The food in Turkey is delicious. All of it. The spices and ingredients are more-or-less familiar - garlic, onion, paprika, chili; tomato, eggplant, yogurt, beef, chicken, lamb – and the forms and methods are reminiscent of the Middle Eastern-ish cuisines we’re all familiar with from living in modern cosmopolitan cities with interesting restaurants. What makes the food in Istanbul so good is all the ingredients are so outrageously fresh. Turkey has huge agricultural capacity, and the stuff they grow doesn’t have to travel thousands of miles to the city, so their produce needn’t be bred for shipping ruggedness and long shelf life. These tomatoes, melons, and cucumbers taste like were picked this morning, from fields right over that hill. Makes you realize that our advanced American civilization with its efficiencies of massive agriculture and transportation can result in us never knowing the taste of real local, real fresh, and done this way for hundreds of years.
It also helps to dine with your best friends, on vacation on the other side of the planet, in the midst of culture and architecture of thousands of years, under the glorious Mediterranean sun. Food is experience inseparable from company and location, and Turkey was wonderful for all of it.