(Reported on the program ‘FM Lifestyle’ on Radio Beijing International on 21/07/2017)
As a country situated in the continents of Europe and Asia, Turkey is a country full of history and culture. If you haven’t got the chance to hop on a plane to travel to Turkey on a holiday, going to the Istanbul Restaurant will be a good way to get a taste of the Turkish culture.
First opened on the Retan Road 15 years ago, it was the first Turkish restaurant in Beijing. Not only they offer authentic Turkish delicacies, but also decorated the restaurant with different Turkish-style elements. Our Hong Kong intern reporter Richelia talked to Bedii, a Turkish local from Istanbul Restaurant about their homey interior designs.
Apart from the large painting of a Turkish mosque, many Turkish plates are also hung on the wall. Bedii said Turkish people use them decorations at home as well. On the other side of the restaurant, there’s a carpet with tribal patterns on it.
“Carpets are very important in Turkish culture,” he said. “In the past, if a Turkish woman cannot make carpet, it means that she lacks some abilities.”
After taking us around the restaurant for a tour, the restaurant’s manager Mulat let us have a taste of their signature traditional Turkish mint tea.
Mulat said they transported the tea leafs straight from Turkey. The mint is already in the tea and it is served with sugar cubes. You put one cube of sugar into your tea and stir it with the teaspoon. It is just like how people drink it in Turkey.
Bedii said tea has a special meaning for Turkish people. “Tea is a kind of thing that connects people,” he said. “If my friend is upset, I’ll ask him or her to have tea with me and tell me the problem.”
Many of the food they served in the restaurant is very traditional Turkish cuisines, most of them are roast meats.
Mulat said they don’t put any additives in their meat. “With Turkish seasonings such as rosemary and fennel, we can already make some really nice roast meat,” he said.
“We also choose to cook our dishes with well-selected lamb and beef to guarantee we are making high-quality cuisines. For example, we are using some nice beef blades to make our döner kebabs.”
Apart of the kebabs, pide is another dish which is quite popular among Chinese customers. Unlike Italian pizza, the shape of pide is not round but fish-shaped. Bedii said in different parts of Turkey there are different ways of making pide.
We got to try some of the famous dishes in the restaurants. One of them was a rich, sweet dessert pastry called baklava which is made of pistachio. Mulat said they changed the recipe to make it less sweet in order to fit the taste of Chinese people.
We talked to some customers in the restaurants. Some of them have been coming here for years because of the nice quality of their food.
“There used to be many restaurants and bars on this street, but now they are all gone. This restaurant is the only one that I really like throughout the years,” she said.
“I’ve been to Turkey before and I think the dishes of the Istanbul Restaurant are really authentic,” she continued. In fact, one of the reasons why she travelled to Turkey in the first place is because she really liked this restaurant.
“It inspired me to take a step further into getting to know more about the Turkish culture,” she said.
Food not only makes people happy because they get to eat delicious cuisines, it is also a way for us to get to know culture around the world. This restaurant is an ambassador that brings Turkish culture to Beijing.
Let’s come to the Istanbul Restaurant and let your taste buds take you on a culinary trip to Turkey!
Read the original article here.
(Reported by Radio Beijing International Reporter Chloe Liu, Hong Kong Intern Reporter Richelia Yeung and Ashley Keung; English Article by Richelia Yeung; Chinese Article by Ashley Keung; Photography by Richelia Yeung)