appreciate because I think I learned in history about the Ottoman Empire, that is very rich in history so I remember seeing a lot of Islamic based art.
Nancy Gesimondo: I'm Italian-American and I loved the Byzantine Architecture so I know that’s what appeals to me, it’s the architecture of Turkey and just the artistry. I love handmade crafts and that appeals to me. Turkey is definitely high on my list of travel places to go. I love foreign travels especially.
Marianne Kelley: I really like Turkish food. I had it only recently actually for the first time. I had it first at that Turkish presentation and it was at the Dervish Restaurant here in midtown. And I really liked it. My impression of Turkish food would be that it’s very fresh ingredients and it seems really healthy. And I love lamb so that was also a draw.
Alia Abdul-Ghani: I had an excellent dish called Adana and I try it my French dish which was Iskenda and my favorite part was the dessert Baklava.
Marianne Kelley: I don’t know a lot of the Turkish names but I like the spinach and cheese pie. I like the salads. I like the Kebabs. I know Doner Kebabs are actually everywhere. I was in Berlin and they have a very big Turkish population there. And so that food was prevalent also there.
Nancy Gesimondo: I love the Monti which is similar to an Italian Yaki but with a yogurt sauce and I really like lamb as well so I like the grilled lamb dishes and the lamb chops and things and the eggplant. I don’t know what it’s called but it’s like a pureed eggplant and it’s very white. It’s not Baba Ganoush but it’s something very similar to that, it has a very beautiful smokey flavor. And that is just absolutely delicious.
Alia Abdul-Ghani: I'll describe it as a pretty balanced meal. It’s pretty healthy. You get a good mix of meats and carbohydrates and vegetables and it’s very flavorful. And even if it is something very simple like grilled meat, it’s still very flavorful. It’s a very distinct taste that you’ll definitely remember. So, I would tell them exactly that. I like to eat a lot and sometimes when I eat, I eat too much but in this case even when I had a lot to eat I didn’t feel as if I was overpowered by my senses. I felt that it was very healthy and was a very good balance as well. It was very flavorful that the Iskenda was meat with a special sauce like a tomato base sauce and it wasn’t very spicy which I've thought. I was told that it was this spicy but since I'm Asian, it wasn’t spicy enough for me but good, right taste. I would definitely recommend Turkish food to someone who hasn’t had it because I think it is pretty safe in the sense that I think would cater to a lot of people’s taste buds. No matter how diverse you are, I think most people would appreciate it.
Marianne Kelley: I really would love to see more people going to Turkish restaurants and trying Turkish cuisine. And if you’ve ever had Greek food and a lot of New Yorkers have had Greek food, they will find it pretty similar and I think you’ll really enjoy. Everyone thinks that Turkish food is so different from American food and really it’s not. It has a lot of the same ingredients that American food has. It’s just prepared in a different way. So, go out. Have some Turkish food.