You’ll never be out, about and hungry for long in Turkey. There are plenty of street vendors selling a variety of snack foods, one of which is the simit (bread ring).

Seen all over the country from busy city streets to sleepy villages and bustling tourist areas, the simitci (simit street vendor) displays his chewy bread rings in a glass-topped trolley, on a tray balanced on his head or even strung from his limbs in great hoops.

 

Simit vendor
Simitci  in Fethiye
Some vendors display the chewy bread rings in a glass tray
Some vendors display the chewy bread rings in a glass-topped trolley

Meet the Simit

The simit is a bread ring most typically encrusted with sesame seeds, or less commonly, poppy, flax or sunflower seeds. The bread is dipped into a blend of pekmez (grape molasses) and water to color it deep brown and add a hint of sweetness.

It is one of the most traditional, delicious street foods of Turkey.

It’s history dates back to the Anatolian era of the Ottoman Empire in the 1400s.

Is it the same as a bagel?

Although similar in appearance, simit aren’t cooked like bagels — there’s no boiling step. Simit is baked, not boiled, making it less chewy than a bagel. The dough is dipped twice in molasses during the cooking process, giving it a crunchy texture and golden color. It is also thinner than a bagel and has about half the calories.

There are many ways to enjoy simit

They are generally served plain, or for breakfast with tea, fruit preserves, cheese or eggs. It’s common to tear off pieces and dip them in cream cheese and you can often buy a cream cheese triangle from the simitci.

Drinking tea (çay) with simit is traditional.

It is traditional to drink çay (tea) with simit

Simit for breakfast with sucuk, cheese and egg
For breakfast with sucuk, cheese and egg

One possibility is stuffed simit, a sesame-coated bread filled with feta, mozzarella or olives

Simit filled with feta, mozzarella or olives
Filled with feta, mozzarella or olives

Or a simple sandwich

Cheese and tomato sandwich
Cheese and tomato sandwich

Or even a simit kebab

Simit Kebab

Make your own

If you fancy having a go at making simit yourself click here for a recipe from Ozlem’s Turkish Table

Once you’ve eaten a fresh simit it’ll be impossible not to make it part of your daily routine

Afiyet Olsun!

 

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