Hello, hope you are well. I would, on behalf of the Yabanci Food Network's team of internationals, well-wishers and supporters thank you for making this semester an extremely special one. We as the Network went to multiple restaurants, had some great food and tried to help guide everyone about the international food options in Ankara by offering our Humble Opinions. This was a journey that led to the creation of multiple beautiful memories that will live long after this blog has run it's course,
The Network also showed the prowess of Food as an Agent to bring people together by bridging the gap between cultures while showcasing the fact that people who have never tried a certain kind of cuisine before can also instantly bond over the discovery of a new kind of food.
In Between the mouth watering Turkish food of Masabasi, The delicious Kebaps of Perspolis, The unerringly amazing Spice Curry House, The Gastronomic Genius of Yahsi and The flavorful masterclass by Quick China, two things were discovered, one was the universal love of food; and secondly that Ankara's international food scene is growing, thriving and on the cusp of becoming what can be considered a top notch standard of cuisine.
The Questions is, where does all this leave the blog itself? Well, this was to be run on an experimental basis initially but considering that many places have yet to have been reviewed and multiple new Erasmus students will be joining in the forthcoming semesters, hence there is a significant change that the Journey will continue in the forthcoming semesters. Hence watch this space for further updates, so on a hopeful note instead of saying good bye I'll leave with an auf wiedersehen instead.
Üniversiteler Mh., 4. Cad. Bilkent Center D:3/37, 06800 Çankaya/Ankara
(0312) 266 30 00
During our Journey at the Yabanci Food Network, we've experienced a wide variety of cuisines and have made some wonderful memories while offering our humble critique on the food sampled. After stumbling upon a couple of interesting articles talking about eating blindfolded and how it amplifies the senses and creates a different experience, I thought to myself why not try this with the ESN Bilkent team and see how things turn out.
The blindfold part was kept as a surprise for everyone present, some people showed a surprisingly high aptitude for handling chopsticks without any visual aid, other couldn't fare quite as well but two things were noticed by most of the dinner table. One, that the food had a more intense touch to it since the taste buds were enhanced due to the lack of any visual support to aid with the eating of the food itself, The other major difference was how much more social the dinner experience was since no one was on their phones and everyone focused on the food and discussed it with each other instead of having any external distractions. Overall the food experience was a unique one and the food served by Quick China was stellar as well. Without further ado, here is the video itself; hope all our readers enjoy it!
Yukarı Bahçelievler Mahallesi, Aşkaabat Cd. 46/K, 06490 Çankaya/Ankara
Nestled in a quiet street right off 7 cadde in Bahceliveler, this quaint little establishment run by an Azerbaijani family is the hidden crown jewel of Ankara's blooming international cuisine sector of the restaurant industry. The restaurant doesn't concern itself with decor or fancier aspects of the experience, instead it deserves an economical yet tantalizing food experience. The reviews are given below
Christian:- Plov, Looked dry, was surprisingly fresh and rice was really good, also the meat and the combination of all the things looked good, 8.5/10
Zhen:- Plov, No meat for me, not very good for me, would be better with chicken, the rice is too dry, the dish was too oily 7/10
Semi:- Russian Salad, It was really good, it reminded me of egg salad back home, so gave me a nostalgic feeling, 10/10. Dovga, It was quite good, maybe not something so ideal to buy as a drink 8/10. Hengel, It was really good 10/10
Tabea and Laura :- Plov, Dolma, Hengel. 9/10, 9.5/10, 8/10. Hengel was a bit too oily, Plov was really good, I liked but could have had more fruit with the rice, the dolma was really good especially with yoghurt it was really nice. For the price and portion were perfect, appetizers were perfect as well.
Kavaklıdere Mahallesi, Büklüm Sokağı 6/B, 06680 Çankaya/Ankara
For our second major food adventure, we decided to go to the Iranian restaurant Cafe Perspolis on Buklum Sk, a proud family run establishment with simple but classy decor which was very similar to many vintage Iranian restaurants around the world. Below are the reviews for the food we had.
Tabea :- Soup with beans,
It's okay but it's a bit tasteless with an interesting consistency with noodles, vegetables. 6/10
Laura :- Vegetable and egg dish
It's interesting, the first spoon was weird but now I like it and the bread is nice. 6.5/10
Franzi :- Eggplant dish
The appearance is interesting. If I saw it behind a window I wouldn't find it. First spoon had some new spices and it doesn't taste too oily despite looking. It's really a lot. The yoghurt and spices and eggplant mix together. 7.5/10
Zhen:- Vegetable and Egg dish
From appearance it looks bad. I definitely wouldn't buy it since it looks different from the menu. It tastes like Chinese tea. Egg white with the vegetable tastes good. 7/10
Christian :- Kebab Soltani
The rice was a little bit dry, but okay
The meat was really nice and the kebab barg was really nice. 9/10
Akbar:- Kebab Soltani
The only negative thing I'd say was their was too much rice on the plate. The meat was tender and juicy, the tomato was grilled finely, the rice with the mint leaves was also nice. 10/10 The coke complimented it really well
Semi:- Kebab Nagini
It had too much rice, the rice was too dry as well and the salad was too little which was disappointing the kebab was really good, the meat and the rice didn't compliment eachother. 8/10
Naush :- Kebab Soltani
The meat was amazing, it was melting in my mouth and the tomato was very very good. The rice could have used a bit of saffron to add flavor. 9/10
The Yabanci Food network started from humble beginnings, an infant of an idea to explore the best global cuisine Ankara has to offer while doing our best as students to provide a guide for the readers. We started out with having delicious Turkish Cuisine at Masabasi (Kizilay Branch). We then moved our Journey through Iran (Cafe Perspolis), India(Spice Curry House) and then Azerbaijan (Yahsi Cafe) . It has been an amazing journey, and while the individual posts about these restaurants will help clarify the individual quality of the food at these places, the purpose of this post is to highlight using Photos how the love of food has managed to bridge cultural gaps and bring people from numerous nationalities together to enjoy a good meal together.
Spice Curry House
These pictures go to show that people from around 10 countries, having food from 4 different countries, 2 different continents yet none of that can be seen from the pictures. What can be seen is people coming together on a human level to have food together and bond over a very holistic experience. It goes to show the basic level of love and empathy humans have for one another and how food is so powerful in the sense that it can bridge the gap between many cultures, nationalities and people.
The Food network has had an interesting journey so far, we have visited three restaurants, and have sampled a wide variety of delectable dishes so far. Selecting the top 4 from the food we've had wasn't easy but based on the reviews given and the wide appreciation the dishes received these are the top 4 dishes for the network so far.
1. Mango Lassi- Spice Curry House
Çankaya Mahallesi, Uğurmumcu caddesi 73/5. G.O.P, 06700 Ankara
(0312) 446 68 85
The Mango Lassi (a sweet yoghurt based drink made with mangoes) came on top as a surprise but comfortable winner in all of the food item's we've had so far. The drink was such a hit that some of the people who ordered it had multiple rounds of the Lassi since they couldn't get enough. This drink is one that is extremely popular in Pakistan and India, as it is known for it's sweet flavor while also being an extremely brilliant source of hydration in the sweltering heat of the subcontinent. The drink would set you back 12 TL at Spice Curry House but with an average rating of 10.25/10 (yes it actually got an 11/10 as well), Mango Lassi alone makes Spice Curry House a must visit. In order to help those who can't make the trip to G.O.P in the brutal cold of Ankara, I've added a video link below to help some of you to try and make it at home.
2. Coconut Curry Chicken :- Spice Curry House
Coconut Curry Chicken was the best main dish that we've had on our Journey so far. The chicken was mildly spicy but had a tantalizing amount of flavor, with the coconut cream, apricot chutney, almonds and the chicken itself combining together to produce a work of art. The dish is a very South Indian one with influences seen from the nearby Sri lankan and Bangladeshi cuisine hence why it might not be the first dish that pops into your mind when you think about Indian food. However the South of India as a region can be described as a hidden gem of the subcontinental culinary arts and this dish helps prove why. The dish cost 29 TL at the restaurant (the divine combination of Naan bread, Mango Lassi and Coconut Curry would set you back 45 TL) and had an average rating of 9.75/10 from our reviewers. Another video has been added to help the adventurous home cooks to try and make the perfect coconut curry!
3. Kebab Soltani- Cafe Perspolis
Kavaklıdere Mahallesi, Büklüm Sokağı 6/B, 06680 Çankaya/Ankara
0543 942 59 59
Kebab Soltani is one of the signature dishes of Iranian cuisine, Iranian food takes great pride in the quality of their meat and the combination of subtle but effective flavors such as Butter and Saffron with rice etc. Cafe Perspolis is a quaint little family run establishment in the heart of Ankara, however the restaurant itself was the only one that the reviewers on our blog didn't praise across the board and it received very average reviews. However the Kebab Soltani most definitely stood out and packed a fantastic amount of flavor with the meat being absolutely spot on as well. The dish gathered an average score of 9.33/10 and would set you back around 40 TL. Here's another video to help our readers to give it a shot making the Iranian culinary crown jewel at home.
4. Iskender Kebap:- Masabasi Kizilay
Kızılay Mahallesi, Mithatpaşa Cd. 62/A, 06420 Ankara/Çankaya/Ankara
(0312) 417 07 80
The Iskender Kebap is the last entry on our list of fantastic dishes we've had so far. The Iskender was absolutely amazing, with the doner, the bread, the sauce everything causing the dish to give Turkish cuisine a more than stellar representation with the Yabanci's. In-fact if our group's toughest reviewer the Frenchman Eric didn't give a low rating. the dish might've leapfrogged the Kebab Soltani into third place. The Iskender at Masabasi was for around 30 TL and was worth every penny hence getting an average score of 8.5/10. A video has been added for all those who believe in their culinary skills to the extent of trying to make the pride of Turkish cuisine at home.
Kızılay Mahallesi, Mithatpaşa Cd. 62/A, 06420 Ankara/Çankaya/Ankara
(0312) 417 07 80
Welcome to the Yabanci Food network's first post. We decided to visit Masabasi, a highly recommended Turkish restaurant in Kizilay to kick start this blog's culinary journey. Turkish food was deemed to be a fitting choice because all of us met in Turkey and it felt fitting to start the culinary tour of Ankara from the very roots of the country and the city itself. Also on a personal note a lot of the exchange students hadn't tried good kebap or iskender yet, a fact that I could not swallow (maybe this is a sign of me becoming a local after all with the sense of pride I take in Turkish food especially Iskender)
The following are the list of people who joined the food network for the visit to Masabasi.
Laura Geres 20(Middle row right most picture), Germany, Leuphana Universitat
Lai Zhen Yean (bottom left) 20, Malaysia, University Technology Petronas
Eric Meymandi Nejad (Middle first row blue shirt), 22, France, Neoma Business School
Akbar Hyat Khan, (1st row middle picture), 24, Pakistan, Bilkent Management (class of 2017)
Mohammad Faran (Top right), 19, Pakistan, Bilkent, CTIS Freshman
Nausherwan Aziz (Bottom right) 20, Pakistan, Bilkent, Management Sophomore
Franziska Freihart(middle row middle picture) 25, Germany, University of Tubingen
Zhen :- Tavuk Sis Ayran
Eric:- Ayran and Iskender
Laura:- Yogurtlu Kebap
Nausherwan :- Iskender
Franzi:- Patlican kebap
Faran :- Tavuk Külbasti
Akbar:- Filetolu Iskender
Nausherwan :- The Iskender was amazing, I loved the sauce, it's my favourite dish in Turkey by miles and I’ll give it a solid. 9/10
Zhen:- I don't really like it, it was worse than my home food. it's called Satay there and it would be better with some sauce since it was dry. 6.5/10
Ayran :- It would be better with Honey. 6/10
Eric:- It was good but the bread is a bit too much I prefer to have some vegetables instead since the Bread absorbs the butter and becomes a bit too much. A little more vegetables would be nice. 7.5/10
Ayran :- I don't really enjoy it like I'm 50/50 about the Ayran concept.. But I loved the way it was served, and that was not expected. 7/10 because I don't like the concept in general
Faran:- The chicken was very good but it needed Sauce, no chicken with sauce on the menu and the tomato was charred from one side. 8.87/10
Laura:- It was good but too much with the bread, like I would've preferred more vegetables. It could have used more salt and spice. Sauce and meat were good too 7.5/10
Akbar :- It was very unlike traditional Iskender Taste wise it was perfect. The meat was cooked perfectly and the butter really added the Iskendery taste. 9/10
Franzi :- The first appearance was great, when he removed the burnt skin it looked a bit like Baby food in the beginning was a bit tasteless but then the pepper made it great. Putting everything together was a great taste and the meat was very fresh. For the price 4 small pieces of meat and Eggplant it's a bit of an imbalance. 8/10
Quote of the Day
Eric “ I don't like Milk in my tea, since I don't like weakness” The French Guy commenting on British Tea
Follow Us on Instagram for behind the scenes footage and fun pictures :- @yabancifoodnetwork
P.S Remember please don't tell my mother about this blog, she thinks I'm on a diet :D