Ramadan, the last of the three holy months celebrated by Muslims, starts tomorrow, and chefs in Gaziantep, Turkey’s first gastronomy capital included in UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network, are clearing the decks to offer delicacies to locals and foreign tourists during Ramadan.
With only one day left until Ramadan, kebab and dessert shops in Gaziantep have completed their final preparations. Businesses have been counting down the days to host guests for sahur and iftar, the meals that mark the start and end of the daily fast. In the Ramadan menus of businesses, there are specialties such as hearty beyran soup, lahmacun, kebab, katmer and baklava available, apart from hot starters.
Kebab chef Ahmet Çadır told Anadolu Agency (AA) that for the last two years Ramadan had been filled with grief due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our guests prefer more local flavors on the menu,” Çadır said.
“We are very excited and have completed all our preparations. Spring is our tourism season. Since this year Ramadan coincides with the spring season, we anticipate that our work will be more intense. We are ready to welcome all the guests in the best way. Our reservations for the first 15 days have already been filled,” he added. He also highlighted that reservation demands are not coming from only locals but also from visitors outside the district.
Halil Ibrahim Şeker, another chef who specializes in katmer, Gaziantep’s signature dessert with pistachios and clotted cream, defines it as a dessert that can be consumed every hour between iftar and sahur.
“We want a Ramadan with a taste of katmer. It is light and nutritious with cream and nuts in it. The first choice of guests from outside the province after iftar is katmer,” Şeker said.
Onur Ibili, a chef specializing in baklava, a layered pastry dessert made of filo pastry, also stated that people are rushing to buy baklava as Ramadan approaches.
“Baklava, the first Turkish product designated by the European Union, attracts a lot of attention during Ramadan. All baklava shops in the city have accelerated the production of baklava. We have enough pistachios, plain butter and cream to last for at least one month. As you know, in the last two years, people have been deprived of most specialty dishes during Ramadan, but I hope that will not be the case this year.”