A Taste of Turkey in Jeddah

This article appeared first in www.jeddahfood.com

Turkey In Jeddah-2Before I went to the Turkish Festival this evening, I thought of watching some videos about Turkish cuisine. There was this funny video of an ice cream vendor performing tricks before he gives the ice cream to his customer. It was quite entertaining. There was also another video of a lady kneading a dough to make some bread with stuffing. The rest of the videos were the street foods and other interesting dishes and sweets. That’s Turkey.

Lokum/ Lochum. Traditional Turkish sweets

Evening came and when I entered Rosewood hotel’s Habsburg room, I saw a man in a sultan costume, seated on a wooden chair, more like a throne. It was a very exciting sight. Everyone was already taking shots with the ‘sultan’ even before the event had started.

Habsburg room
He stayed there most of the time so people could take pictures of him. Sometimes, he’d go from table to table to greet the people (and people would take more pictures). =)

Left and right you’ll see a repertoire of popular Turkish dishes all lined up to touch the guests’ taste buds. There’s Iskender kebab which is a Turkish version of shawarma on a plate, grilled meat, lokum or Turkish sweets, salads, soups, and more Turkish delights.

Turkish cheese
Bread table
steamed beef tongue
Grilled chicken leg


Slices of lokum or sweets.
Iskander/ Iskender
Lahmachun/ Lahmacun.

The Turkish Consul General became part of this festival by cutting the ribbon to formally open the festival. Along with him were VIPs, honored guests, and other media personalities from newspapers, magazines and websites.

The festival’s highlight was seen in the traditional ice cream and bread making section. These Turkish, who entertained the people by doing ice cream tricks; the mother and daughter who meticulously prepared the bread, were actually brought to Jeddah from Turkey. The man is actually from Turkey’s ice cream capital, Kahramanmaraş. So, going to this festival is genuinely experiencing Turkey’s age-old customs.

Mother (right) and daughter (left) showing the guests how to prepare and cook a traditional Turkish bread (w/ cheese).
ice cream container
This bell is part of the amusing performance. The man who serves the ice cream rings the bell with his rod as he performs his tricks.


To a Jeddawian, most of the dishes may look familiar because most of them are also served in Jeddah, but there’s this unique touch of Turkey that will make any Turkish miss home, and  will make every foreigner, to want to go to Turkey in the future. Chef Tahir Guneysu, Executive Sous Chef of Rosewood, revealed that he suddenly remembered and missed his home country when he saw how everything felt like Turkey.

Executive Sous Chef, Tahir Guneysu, is spearheading the Rosewood Turkish festival.

I agree with Chef Tahir. In the middle of the event, as I was pondering on what makes the festival unique is that it wonderfully brought Turkey in Jeddah. All the videos I’ve watched this afternoon about Turkey’s cuisine and dishes became real, there they were, right before my eyes. An authentic Turkish experience in Jeddah.

More photos:

To know more about the culinary events and restaurants in Jeddah, visit www.jeddahfood.com and www.arabiaeats.com

Visit Rosewood Hotel, Jeddah for more info about the Turkish Festival 2016

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