The upcoming WRC 2 rally will be hosted by the city of Marmaris located in Muğla Province, southwest Turkey. Turkish cuisine is famous for its meaty kebabs and sweet baklavas but it has a lot more to offer to both the drivers and spectators visiting. We have selected several popular dishes that are worth trying even if you want to maintain your race weight.
If you read our previous article about what should rally drivers eat you know that good amount of protein, the right kinds of carbs and fats, and plenty of vegetables are important. That’s much easier to do at home than on the road. But it would be sad to ignore the local cuisine altogether just because you’re not sure which meals to choose. Let’s look at some good breakfast, lunch, and dinner options and also a few traditional foods you should skip.
Read more about proper eating habits in our article about what you should eat as a rally driver.
Go for every kind of kebab
You can’t visit Turkey without trying at least a few kebabs and most of the popular varieties are actually pretty nutritious and balanced meals. There’s always some lamb, beef, chicken, or turkey meat that gives you quality protein, then there are some veggies for vitamins and fibre, and bread for slow carbs. So, whether it’s lunch or dinner time, don’t hesitate to try the classic Dönner with bread, Dürüm wraped in pita, or İskender served over rice with yogurt.
Have Menemen for breakfast
Menemen is a traditional Turkish breakfast and it consists of scrambled eggs cooked in sautéed onions, green peppers, and tomatoes served hot with bread. A good portion of protein from eggs and plenty of fibre and vitamins from the veggies will keep the hunger away for a long time and that’s what a good breakfast should do.
Experience the best lamb with Kuzu Tandır
Kuzu Tandır is one of the most popular lamb dishes in Turkey and it also happens to be really healthy. Traditionally the lamb is hung and slow roasted whole. High temperatures tend to produce carcinogenic compounds in meat so thanks to the low heat used with Kuzu Tandır this lamb stays safe yet delicious. It is commonly served with rice and yogurt it’s a nutritious and filling dinner.
Try the delicious İmam Bayıldı entrée
Aubergines or eggplants are a popular vegetable in Turkey and İmam Bayıldı is the perfect way to give them a try. This entrée consists of a cooked aubergine stuffed with rice, bulgur, minced meat, and other veggies smothered in olive oil and butter. It’s really nutritious, full of healthy fats and fibre.
Snack on Baklalı Enginar
If you’re looking for a light summery meal then Baklalı Enginar should be your number one choice. Peeled artichokes dressed in oil and lemon juice and served cold with beans and fresh parsley will refresh you and satisfy your hunger by giving your body plenty of slow carbs, protein, and fibre.
Steer clear of Pide and Lahmacun
Pide is often called “Turkish Pizza,” and it looks the part. It’s basically a flatbread served with a variety of toppings, often sucuk (Turkish sausage), pastrami, minced meat, spinach, and cheese. Lahmacun is a simpler version of Pide, a flat and crispy bread covered with minced lamb or beef and herbs. Even though these are local specialities, they could easily be categorized as junk food like most pizzas. They are super tasty and really easy to overeat – no good for your race weight.
Avoid Baklava and Lokum
Baklava, stacks of fine filo pastry, drenched in honey and covered in pistachio nuts, is probably the most popular Turkish dessert rivalled only by Lokum or “Turkish Delight”, a nougaty treat served with a variety of fillings and topped with powdered sugar. If these sound too good to be a part of a healthy diet, that’s because they are. There’s just no moderation with these. If you have the willpower to try just one, then go ahead, just make sure to buy it fresh, the store bought varieties are usually loaded with sugar, light on the fillings, and dry. In all other cases, keep a safe distance!