“And, with that, a mighty cheer went up from the heroes of Shelbyville. They had banished the awful lemon tree forever…because it was haunted. Now, let’s all celebrate with a cool glass of turnip juice.”
Strong words from the Shelbyville elder but here in Turkiye a cool glass of şalgam suyu really is just the thing to fix what ails ya!
Let me tell you last night I visited a neighbour’s house and, after some discussion about my recent illness, I found myself being served rakı along with a large glass of şalgam suyu (turnip juice). The look on The Turk’s face was priceless. He knew I was going to have difficulty chugging both of these drinks down but chug them down I did because it would be considered rude to not do so. I can see why they are served together. The strong anise flavour of the rakı very much complimented the overly salty salgam but for me together or separate both drinks are very much hard for me to swallow.
Turnip Juice? Seriously?
Yes indeed folks, although it is called şalgam suyu this little concoction is more correctly made with fermented carrots (yes I said that) as well as water, salt and bulgur flour. Don’t get me wrong there is also turnip in the mix but it is only a very small amount. During summer there are vendor’s all over Çarşı selling this famous concoction (which actually originates from the Mersin/Adana/Hatay region) and you know they are there before you see them by his unique music made by tapping the ladles to his own beat and singing at the top of his lungs.
In fact Adana even goes so far as to have a festival in honour of the wonderous şalgam. The Adana Kebap ve Şalgam Festival, emerged from the tradition of enjoying kebab, with liver, şalgam and rakı. Originally it was called the Adana Rakı Festival but organisers had to change the name because of pressure from conservative anti-alcohol groups who wanted the Festival cancelled.
You can practically insert Mrs Lovejoy’s shrieks here, “But what about the children?!”
Oh and for those who want to know. It is apparently good for you with vitamin B, potassium, calcium and iron. It will help you lose weight, relieve stress and is an aphrodisiac.
I’m not sure if I will partake in a rakı / şalgam suyu throwdown again anytime soon but methinks this might be more to the stellar hangover than the freaky taste sensation.
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