This guest post is by Heather Nauta from Healthy Vegan Recipes. Heather is a registered holistic nutritionist who teaches you how to live a healthy vegan/vegetarian lifestyle. Visit Healthy Vegan Recipes to check out her vegan travel videos.
The usual snacks for my husband, Phil, and I are fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds. These foods are available pretty much everywhere, and we’ve been eating lots of them on the road, including some gigantic peaches. We’ve also found a few more interesting snack ideas for vegans while traveling in Turkey that we wanted to share.
In Istanbul, there is a spice bazaar that I wanted to visit because a guide book said they sold, in addition to spices, freshly dried fruits and medicinal herbs. I figured the prices would be really good, since the Turkish Lira is a good exchange for Canadian or US dollars, and this was a big market with people selling bulk spices, herbs and dried fruits.
They did have an amazing selection of spices and dried fruits, but I was disappointed to not find any medicinal herbs. I picked out a few selections of dried fruits (dates, figs and apricots), and some spices (saffron, and a couple of mixes), and went to pay. It cost way more than I was expecting, so I left some things behind. Now, the dates were amazing and huge, but cost almost a dollar (Canadian) each! Luckily I only bought four.
I picked up a neat idea from their display though – they had rows of dried figs stuffed with walnuts. I may have to try that some time, although it would be a pretty concentrated mix of sugar and fat so I would recommend taking it easy on that particular snack.
After that experience, I started keeping an eye out for more reasonably priced snack foods while traveling around Turkey. They have a good selection of nuts and seeds in small snack bags, even in the smallest towns we went to along the south coast.
They cost 1.00 – 2.00 Turkish Lira ($.70 – $1.40 USD) for an 80 gram bag of dried chickpeas, pumpkin seeds or peanuts. The chickpeas are a neat switch and lower in fat than nuts and seeds. They come either just roasted, or roasted with salt. There are yellow or white ones. I prefer the yellow, but the white have a nice crunch. They are fully dehydrated, so they are very dry and I needed to drink lots of water with them. They were also great added in to dinners with lots of fresh vegetables.
The pumpkin seeds are not hulled, so they are a bit different from the small green seeds sold in North America. They actually look like they do when they come out of the pumpkin – big and white. I really enjoyed these, but they weren’t Phil favorites. They have a light dusting of salt, but not too much.
Another day, we found Phil’s favorite crackers from home – those large rye crackers, with just rye flour, yeast and salt listed for ingredients. We figured they must add some water at some point in the cracker-making process though. We picked up a very simple olive paste (just crushed olives), which was also very affordable, about $1.40 USD, and spread it on the crackers. It was excellent on its own, as well as topped with sliced cucumber.
Our indulgence here was the chocolate sesame helva we picked up our last week in Turkey. It has quite a bit of sugar in it, but we savored it over a whole week and it was the kind of thing that satisfies your cravings because it’s so rich and sweet. The ingredients are sesame paste, sugar, cocoa, emulsifier, saponaria root extract, acidity regulator and nature-identical vanillin. Don’t you love translations?