Set in the suburbs of Singapore, away from the hustle and bustle of city life, is a Turkish café called Arkadas Café. It is situated at 1 Fushinopolis View #01-02 Sandcrawler.
The restaurant is unusually oblong in shape with black and olive green walls and white and black dinning chairs that would seat about 100.It is glass cased all over and against the backdrop of this restaurant is lovely water running down from waterfalls outside the restaurant and lush greenery grown in the outside which also add color and a great ambience of serenity. This restaurant is owned by Mr Mustafa who was the chief chef at the Turkish Embassy in Singapore for several years before he set out on his own. Mr Mustafa, has a very humble demeanor and is friendly and warm in nature. It was indeed a pleasant experience of Turkish hospitality and of wonderful delights of exotic authentic cuisine from Turkey. There are a total of just about 10 Turkish Restaurants in Singapore and only about 700 Turks residing in Singapore so dinning here was an unique and exquisite experience. In Turkey 93% are Muslims and the rest are Christians.
The food was different having a culinary identity of its own.
Turkish cuisine is largely the heritage of Ottoman cuisine, which can be described as a fusion and refinement of Central Asian, Caucasian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Balkan cuisines. Turkish cuisine has in turn influenced those and other neighboring cuisines, including those of Western Europe. The Ottomans fused various culinary traditions of their realm with influences from Middle Eastern cuisines, along with traditional Turkic elements from Central Asia (such as yogurt and mantı), creating a vast array of specialties—many with strong regional associations.
Turkish cuisine varies across the country. The cooking of Istanbul, Bursa, Izmir, and rest of the Aegean region inherits many elements of Ottoman court cuisine, with a lighter use of spices, a preference for rice over bulgur, koftes and a wider availability of vegetables stew (türlü), eggplant, stuffed dolmas and fish. The cuisine of the Black Sea Region liberally use fish , especially the Black Sea anchovy (hamsi) and includes maize dishes. The cuisine of the southeast –Urfa, Gaziantep and Adana– is famous for its variety of kebabs, mezes and dough-based desserts such as baklava, kadayıf and künefe.
Especially in the western parts of Turkey, where olive trees grow abundantly, olive oil is the major type of oil used for cooking. The cuisines of the Aegean, Marmara and Mediterranean regions are rich in vegetables, herbs, and fish. Central Anatolia has many famous specialties, such as keşkek (kashkak), mantı (especially from Kayseri) and gözleme.
A specialty's name sometimes includes that of a city or region, either in or outside of Turkey, and may refer to the specific technique or ingredients used in that area. For example, the difference between Urfa kebap and Adana kebap is the thickness of the skewer and the amount of hot pepper that kebab contains. Urfa kebab is less spicy and thicker than Adana kebap
As Hors d'oeuvres there was a refreshing platter of houmous and eggplant dip with feta cheese and Turkish Yarpak Sama. Also Cacik.a cucumber salad.
HUMMOUSor houmous is a Levantine and Egyptian food dip or spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. Today, it is popular throughout the Middle East (including Turkey), North Africa (including Morocco), and in Middle Eastern cuisine around the globe. Turkish cacık is made of yoghurt, salt, olive oil, crushed garlic, chopped cucumber, mint. Among these ingredients, vinegar (mostly white grape or apple), lemon juice, and sumac are optional. Dill and thyme (fresh or dried) and sumac and paprika may be used alternately.
CACIK served as side dish
Mostly, cacik is served to accompany main dishes. As a side dish, it is diluted with water, which results in a soup-like consistency. If consumed as a meze, it is prepared undiluted but follows the same recipe. Often, dill and thyme are added as well. Ground paprika may also be added if it is prepared as a meze and to be served with some grilled meat, other mezzes or rakı
YARPAK SAMA is a dish of grape, cabbage, monk's rhubarb or chard leaves rolled around a filling usually based on minced meat, or a sweet dish of filo dough wrapped around a filling often of various kinds of chopped nuts. It is found in the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire from the Middle East to the Balkans and Central Europe. It is also known as Bedrudin among the Bosnians who migrated to USA.
Sarma means 'a wrapped thing' in the Turkish language, from the verb sarmak 'to wrap' or 'to roll'. Yaprak sarma (grape leaves with meat) is sometimes called yaprak dolması 'filled leaf' or simply dolma 'stuffed thing'; although dolma strictly speaking applies to stuffed vegetables, it is often conflated with sarma.
Besides the savory dish of leaf-wrapped filling, sarma in Turkish can also refer to sweet pastries similar to baklava, saray sarma and fıstık sarma, which are prepared by wrapping phyllo dough around a mixture of crushed nuts and syrup
For main course you can have an assortment of Kebabs cooked to perfection served on skewers with colourful garnishing of fresh lettuce red capsicum and black olives which is very refreshing on the palate Döner kebab ; Turkish: döner or döner kebap, is a Turkish dish made of meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie, normally lamb but sometimes beef, or chicken.
The sliced meat of a doner kebab may be served wrapped in a flatbread such as lavash or pita or as a sandwich instead of being served on a plate. It is a common fast-food item not only in Turkey but also in the Middle East, Europe, Canada and Australia. Seasoned meat in the shape of an inverted cone is turned slowly against a vertical rotisserie, then sliced vertically into thin, crisp shavings. On the sandwich version, the meat is generally served with tomato, onion with ,pickled cucumber and chili.
PIDE TURKISH PIZZA
Here is a traditional Turkish dish to fill you up and sensational to the palate. It’s an absolutely classic staple in Turkey. This warming doughy concoction is about the closest you can get to a home grown Turkish equivalent of pizza.
You can find specialist pide restaurants in any town in Turkey. Just watching them make the pides is a real pleasure in itself and whets your appetite for what is to follow. The pide chef moves around his marble worktops, taking perfectly round little patties of dough, kneading them a wrestler, before dressing them with scrummy toppings and whisking them into wood fired ovens on the longest wooden spatula you’ve ever seen. It’s a hot and crackling spectacle.
MUSAKKA is an eggplant– (aubergine) or potato-based dish, often including ground meat, in the cuisines of the countries of the former Ottoman Empire, with many local and regional variations.
In Turkey, it is sautéed and served in the style of a casserole, and consumed warm or at room temperature. In Arabic countries, a variant is eaten cold. In the Balkans, the dish is layered and typically served hot. Turkish musakka is not layered. Instead, it is prepared with sautéed eggplant, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, and minced meat. It is eaten with cacık and pilaf. There are also variants with zucchini, carrots and potatoes
Turkish tea, called çay (pronounced Chai), is black tea which is consumed without milk, is produced on the eastern Black Sea coast, which has a mild climate with high precipitation and fertile soil. Turkish tea is typically prepared using two stacked kettles called "çaydanlık" specially designed for tea preparation. Water is brought to a boil in the larger lower kettle and then some of the water is used to fill the smaller kettle on top and steep (brew) several spoons of loose tea leaves, producing a very strong tea. When served, the remaining water is used to dilute the tea on an individual basis, giving each consumer the choice between strong (Turkish: koyu; literally "dark", tavşan kanı (literally: rabbit's blood) — a deep brownish red or weak (Turkish: açık; literally "light"). Tea is drunk from small glasses to enjoy it hot in addition to showing its colour, with cubes of beet sugar.
. Tea is most often consumed in households, shops and mostly kıraathane, which is social congregation of Turkish men. Despite its popularity, tea only became the widely consumed beverage of choice in Turkey starting in the 20th Turkish tea is traditionally offered in small tulip-shaped glasses which are usually held by the rim, in order to save the drinker's fingertips from being burned, as the tea is served boiling hot.
DESERT OF BAKLAVA
Baklava is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with syrup or honey. It is characteristic of the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire Although the history of baklava is not well documented, there is evidence that its current form was developed in the imperial kitchens of the Topkapı Palace in Istanbul.The Sultan presented trays of baklava to the Janissaries every 15th of the month of Ramadan in a ceremonial procession called the Baklava Alayı
At Arkadas Café you can most certainly have your splendid fill of original Turkish cuisine .It is highly recommended and you are sure to come back for more .You can have a full meal for about $50