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  • Writer's pictureAround the World in Vegan Eats

OUR FIRST TASTE OF MENEMEN, MADE VEGAN, IN ANKARA, TÜRKIYE!

Updated: Dec 29, 2023


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.


One thing that really excited us about Türkiye was all of the iconic breakfast dishes that are celebrated parts of Turkish cuisine. And Ankara was the place where we would try two of these incredible, flavoursome dishes, made entirely plant-based! If you've not seen it already, the first of these dishes was the delicious, flaky and doughy börek! Check out our börek blog to find out exactly what this is, and where you can find a vegan one in Ankara!


But today we're here to tell you all about an absolutely mind-blowing dish that was, quite possibly, one of the things we were most intrigued about on our trip to Türkiye. We heard about menemen while we were researching Türkiye and it immediately made it onto our list of must-try dishes. We were so curious about how this dish could be made vegan, and were overjoyed to discover one in the Turkish capital city. Read on to find out all about this Turkish breakfast dish, then watch the video at the bottom of this page to see our experiences trying it!


But wait, what exactly is menemen?

Like many breakfast dishes around the world, the main ingredient of menemen is eggs, making it immediately unsuitable for vegans. This is no mere scrambled eggs though! These eggs are cooked up in a big pan, with other ingredients including tomatoes, black pepper, and green peppers. Sometimes it can include onion too, but this is a matter of personal preference: in fact, whether or not onion should be included in menemen is a controversial topic of debate in Türkiye!


Usually served with bread, menemen is a very sociable dish, and frequently the big two-handled pot of menemen will be taken straight from the stove to the table, where everyone can dig in together! There are variations of menemen available too, with some versions of menemen also including sausage. Some people even top their menemen with cheese. So with all of these ingredients in mind, we knew that we would have to find a specially adapted menemen, to avoid all these non-vegan and non-vegetarian ingredients. And wow, we found the most incredible plant-based menemen!


Where did we try vegan menemen in Ankara?

On the day that we visited Ankara castle, we took a nice morning stroll from our hostel to Gabo, a popular family run, plant-based restaurant. This place has a friendly, wholesome feel to it, and though we didn't speak much of the same languages, we immediately felt welcome here. We could not wait to see how they made this dish vegan!


As we'll continue to discuss, Gabo had an extensive menu with great prices - and the most incredible flavours! If we had more time we would have gone back to Gabo again, there was so much on the menu we wanted to try! And if you're looking for some vegan cupboard staples, they even have a small shop for your plant-based needs!


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

First of all, we should say that there are several different varieties of menemen available at Gabo - and we couldn't wait to get stuck in! I ordered the regular menemen, while Mike chose the menemen with sausage (one of the most common adaptations).


We were so excited that the menemen came served in the traditional two-handled pans, with a big basket of tasty bread on the side. They also gave us a big dish of salad, and a pot of olives too! The menemen itself was a very tasty, and we loved how it was clearly an authentically homemade dish, made with love. The menemen was really well flavoured with lots of vegetables inside: the traditional tomatoes, green peppers, and - yes - onions too. I was impressed with how the combination of chickpea flour and chia seeds replicated this dish so well - though it was a little smoother than scrambled eggs it was far tastier than many of the tofu scrambled eggs I’ve had in the past! If you wanted more of a chunky egg style experience perhaps you could order the menemen with tofu, which was on their menu for only a slightly higher cost. 


We loved the menemen with sausage too. The menemen itself was the same, and the succulent pieces of plant-based sausage were delightful, with plenty of herbs and just the right texture. We were big fans of this, it made this iconic and delicious dish even more special! In the UK (and across the world) eggs and sausage are big breakfast staples, and we were overjoyed to try this totally vegan, Turkish version of these familiar breakfast components. Overall, we were blown away by the menemen at Gabo, it was one of our stand-out dishes during out time in Türkiye!


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

The menemen was a really filling and cost-effective breakfast the fuelled our long day walking up the hills of Ankara! My menemen cost 90₺ (approx. £2.44, €2.82 or $3.09) - and with all that fresh and homemade menemen, the soft and doughy bread, and the salad and olives on the side too, we thought this was an incredible price!


And to add the sausage only cost an extra 10₺ too, with the menemen with sausage costing 100₺ (approx. £2.71, €3.13 or $3.43). There were other things, like tofu, that you could add to your menemen too for a similar price. Wow, this was incredible value for money and we absolutely loved it. We heartily recommend a trip to Gabo while you're in Ankara!


Have you tried vegan menemen 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?

As you might expect from a capital city, there are plenty of places to stay in Ankara, but many of them come at a much higher price than we were able to pay. We stayed at Deeps Hostel, Ankara, which offers private en suite, and dorm rooms too - with a friendly welcome and some nice social areas, we really recommend checking this place out!


Or if a hotel is more your thing, Mithat Hotel offer very cost effective rooms in a good location, with friendly staff and a 24 hour food service available.




Tours & Experiences

There's a lot to see and do in Ankara, and as you might imagine the capital city is quite spreat out. If you have plenty of time you can absolutely explore it yourself, on foot, or using Ankara's excellent public transport.


But if you would prefer to see the sights with a guide, or have the journey around Ankara planned for you, why not try this Private Guided Walking Tour?


Alternatively, if that's not for you, check out one of Viator's most favourite and highly rated tours and experiences on the left!


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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