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  • Writer's pictureAround the World in Vegan Eats

WE TRIED AUTHENTIC GÖZLEME, MADE VEGAN, IN GÖREME, TÜRKIYE!


Please note that due to the current economic situation in Türkiye, prices are very variable and may change rapidly. The prices quotes are those we paid in October 2023 - please check current menus for the most up to date prices.


If there's one place in Türkiye that absolutely blew my mind, it was Cappadocia. This otherworldly landscape is punctuated by incredible rock formations known as fairy chimneys, houses, buildings and hotels mostly comprise of caves hollowed out of the rock - and if this couldn't get better, every morning you can witness the spectacle of hundreds of hot air balloons levitating overhead. And that is just in the tourist town of Göreme! There is so much to discover in Cappadocia (if you want to know the best way to see the wider Cappadocia region, check out our blog on the red, green, and blue Cappadocia tours).


Though this town's main industry is tourism - with hotels, tourist offices, booking agents, souvenir shops, and restaurants everywhere you look - there is not much when it comes to vegan food. Vegetarians should have little trouble finding something to eat, but the range for vegans is much smaller. However, our dreams came true when we found out that there was a restaurant serving vegan gözleme on request... we couldn't miss out on our opportunity to try gözleme in Göreme!!


But wait, what exactly is gözleme?

You may have noticed that many of the dishes that we have tried in Türkiye so far originated as breakfast dishes: menemen, börek, we're looking at you! Well gözleme is no exception to this: the Turkish people love their breakfasts!


While gözleme was first introduced as a breakfast dish (its name meaning 'grilled over embers') it's now known as an all day food of convenience, and can be found everywhere from street carts to fancy restaurants.


The dish itself comprises of a flatbread stuffed with various ingredients, depending on the region - and of course, personal preference! It is then typically brushed with butter before being grilled and sliced for serving. However, it is not uncommon to use oil (often sesame oil) instead of butter, so make sure that wherever you purchase your gözleme, you request it butter-free for a plant-based version!


The other thing that vegetarians and vegans need to look out for when tucking into a gözleme is what it is stuffed with. Traditionally the fillings vary widely from meats to vegetables, cheeses to potatoes. There is genuinely no end to the variety of gözleme fillings you can find - sometimes you might even find a sweet gözleme! The good news is though, that with a dough made simply from flour, salt, and water, and countless filling combinations, you should be able to find a gözleme to suit your dietary requirements!


Where did we try vegan gözleme in Göreme, Cappadocia?


We headed to the incredible Nazar Börek & Cafe, a friendly restaurant just a 5 minute stroll from the centre of Göreme. I cannot emphasise enough quite how spectacular this restaurant was! With a cave setting, and cute and cosy tables situated around a terrace and garden area, this place was already special enough. But we visited at sunset and had the most incredible view of the sun setting over Göreme's mind blowing rock formations. It was an incredible experience, and we'd really recommend Nazar Börek & Cafe for a romantic evening, or a place to sip a nice drink and enjoy some tasty, homemade, local cuisine with a view you will never forget. The staff here were really friendly too, special mention to the waiters who made us feel really welcome!


So come on - tell us all about the gözleme! How did it taste?

Nazar Börek & Cafe offer nine different types of gözleme - and two out of these nine filling options are vegan. Though don't forget to specify that you want your gözleme prepared without butter if you are plant-based! The staff here were very accommodating of this, and even gave us some extra plant-based recommendations too. If you are vegetarian, however, there is even more that you can choose from, with six of the nine options suitable for a vegetarian diet.


The two plant-based gözlemes that we chose were the Patatesli Gözleme, which came stuffed with potatoes, onions, mint, and spices, and the Vegetarian Gözleme, which included peppers, onions, spinach and tomato. We were so excited for these to arrive, and were really impressed with the size of the portions: the gözleme was cut into rectangles and piled high, with a tasty salad garnish in the middle of the plate.


And wow: they tasted so good! I loved the sumptuous flavours of the potato gözleme: it was really well flavoured, and the carb on carb nature of this gözleme made me very happy after a day of traversing the incredible Cappadocian terrain. Mike loved the freshness of the vegetable gözleme: the vegetables inside made this bready dish taste healthy, whilst still feeling like an indulgent meal. The bread itself was doughy and firm enough to hold the ingredients without falling apart; the way it was grilled was delicious too, adding a touch of chargrill flavour without any hint of tasting burnt. Though, due to the composition of the ingredients, the vegetarian gözleme was a little wetter than the potato one, the bread really impressed us by not turning soggy at all: we enjoyed both of these gözlemes to the very last bite!


How much did the plant-based gözleme cost - and was it worth it?

The gözlemes sound like a light meal, but we were really impressed with how filling they actually were! For how tasty and beautifully prepared they were, along with all of the flavours and fresh fillings inside, we were really impressed by the prices. Especially to enjoy our meal with that spectacular view! The potato gözleme cost 100₺ (approx. £2.66, €3.07 or $3.36), while the vegetarian one was only a little bit more expensive, at 110₺ (approx. £2.93, €3.38 or $3.70). It's worth saying that because Göreme is such a tourist heavy town, most of the restaurants are significantly more expensive than this - Nazar Börek & Cafe really is unique, a hidden gem that we absolutely recommend visiting while you're in Cappadocia.


Have you tried vegan gözleme in Türkiye? Or elsewhere in the world! Where did you go and what did you think of it? Let us know in the comments below.



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Where should I stay?

Out of all of the places I've been, Cappadocia definitely takes the crown for some of the coolest and most unique places to stay! Most people stay in the town of Göreme, and although the prices are slightly higher, I would really recommend this! Most of the accommodation boasts cave rooms, as well as more modern extensions, its definitely worth paying slightly more if you want the incredible experience of a cave room! For a luxurious experience, try Cappadocia Cave Lodge, which has incredible views from its roof terrace for you to enjoy your breakfast surrounded by balloons! Or for a more social time, Kamelya Cave Hostel has both mixed sex and female only dorms - and includes breakfast too!


Tours & Experiences

You can see and book the Green Tour that we went on by clicking here!


While you're in Cappadocia, many people also want to head out in a hot air balloon to see this incredible landscape from the sky. There's so many hot air balloons out there, and depending on the time of year you visit you might be able to get a good deal the day before by booking in Göreme. However, if you go in peak season, the prices will rise due to demand, and it might be better to book in advance online to make sure that your place is secured! Check the links on the left for some of the most popular tours and hot air balloons in Cappadocia right now!


Please note that the tours displayed on the left are automatically selected for their popularity by Viator, not chosen or recommended by us. Please check whether any food or drink based tours are suitable for your dietary requirements, and any animal-based experiences are ethical, before booking!


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