Turkish cooking appreciated when you see Turkey on the map
By a Staff Reporter
The Turkish donair was made differently in Halifax when we opened for business in 2005.” Kublay Gonul, the man who owns Turkish Delight on Spring Garden Road in Halifax told this reporter. “Then we introduced the authentic donair and today it’s among the more popular favourites on our menu with donair nights serving beef on Tuesday, chicken on Wednesday and lamb on Friday.”
Gonul came to Nova Scotia under the provincial nominee program before it collapsed. “I wanted my children to get an international perspective and that’s why I came,” he says. A practicing Muslim, Gonul appears to be in disagreement with the politicization of religion.
“Turkey has been getting closer to the conservatives and the government is wooing fundamentalists,” he says. “God has no religion, no race. So we have to respect each other as his equal sons. I am close to Allah but not the political side of religion.”
He says he has suffered no culture shock upon coming to Canada. “The Turks understand the culture of western societies. Way back in 1964 we signed an agreement with the European Union to ultimately become part of the community,” he says. “So, no culture shock. In fact, Istanbul is far more western in approach than Halifax is.”
Gonul says he is very nationalistic and never forgets his roots. “But we adapt easily and in Nova Scotia it’s great to be with a friendly society.” Of course, he’s seen traces of racism and snobbery but takes it in his stride. “Don’t expect heaven on earth. Wherever there are humans there are problems. It’s unfair to say this society is racist. It’s only the exception.”
A businessman in Turkey, Gonul operated a thriving trading business, particularly in the Far East, trading merchandise with China, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Taiwan and on the other designing and contracting the manufacturing of his bicycle brand for exports.
At Turkish Delight, Gonul has Turkish and Syrian chefs. Turkish cuisine he says can be understood when you look at Turkey on a map – a bridge between Europe and Asia.
“Turkish cuisine therefore has Armenian, Arabic, Byzantian, Roman and Aegian characteristics,” he says. “Baklava is not altogether Greek, it is more Arabic. Mousaaka is more Aegian on the other hand.
He says what stands out about Turkish cooking is its grilling time, the choosing of portions of meat, the marination and ingredients. He says his chefs debone chicken and marinate it for a full two days and nights before its cooked. “That makes our donairs authentically Turkish.”
But despite the fact that Turkish Delight is busy for lunch and dinner, Gonul says he makes time to spend some evenings with his wife at the opera, holding seasonal tickets for Neptune shows.
“It’s a great place to live and raise kids,” he says.