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Adam Balic

Greek V Turkish Food

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Steve Plotnicki:

I don't find Greek cuisine and Turkish cuisine to be at all alike. Even the list of various dips eaten at the beginning of the meal are different. I don't know about Greece but, in NYC, they don't even offer pita bread in Greek restaurants. Nor do they seem to use yogurt based sauces for their kebabs. Only as an accoutrement, but nothing like what the Turkish do with the saucing with Iskender Kebab which is much more sophisticated. On the whole, I find Turkish much more sophisticated and generally more complex then Greek.

Tony Finch:

I agree that Turkish cuisine is, in general, superior to Greek but I don't agree that Greek cuisine is better outside of Greece.

In the UK nearly all Greek restaurants are run by Greek Cypriots and some of the Greek regional food that you can seek out in the country if you look hard is just not available.

The restaurant The Real Greek in London is the one glowing exception to the rule that Greek restaurants in the UK are mired in a cheapo seventies time warp and have moved with the times less than any other type of restaurant. What once may have seemed exotic is now tediously predictable if not downright unpleasant.

There is wonderful food to be had in Greece but again they don't believe the tourists want the proper stuff so they serve them up what they think they want in restaurants and keep a lot of the best stuff for home cooking.

Greece is one country where the difference betwen what you get in most restaurants and what you get in homes where people can cook is truly gaping.

Adam Balic:

No pitta bread? So no souvlaki in NY? No yogurt based sauces? So no tzatziki to go with the souvlaki?

Being dominated by the Ottomans for so long tends to rub off. Many Greeks also lived in Turkey for many, many generations until recently. I think that it would be very difficult to find significant differences between the two cuisines, even through the two cultures are very clear about there seperate identies.

Steve PLotnicki:

Well they sell gyro sandwiches in pita bread, but if you sit down at a table it's real bread. And you are describing sauces that are accoutrements that go on top of gyros and doners, not sauces that have been modified (or made more sophisticated if you like) to be incorporated into the dish itself like they do in an Iskender Kebab. But in NYC, the Greek restaurants do not serve hummus, baba ganoush etc. But in general, Greek cuisine appears to be more rustic then Turkish cuisine.

Fatguy:

This is a generalization that I think is just plain wrong, but given that it's so far from the topic I'll refrain from discussing it here. If you want to do Greek v. Turkish food on another thread, I'll join you there. And I still think marketing would be better served by another thread. Many people who might find it interesting aren't likely to check in on the Spain & Portugal forum because they don't yet realize this is where all the action on the site is today.

Adam Balic:

Pita bread is real bread.  .

I don't think that these changes indicate a significant difference in the cuisines. Turkish food may very well be more sophisticated then Greek (many historical reasons why this may be so), but I don't think that comparisons of NYC restuarants will tell you much about this issue. I once ate at a Indian restaurant owned by a chap that was trained by Paul Bocuse, great food, but it doesn't say much about Indian cuisine. Same theory applies in general I think.


Edited by Adam Balic (log)

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Is there a Greek cuisine?

Let's start with that one. I see you chose the singular. And I think, as in many European countries, the answer is yes and no. There is a national Greek cuisine that is exported and evident at tavernas the world over and also in a more refined version at upscale restaurants like Molyvos, Milos, and Periyali (to use some North American examples). But are there not also multiple regional Greek cuisines and specialties?


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
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Is there a Greek cuisine? How would you seperate it from Turkish cuisine?

In Los Angeles, there are Greek restaurants, Middle Eastern places, Lebanese and Medditerrean choices, but I can't think of a Turkish eatery. There are Turks though.


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THe use of the singular was me being sloppy. Greece is a very diverse country in terms of geography, history, climate and ethnic groups, to name some obvious catagories.

What Greece would you like to talk about? The mainland or the Islands? Which islands and are some islands more "Greek" then others.

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Don't most mediterranian places serve sort of a conglomerate of 'popular' dishes of the region? I see Greek and Turk, but more on the popular almost tapas basis. For example, although I often see tarama salata at a few of our local Mediterranian places, I have yet to see here (or anywhere else that I can remember) iskender doner as is served at most every Turkish place.

Edit: I was speaking in North American terms, of course, and was probably not offering much in the way of authentic conversation of the cuisine.


Edited by Lyle (log)

Rice pie is nice.

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I don't have my cookbook collection here. But if I did, what I believe I would find is that the recipes of Greece pretty much evidence a rustic cuisine, even in a refined setting. Turkish recipes in my experience have more technique loaded into them, which pretty much means doing things to change the textures of meats and chicken and having a more sophisticated saucing routine. Now if you want to say that both cuisines have dishes where chunks of lamb are roasted with potatoes, well okay, that is correct. But the method one chops and forms, including the spices one uses in things like Adana Kebab are much more sophisticated kebab cookery then what you see at Greek restaurants. Even dishes like Ezme, which is a dip based on ripe tomatoes, peppers, walnuts and spices, or a properly made Imam Bayaldi which is a stuffed eggplane, do not in my knowledge have a Greek equivelent that is anywhere as sophisticated.

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I don't have my cookbook collection here. But if I did, what I believe I would find is that the recipes of Greece pretty much evidence a rustic cuisine, even in a refined setting. Turkish recipes in my experience have more technique loaded into them, which pretty much means doing things to change the textures of meats and chicken and having a more sophisticated saucing routine. Now if you want to say that both cuisines have dishes where chunks of lamb are roasted with potatoes, well okay, that is correct. But the method one chops and forms, including the spices one uses in things like Adana Kebab are much more sophisticated kebab cookery then what you see at Greek restaurants. Even dishes like Ezme, which is a dip based on ripe tomatoes, peppers, walnuts and spices, or a properly made Imam Bayaldi which is a stuffed eggplane, do not in my knowledge have a Greek equivelent  that is anywhere as sophisticated.

I've heard people use the term "kebab cooker" as a putdown.


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Used to visit a Turkish restaurant which called itself Mediterranean that featured a carrot dish named something like havuc, pronounced with an -sh on the end, carrots cooked in olive oil with garlic and finally yogurt added, that I've never seen in other pan-Mediterranean-identified places. Rich and refined. Took carrots to a whole new level. The waiter, who was the son of the owner, told us it was very Turkish. Their bread, made in house, was a pointed oval flatbread, quite puffy, for a flatbread.

Charles Perry, whom we are lucky to have in the LA Times Food section, (only not nearly enough) has written extensively on the differences and similarities of the cuisines in question, and others too.


Priscilla

Writer, cook, & c. ● #TacoFriday observant ● Twitter Instagram

 

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Excuse me?

Maybe it's just jealousy among restaurateurs, maybe not, but those who think their cooking is better have referred to those they are comparing themselves to as "kebab cookers," meaning , I guess, that the rival's stuff is simplistic.


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Okay, but to ask an even tougher question, is there such thing as Cyprian cuisine? Or is it Greek and Turkish?

Many Greeks who I have spoken to have told me that virtually every important dish we attribute to as "Greek" is actually Turkish in origin -- kebabs, gyro, taramsalata, revithosalata, baklava, even Mousakka -- is Turkish, but sometimes referred to by different names. As is the cheese we call Feta that both Greece and Turkey (and Bulgaria) makes a huge industry of today. This is due to hundreds of years of occupation by the Ottomans.

Sure, there are dishes that dont exist in all three cultures simultaneously, but for the most part it is the same cuisine. I've never seen Pastitsio, Avgolegmono or Skordalia in a Turkish restaurant but that doesnt mean they dont share a common culinary ancestry and very similar preparation methods.


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Okay, but to ask an even tougher question, is there such thing as Cyprian cuisine? Or is it Greek and Turkish?

Many Greeks who I have spoken to have told me that virtually every important dish we attribute to as "Greek" is actually Turkish in origin -- kebabs, gyro, taramsalata, revithosalata, baklava, even Mousakka -- is Turkish, but sometimes referred to by different names. As is the cheese we call Feta that both Greece and Turkey (and Bulgaria) makes a huge industry of today. This is due to hundreds of years of occupation by the Ottomans.

Sure, there are dishes that dont exist in all three cultures simultaneously, but for the most part it is the same cuisine. I've never seen Pastitsio, Avgolegmono or Skordalia in a Turkish restaurant but that doesnt mean they dont share a common culinary ancestry and very similar preparation methods.

Do Turks do mezze?


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Do Turks do mezze?

Doesn't "mezze" simply translate to 'appetizer'? I apoligize for my linguistic ignorance, but if so I guess the answer is yes.


Rice pie is nice.

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Most definitely, they have it. All kinds of dips and salads. Lots of em with eggplant. Chopped eggplant, spicy eggplant with tomato, bagaghanoush and hummus (aka melitzanosalata and revithosalata), etc..


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Do Turks do mezze?

Doesn't "mezze" simply translate to 'appetizer'? I apoligize for my linguistic ignorance, but if so I guess the answer is yes.

Yeah, like platters of stuff--hummus, dolmades, feta, olives, keftah, etc.


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Priscilla,

I'm not sure what the Turkish carrot dish is, but I wonder if it's related to the Tunisian dish Ommouk Houria (a carrot dip/salad with made with garlic and either coriander and harissa or mint and capers, or some combination), which definitely takes carrots 'to a new level' for me. The carrots are boiled, crushed and added to the dressing and, if my Tunisian friends are anything to go by, plenty of garlic and olive is added.

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My favorite local Greek restaurant's meze specialties include spanakopetes and they truley amaze me. I presume the originated in Greece, but either way, they have made great inroads (including nomenclature) in Greek restaurants.


Rice pie is nice.

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PATLICAN MUSAKKA is what the Greeks call simply Mousakka, but I think an interesting deliniation here is that the Greeks bake this with Bechemel (as they do also with Pastitsio and a few other dishes) whereas the Turks do not.


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Thanks, Jason. I don't think I've ever seen them offered in the Turkish restaurants I've visited. That did get me thinking about the obvious similarities of the cuisines and yet how different they are represented and executed stateside. With a few notable exceptions, I feel that as a general rule North American Turkish restaurants execute meat dishes much more successfully than Greek restaurants, and although I have not had this disscussion with my dining mates, their ordering practices tend to reflect this belief. Am I alone in this thought?


Rice pie is nice.

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Apparently, the Turkish also have Avgolegmono (egg/lemon sauce), a common theme in Greek cuisine as well:

http://www.turkishcook.com/recipe.asp?Recipe=76

and in a soup, although not with chicken, with lamb:

http://www.turkishcook.com/recipe.asp?Recipe=8

You've gotta wonder where and in what dishes the cross pollination effect took place.


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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