The Hatay province of Turkey has a special place in Turkey’s gastronomy map. Being a ground for several cultures throughout history, Antioch with its ancient name, has its roots back as far as 9000 BC. There had been an important war between Crusades and Saracens in year 1097 here. However today, Hatay is well known with its unique cuisine, offering a wide range of dishes synthesizing old and new methods. This cuisine has been also recognized by UNESCO Creative Cities Network, being announced as a “City of Gastronomy.”   -Sphere

Hatay cuisine in Fethiye

Here in Fethiye, we count ourselves fortunate that we can enjoy Hatay cuisine right on our doorstep at Mozaik Bahçe, a restaurant that specialises in cuisine from the region.

A special afternoon of Hatay cuisine
Mozaik Bahçe – an oasis of calm nestling under shady trees and awnings

Both the  owner, Hüseyin and chef, Murat are from Antakya and the dishes are made from many authentic ingredients from Hatay. It doesn’t get much more ‘Hatay’ than that.

Every year Mozaik Bahçe lay on a taster event at the beginning of the summer where dishes from the menu are served in an open buffet and guests have the opportunity to taste anything and everything – well, the food is so delicious it’s very difficult to know what to order when you’re choosing from the menu.

A special taster menu

This year Hüseyin, his wfe Deren and the Mozaik Bahçe team laid on a very special taster buffet including a number of Hatay dishes that aren’t normally on the menu.

A special afternoon of Hatay cuisine
Hüseyin and Deren with a very special buffet

As Hüseyin told us, “There are so many dishes to choose from it’s impossible to have them all on the menu without it being two inches thick. It’s nice for the guests to try something different”

And what a delicious spread it was

A mouth-watering array of dishes…

A special afternoon of Hatay cuisine

Some old favourites…

…and some new

Here are the dishes with descriptions from Hüseyin

Lamb Cooked in A Salt Crust; “Encasing the joint in a salt crust helps seal in the juices, for extra-tender meat. We made it with our special recipe. Only this one will be in our menu very soon. We will announce in our facebook page.”

A special afternoon of Hatay cuisine
Lamb Cooked in A Salt Crust

Kaytaz Böreği; “a pastry made with meat and fennel. It is consumed hot or cold and its softness comes from butter and olive oil.”

A special afternoon of Hatay cuisine
Kaytaz Böreği

Stuffed Bulgur Balls; “A religious celebration and special occasion dish. In Hatay, women  gather in their homes to make this dish. We served stuffed bulgur balls by boiling with a garlic olive oil sauce for the taster buffet.”

A special afternoon of Hatay cuisine
Stuffed bulgur balls

Maklube; “An Arabic dish which been with us for a long time. It’s a “share together” meal which means it is actually a big meal to share in a big gathering. The dish comes in the middle of a table and everybody gets a spoon with their share. It is a very friendly dish when you think of maybe ten people making a round and having Maklube from the middle of the table. One of the spices is cardamon and it is used a lot in our kitchen and Hatay.”

A special afternoon of Hatay cuisine

Kabak Borani; “Our/Antakya’s weddings dish for a long long time. It was cooked with a couple of other dishes and served at weddings to add more joy on peoples soul back in the  days – and I believe its still does. It is very filling soup/stew mixture and the pumpkin that we used is only grown in Hatay which makes it such a unique dish. Also the yogurt sauce is made from yogurt that we call “Tuzlu Yogurt” which has come from Hatay as well and that’s the only place you could find such the thing. So when all meet with a cook from Hatay and add some love, miracles happen”

Stuffed dried aubergine“Also called “Halep Dolma”. One of the most popular dishes in Hatay is stuffed vegetables. Dried aubergine and peppers are an old style stuffed dish which is still popular in my hometown. Back in the days when there was not much vegetables growing in winter, people start to dry vegetables and fruits so they could still have some of them in winter. The secret in our cooking style was always the way we use spices  It shows itself here in this dish as well as others. Also bell pepper paste is used in it which gives a nice texture”

A special afternoon of Hatay cuisine
Stuffed dried aubergine

Followed by a selection of traditional Hatay desserts including the jewel in the Hatay dessert crown, Künefe.

A special afternoon of Hatay cuisineAntakya’s Kömbe; “special cookies filled cinnamon, mahlep, ginger etc. Kömbe is served by turkish tea on holidays and special days.”

Künefe – the jewel in the crown of Hatay desserts

A special afternoon of Hatay cuisine

Mozaik Bahçe’ye hoş geldiniz

If you’ve never enjoyed Hatay cuisine, go along and enjoy a culinary delight.

The Mozaik Bahçe team – waiting to welcome you

A special afternoon of Hatay cuisine
Hüseyin, Deren and the Mozaik Bahçe team are waiting to welcome you

For more information about Mozaik Bahçe visit them on Facebook.