Turkish Food: Simit Converts

This post is an apology to, and an ode to, a very famous Turkish food…

It was June 2010 that we wrote a blog post about the traditional Turkish simit and, if you remember, we declared that we just couldn’t get with the love of simit. In fact, the final sentence in that post expressed hope that one day, we would learn to love this circular, sesame-seed-covered chunk of bread but that we may be some time in getting to that point.

We were quite surprised by the response we got to that post; people were getting in touch with us from different parts of Turkey via our Facebook page and Twitter and were explaining to us that if we didn’t like simit then quite simply, we’d never had a decent one. There was a definite passion for the simit and the main suggestions were that we must buy them from the bakery in the mornings and eat them for breakfast. If they’re still warm, even better. Cream cheese was the most popular suggestion for a filling.

Turkish Food - The Simit

Morning fresh simits from our local bakery in Fethiye

But, at the time, we had a problem in that we didn’t have a local bakery that baked simits and so we just continued happily with our simitless existence. However, we are pleased to announce that all that has changed and we were so excited a few months back when our local bakery placed a board outside advertising their taze simit (fresh simit). We asked them the best time to come to buy them – we wanted to buy them while they were still warm and morning fresh – and the day after, we took the simit challenge…and we were immediately converted. The perfect, simple alternative when the complete Turkish breakfast isn’t on the agenda.

Taze Simit - Fresh Simit

Simit preparation

This morning, a break in the clouds revealed enough warm sunshine to be able to eat a late breakfast outside on the terrace, so simit seemed to be the perfect choice. After buying them from the bakery, each sesame ring was cut into quarters and then each quarter was sliced along the middle. Green olives, labne (a cream cheese made by straining yoghurt) and raspberry jam were placed on the table along with the chunks of simit.

Simit, Labne & Jam

Labne and jam – the perfect combination for fresh simit

Some people just spread cheese along their simit. This is perfectly good, especially when paired with an olive or two. Other people will take the sweet route and spread a little bit of jam, honey or chocolate spread over the top of each slice. And then there are people like us who just can’t decide between labne or jam…so they use both! This is a delicious simit topping!

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  1. So glad you found the way to loving simit. Its one of our favourite treats for breakfast or an afternoon snack. We like to have ours with Eski Peynir and cay.

  2. I’m glad you converted 🙂 Living in Turkey and not loving simit is unimaginable. Even though I would enjoy them in moderation…

  3. Another new one to me, but I’m always tempted by anything with sesame seeds on it, and you can never beat freshly baked breads. Mmmmm.

  4. best few kurus you’ll ever spend – those sesame seeds are wonderful!

  5. @ Kerry Arslan: I think we like the moistness of the jam and the cream cheese but we’re always open to new ideas. 🙂

    @ baa: Always in moderation because we can see the slippery slope ahead if we’re not careful! 🙂

  6. @ Cally: Oh, you must try them next time you’re in Turkey. Still not sure I can get with walking along the harbour with a plain one though. Seems a waste when there are all those lovely fillings to experiment with. 🙂

    @ Alan: Fantastically cheap aren’t they – and it’s definitely the sesame seeds that make them so tasty! 🙂

  7. Anonymous says

    Julia, here in Montreal Canada, we call them bagels and the best way and the most favorite of all is to put quite a lot of cream cheese, then some good smoke salmon, a few sliced onion, maybe some fresh capers, a bit of fresh dill and what a super lunch sandwich that makes! Try it once and let me know… maybe I will bring some smoke salmon from Canada in the fall if you cant find any good one in Fethiye!!!
    Suzanne Rolland

  8. @ Suzanne: That sounds like a very posh filling! 🙂 I’ve had sandwiches like that in the past but not on a simit. We’ve tried bagels in the UK but maybe they weren’t good quality ones as I found them quite stodgy. Are they more like a simit?

  9. They are tinner and so tasty, a bit bigger then the simit. I give you the link to the most famous bagel bakery in Montreal where there is a line-up outside each morning; and they even make 24 different varieties but try them my way and keep me posted.


  10. i have been wanting to make these so bad! i have never tasted one but i know i will love them. soon…these will be made soon!

  11. When in doubt, do both! LOL!! I’d do the same! I’ve always found that a combi of sweet and savory works in most cases … I mean, peanut butter and jelly? There you go! 🙂
    Aww … I was hoping to see a homemade version of this. I have a weakness for good bread and the more exotic the better 🙂 Time to google!

  12. These fresh ones sound SO good. I feel similarly about bagels. I just don’t like them cold. But give me a warm or toasted one spread with cream cheese and I’m a happy girl. 🙂

  13. I’ve always found simit fantastic, and even small children love them too as a healthy alternative to candy snacks.

  14. @ Suzanne: Ha ha. Thanks for the link. Will have a loom at it. Looks like we’ve got some simit experimentation on our hands! 🙂

    @ Jaz: Well, if you do make them, let us know how you get on. Apparently, a real simit needs a special stone oven though. Have you got one? 😉

  15. @ Ping: Yeah, you can’t beat a bit of sweet and savoury combined although I think you win with that one; peanut butter and jelly?! Not sure about that! 😉

    @ Rambling Tart: Yeah, they’ve got to be freshly baked or else they’re just not the same. From what I’ve heard, bagels are similar.

  16. @ Italian Notes: They’re a great healthy alternative to sweets for kids aren’t they? Much more nutrition in a simit. We just make them more fattening with the lush toppings we use. 🙂

  17. i was just going to ask if these were similar to bagels- and then I read the comments– so I’m assuming they are. Yes with creme cheese – oh my they are delicious- but I don’t care for the normal ones- I like the lighter bagels….kind of chonga bagel variety.

  18. @ Anjuli: We really need to try a bagel for the States or Canada now because the only ones I’ve tried in the UK were just not good – not like simits anyway. They’re definitely similar but I found a bagel to be a bit heavy. The cream cheese seems to be a universal love though. 🙂

  19. We have 4 different types of simit in our local bakery. Have you tried the 7 taneli ( 6 different seeds on top plus sesame)

  20. Simits sound delicious. Warm and fresh from the oven couldn’t be better! I love the idea of labna with them. Have another for me!!

  21. @ BacktoBodrum: Now that’s just showing off! Our bakery has the simit you see in the photo above and we get what we’re given. 😉 7 taneli certainly sounds interesting though, although Bodrum is a long way for us to come just for a simit! 🙂

  22. I like my simit plain dipped in my cay. Or if time, I place some krem peynir and the black olive spread in the middle of a toasted simit. Hubby likes to put sliced tomatoes too. Yum!

  23. @ Joy: Oh,we absolutely LOVE the black olive spread. Definitely going to give this one a try. Hmm, lots of simit recipes coming to mind now. 🙂

  24. I love simit, finally I know how it’s called! I always used to take it in Istanbul from street vendors and couldn’t explain to my friend what it was. It’s delicious.

  25. @ Angela: Glad to be of service. Always a little bit of education dotted about in this blog…here and there. 🙂 Can’t believe it took us so long to enjoy a simit!

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