Mexican, Chinese, Italian and Turkish cuisines are world-renowned cuisines, which are mentioned by the name of their countries. The only cuisine, mentioned by the name of its city instead of its country is Gaziantep Cuisine. Kebab types are made in close to 40 types in addition to the known types, as new world, with vegetables, with quince, with apples, with tomatoes, with simit, with eggplants, Kilis kebab, sour lamb cutlets, meat stew with mushrooms, with yoghurt and quince. The only cuisine, in which there are tens of pot meals where the sauce forms in itself while the food is prepared is Gaziantep Cuisine. Because of these characteristics, UNESCO accepted the city of Gaziantep, which famous for its cuisine, to be the 17th city in the world in the field of ’Gastronomy’’ in the Network of Creative Cities as the first Turkish city in the world in December 2015.
Consisting of the words ‘’Ala,’’ which means beautiful and ‘’nazik,’’ which means food, Ali Nazik, is has been referred to by this name for many years. One of the major delicacies of Gaziantep cuisine, Alinazik, is a main dish, made with eggplants and meat. This food has a story, which goes back to the Ottoman Empires. When Yavuz Sultan Selim visited Antep in the 16th Century, he was greeted with a sumptuous ceremony and there was also Ali Nazik among the foods, which were offered. He liked it very much and asked ‘’Which ‘eli nazik’ (person with gentle hands) cooked this?’’ he said. Thus, its name remained as “Ali Nazik”
As Evliya Celebi says, if Gaziantep is the apple of the World’s eye, pistachio is the apple of Antep’s eye, namely `Ayıntab-ı Antep’ without a doubt. Pistacchio is like the hallmark of Gaziantep. There is no table, where there is no pistacchio. Many Antep delicacies, from sweet to salty, receives its taste from pistacchio. Shining like an emerald on Antep table, pistachio is the treasure of the city in a way. In addition to the rich taste, it adds to the tables, it is a major source of income. Therefore, it is also called “green gold”. Very beautiful pistachio tree is likened to golden tree.
Its name is derived from Arabic “lahm bi ajin,” which means dough with meat. Antep Lahmacun’s meat is made of sheep’s chest and some sheep’s arm or leg meat is added. Peeled tomatoes, hot green peppers, lots of parsley and fresh garlic and spices are sliced and then flaked red peppers and spices are added at desired amount. Butchers of Antep and kebab chefs, who are the masters of this issue, know the most proper mixture and amount of materials. Onions are not added to Antep lahmacun and oven part of Lahmacun production is also very important! They roll out the Lahmacun very thin by tapping with both hands and place its mixture by rule of thumb without leaving any space on the edges and spread it evenly on the spread dough.
First of all, flour of hard wheat, grown in arid fields Harran Plains are brought together with the water of Gaziantep. The dough, which comes out this way, is turned into thinner 40 layers of dough phyllo dough, each of which is thinner than paper, using dough rollers, always made of pear trees, by the hands of masters from Antep. The most valuable Antep pistachio nuts, with their emerald green color and rich aroma, yielding 110-170 g pistachio kernels per 1 kilo, which are just becoming ripe and collected early grown during the first week of August and called “firik or boz-ic” among people is added between these 40 layers with butter from goat’s and sheep’s milk, and cream, obtained by boiling goat, sheep or cow’s milk at 105-108 °C and adding a mixture of semolina, also obtained in the region.
Taste of Antep cuisine comes from the oil or butter, poured on it. Most dishes, especially the dishes with yoghurt are extremely light and usually cooked without oil or butter. A little heated oil or butter is poured on them before being served. This process, called “yağ çağırtmak” in Turkish (“summoning oil”) has the last word on taste. Dry mint or haspir is added to the oil, according to the type of the dish and sometimes powdered or fine pepper flakes are added. The dish assumes a very green, very yellow or very red color, according to the materials, put in it and creates an array of bright colors on the food.