I think everyone on earth would agree that when it comes to dinner, China is #1. Nothing compares to the Chinese nighttime feast for quality, quantity, and variety.
But breakfast? That prize, my friends, goes to Turkey. And for me, breakfast is more important than dinner anyway. Breakfast is what powers the day. Breakfast is what greets you shortly after your eyes open. Breakfast is the jolt of flavor and energy that fires you out the door. And the Turkish breakfast is without compare.
The last couple of days I’ve been hanging out at the hotel breakfast buffet. It costs $13.21, which is pretty darned expensive for breakfast here. But what it gets you is unbelievable.
The first run I load up with Turkish specialties, which would be a dozen kinds of cheese and almost as many kinds of olives. Along with that there are four or five kinds of thin crackers and the tastiest dried fruit and nuts you’ve ever had. Dates, apricots, raisins, bananas, prunes, you name it, they have it. There’s no space left on the plate but so what? The other side of the buffet has three kinds of sliced meat and cheese spread and cream cheese and yogurt and chopped pistachios. Pile it high.
This you wash down with delicious tea.
The second run I load up with Turkish-Western specialties, which include eggs and cheese, spinach pastries, spicy potatoes, sauteed mushrooms and vegetables, lentil soup, sausage, bread, butter, sweet rolls, and strong black coffee.
The third run everybody starts to look at you funny but you don’t care because you are just getting warmed up. You push back from the table and get a giant bowl, load the bottom with granola, then top it with fresh berries, bananas, oranges, grapefruit, and a fistful of pomegranate seeds, then drown the whole thing in yogurt. Oh, and some dried fruit on top just in case. In case what? In case YOU GET HUNGRY.
The fourth run they have a chef cooking various types of egg specialties and omelettes. You don’t want him to think you dislike him, so you get one of each and a second, smaller bowl of granola.
You just owned the breakfast buffet. You broke it, even.
Of course the food in Turkey doesn’t stop at breakfast, it ramps up. But I’m pretty much down for the count by then. Today I went back to the room, worked until noon, then wandered down to the market where the real food, the real eating was being done.
While looking at the cornucopia I almost wound up buying a Turkish carpet. But that’s another story.
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