Travel Food – Turkish Pottery Kebab

Though I’m not as gaga for Turkish food and I am for Greek, there are a couple of dishes that I find myself hankering for now that I’m on to the next destination. My favorite was definitely gozleme, which is like a Turkish quesadilla, using pastry instead of tortilla and filled with cheese and other goodies. I’ve also become a big fan of meze, a combination of salads and dips served before the main meal. And no meal in Turkey would be complete without some hot apple tea to finish it off. I long for apple tea!

Apple tea, my favorite

The most interesting food I ate in Goreme had to be the pottery kebab though, not because it was particularly delicious, but because the dark, mysterious man who served it to me was wielding a sharp machete. Naturally, for a split second I thought he was going to cut my head off.

I like a little lunchtime drama now and then, don’t you?

Obviously unless I’m writing from beyond the grave (and seriously don’t get your hopes up. I’m a workaholic, but once I’m dead, that nonsense is over), you know that I didn’t get whacked by the Turkish waiter. (Incidentally, he was a pretty handsome fellow, but full of himself. If I’ve learned anything this year on the road it’s that there are some real cads out there! Beware.)

The machete wasn’t a tool of death; it was necessary to crack into my lunch. Pottery kebab is tomato-based meat stew, with lamb, chicken or beef, and veggies, baked inside a clay pot and cracked open at your table. I didn’t really know that when I ordered it, as evidenced by my confused reaction below.

Step 1: I’m skeptical about the man with the machete

Step 2: Wow, that is a machete and it’s a little too close to my head

Step 3: Pretty sure I’m about to lose a hand

Step 4: We did it! I have a tasty, steaming hot Turkish stew in a pot and I still have all my extremities! WIN!

While the stew itself was pretty good, it’s really the experience of cracking into your own scalding hot pottery kebab that makes this a must-do activity in Cappadocia. Bon appetit!

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  • October 17, 2011

    Pretty amazing to see. Machetes were used for other things when we lived in Belize. I’d love to hear if you could see yourself living in Australia? I’m thinking of moving there one day, and was curious where you went and what the people were like?

    • October 19, 2011

      Oh yes. Australia was an easy transition… heaps to do and see, and very familiar in a way. Nice people!

  • November 23, 2011

    I just had that in Goreme! what a fun experience it was!!! and you’re right, it’s not the stew itself but the experience!

    • November 23, 2011

      Exactly! The stew was just stew… but the machete and that fleeting moment of fear was worth the price of admission!

  • January 22, 2020

    I just stumble a lot] which is known for it’s Pottery Kebabs, very similar to a salty stew cooked in a one time use vase like pottery. The stew had to be pre-ordered when you made your reservation, which we didn’t even bother to make. I watched in envy as all the other tables were presented with piping hot pottery, skillfully cracked in one whack, and carefully poured into a shallow bowl, steaming hot.

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