Thursday, February 9, 2012

A La Turka --- Turkish Delights

What comes to your mind when you hear about Istanbul dishes or Turkish cuisine in general we are indeed lucky because there is this (relatively) new food place in SM Clark that caters to offerings from 'that' side of the world.  I am referring to A LA TURKA, located at the back of the mall near the 'fountain'.  To be more specific, it is right next to Extreme Expresso and Starbucks.  Got your bearing?  
The thing is, how many of us have an understanding of what to expect with these kind of offerings? I myself only know very little from the stories of my mom (she worked in the middle east before --- Kuwait and Cyprus, where similar cuisine are more available and prevalent).  So i searched my ever loyal internet for quick backgrounders that I can share with you and i got a good one from  Here is the excerpt:

Turkish cuisine is seen as one of the three richest and oldest cooking traditions of the world together with French and Chinese cooking.
While it has come to be associated with kebap, baklava, lokum and rakı there is a rich and variegated tradition of soups, olive oil dishes, rice pilafs, stuffed vegetables, pastries, puddings and syrupy desserts underlying these popular dishes. It offers unique tastes in spicy and tart appetizers, pickles, fruit preserves, compote, sherbet, boza (a thick beverage made of barley) and coffee.

The diversity of Turkish cuisine reflects the cultures of the populations living in regions highly dissimilar in geography and climate. This has led to an abundance of ingredients and cooking styles. The Southeast and the East are known for the dishes based on cracked wheat and meat with hot spices, the Aegean, for olive oil dishes enhanced with local herbs, the Black Sea region, for varieties of anchovy and collard, and Istanbul is a world unto itself with, among others, eggplant dishes which come in no less then 41 sorts.

The latest trend in İstanbul restaurants is the fast food version of the traditional simit (kind of bagel) and börek (pastry).

Stuffed vegetables and wraps
They constitute a unique aspect of Turkish cuisine. The classical wrap is meat or rice wrapped in vine, cabbage or collard leaves although lettuce, nut, chestnut, cherry and even violet leaves are sometimes used. There are about 15 varieties of vegetables stuffed with meat today.

Meat dishes
There is a rich variety including gyros type dishes, grills, fried meats, kebaps, stews, meat cooked in a crock or pan. There are also boiled meats, meat balls, vegetables stuffed with meat and meat dishes cooked with fruits.

Olive oil dishes
They are an integral part of lunch and dinner especially in the summer. They can be served warm or cold. Olive (or vegetable) oil can be used to fry eggplants, peppers and zucchini or cook them in an onion and tomato sauce and letting them simmer.

Ramadan tables
The food is less heavy than it once was but still consists of a long menu including soup, a meat dish, choice of pastry, pilaf or pasta, olive oil dish, salad and dessert. The tradition of inviting friends and relatives to elaborate dinners to break the fast continues. Food is accompanied by the pides which can be bought hot at the neighborhood bakery on Ramadan afternoons.

Istanbul cuisine
It is the cuisine of an imperial city featuring a wide variety of ingredients and cooking styles. It includes dishes and ideas from the cuisine of Jews, Greeks and Armenians who were an integral part of Ottoman society.

Going back to my feature of A LA TURKA, they have a rather simple selection in their menu.  I did not have the chance yet to photograph their menu but it is pretty simple to understand.  Here are some of the photos from my visit:

Tables remind you of a cafe, but the middle ones are eclectic
One of their wall art provides a 'History' of Doner (Shawarma to us)
The 'BEST' Doner/Shawarma I tasted so far... The price is worth it
3 Options for the condiments (L-R --- rising 'hotness' haha)
Humuus... for only PhP100, it is to die for
Yes, I had to have a second picture of it.. that's olive oil so it's a healthy food
Spicy Pomodoro... i think, hehe
I so love their humuus that I will surely return for that reason alone.  Note to future self too, I need have it in take out too for my mom to taste.  One bad thing though is that none of their traditional turkish/istanbul desserts are available.  Especially the Baklava that has received good reviews from other bloggers who have visited this place :(  And what's worst, the servers can't tell when it will be available.  It was even 'crossed' out in its menu... so double frown face for that.

Anyway,  as a bonus for those who want to try and make their Humuus, I was surprised to find out that it is quite easy to make and not much fancy ingredients.  Here, try it and tell me more:


  1. The best thing is the shawarma. Mmmmm. Yum..

  2. wow i haven't tried any turkish restaurant pa.. thanks for your post! shawarma palang natikman ko sa sidewalk vendor lang pero yummy!!.. hehe ;)

  3. Donaire and Baklava are the two favorites among the turkish dishes! naglaway tuloy ako :(

  4. Persian food is also same ba with Turkish? It looks like it e. Mukhang masarap nga this place.

  5. Turkish food? Not familiar at all. The food looks strange uh. Sana merun din gan'to sa amin.

  6. Yum!!! I really love shawarma! It's one of my favorite dishes so far.

  7. nacurious ako sa lasa ng humuus, it looks so plain and simple pero you said it's yummy. =)

  8. I love the shawarma always. Just looking to your photos makes me

  9. I haven't tried Turkish foods yet, shawarma pa lang ata. But I'd love to try Hummus.. :)