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It is said that three major kinds of cuisine exist
in the world; Turkish, Chinese, and French. Fully
justifying its reputation, Turkish Cuisine is always a
pleasant surprise for the visitor.
In addition to being the refined product of centuries
of experience, Turkish Cuisine has a very pure
quality. The variety and simplicity of the recipes and
the quality of the ingredients are guarantees of
A typical Turkish breakfast
consists of cheese (beyaz
etc.), butter, olives, eggs, tomat
oes, cucumbers, jam, honey, an
d kaymak. Sucuk (spicy Turkish
sausage), pastırma, börek, simit
, poğaça and soups are eaten
as a morning meal in Turkey. A
common Turkish speciality for
breakfast is called
menemen, which is prepared
with tomatoes, green
peppers, onion, olive oil and
eggs. Invariably, Turkish tea is
served at breakfast.
Homemade food is still preferred by Turkish
people. Although the newly introduced way of
life pushes the new generation to eat out, Turkish
people generally prefer to eat at home. A typical
meal starts with soup (in the winter), followed by
a dish made with vegetables or legumes boiled in
a pot (typically with meat or minced meat), then
rice or bulgur pilaf in addition of a salad or cacık
(made from diluted yogurt and minced
cucumbers). Another typical meal is dried beans
cooked with meat or pastırma mixed or eaten
with rice pilaf and cacık.
Although fast food is gaining popularity and
many major foreign fast food chains have opened
all over Turkey, Turkish people still rely primarily
on the rich and extensive dishes of the Turkish
cuisine. In addition, some traditional Turkish
foods, especially köfte, döner kokoreç, börek and
gözleme are often served as fast food in Turkey.
Eating out has always been common in large
In the hot Turkish summer, a meal often consists
of fried vegetables such as eggplant (aubergine), or
potatoes served with yoghurt, tomato
cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelons, melon
s, or summer helva, which is lighter and less sweet
than regular helva.
Plums, apricots, dates, apples, grapes, and figs
are the most frequently used fruits, either fresh or
dried, in Turkish cuisine.ple, komposto (compote) or
hoşaf (from Persian khosh âb, literally meaning
"nice water") are among the main side dishes to
meat or pilav.
A vegetable dish can be a main course in a
Turkish meal. A large variety of vegetables are
used, such as spinach, leek, cauliflower,
artichoke, cabbage, celery, eggplant, green
and red bell peppers, string bean and
jerusalem artichoke. A typical vegetable dish is
prepared with a base of chopped onions,
carrots sautéed first in olive oil and later with
tomatoes or tomato paste. The vegetables and
hot water will then be added. Quite frequently
a spoon of rice and lemon juice is also added
Vegetable dishes usually tend to be served
with its own water (the cooking water) thus
often called in colloquial Turkish sulu yemek
(literally "a dish with juice"). Minced meat can
also be added to a vegetable dish but
vegetable dishes that are cooked with olive oil
(zeytinyağlılar) are often served cold and do
not contain meat. Spinach, leek, string bean
and artichoke with olive oil are among the
most widespread dishes in Turkey.
Dolma is the name used for stuffed
vegetables. Like the vegetables cooked with
olive oil as described above dolma with olive
oil does not contain meat.
(stuffed vine leaves)
Many vegetables are stuffed, most
typically green peppers (biber
dolması), eggplants, tomatoes, courgettes, or
Zucchini in the U.S. (kabak dolması), vine
leaves (yaprak dolması). If vine leaves are
used, they are first pickled in brine.
Zeytinyağlı biber dolma
( stuffed gren pepper with olive oil)
However, dolma is not limited to these
common types; many other vegetables and
fruits are stuffed with a meat and/or rice
mixture. For example, artichoke dolma (enginar
dolması) is an Aegean region specialty. Fillings
used in dolma may consist of parts of the
vegetable carved out for preparation, rice with
spices and/or minced meat.
Mercimek Köfte , although being named
köfte, does not contain any meat. Instead, red
lentil is used as the major ingredient together
with spring onion, tomato paste etc.
İmam Bayıldı is a version of karnıyarık with
no minced meat inside. It can be served as a
meze as well. Fried eggplant and pepper is a
common summer dish in Turkey. It is served with
yoghurt or tomato sauce and garlic.
Mücver is prepared with grated squash
/courgette or potatoes, egg, onion, dill and/or
cheese and flour. It can be either fried or cooked
in the oven.
Pilaf can be served either as a side dish or
main dish but bulgur pilavı is also widely eaten.
The dishes made with kuru fasulye (white
beans), nohut (chickpeas), mercimek
(lentils), börülce (black-eyed peas), etc.,
Turşu is pickle
brine, usually with
the addition of
garlic. It is often
enjoyed as an
appetizer. It is made
with a large variety
of vegetables, from
courgette. In the
towns on the
Turkey is surrounded by seas which
contain a large variety of fish. Fish are
grilled, fried or cooked slowly by the
buğulama (poaching) method. Buğulama is
fish with lemon and parsley, covered while
cooking so that it will be cooked with steam.
The term pilâki is also used for fish cooked
with various vegetables, including onion in the
oven. In the Black Sea region, fish are usually
fried with thick corn flour.
Popular sea fishes in Turkey include: anchovy
hamsi, sardine sardalya, bonito palamut, gilthead bream çupra or çipura, red mullet
barbun(ya), sea bass levrek, whiting mezgit
(allied to the cod fish) or bakalyaro, swordfish
kılıç, turbot kalkan, red pandora
mercan, tırança, istavrit and white grouper
One of the world-renowned desserts of
Turkish cuisine is baklava. Baklava is made
either with pistachio or walnut. Turkish cuisine
has a range of baklava-like desserts which
include şöbiyet, bülbül yuvası, saray
sarması, sütlü nuriye, and sarı burma.
Kadaif ('Kadayıf') is a common Turkish dessert
that employs shredded yufka.
Künefe and ekmek kadayıfı are rich in
syrup and butter, and are usually served with
• Among milk-based desserts, the most popular
ones are muhallebi, su muhallebisi, sütlaç (rice
pudding), keşkül, kazandibi
Helva: (halva): un helvası (flour helva is usually
cooked after someone has died), irmik helvası
(cooked with semolina and pine nuts), yaz
helvası (made from walnut or almond), tahin
helvası (crushed sesame seeds), kos
helva, pişmaniye (floss halva).
Other popular desserts include; Revani
(with semolina and
starch), şekerpare, kalburabasma, dilber
dudağı, vezir parmağı, hanım
göbeği, kemalpaşa, tulumba, zerde, höşmerim
, paluze, irmik tatlısı/peltesi, lokma.
Güllaç: is a dessert typically served at
Ramadan, which consists of very thin large
dough layers put in the milk and rose water,
served with pomegranate seeds and walnut.
Aşure: can be described as
a sweet soup containing
boiled beans, wheat and
dried fruits. Sometimes
cinnamon and rose water is
added when being served.
According to legend, it was
first cooked on Noah's Ark
and contained seven
different ingredients in one
dish. All the Anatolian
peoples have cooked and
are still cooking aşure
especially during the month
Some traditional Turkish desserts are fruitbased: ayva tatlısı (quince), incir tatlısı
(fig), kabak tatlısı (pumpkin), elma tatlısı (apple)
and armut tatlısı (pear).
Homemade cookies are commonly called
kurabiye in Turkish
Tahin- Pekmez is a traditional combination
especially in rural areas. Tahin is sesame paste
and pekmez is grape syrup. These are sold
separately and mixed before consumption.
Cezerye, cevizli (walnut) sucuk (named after its
sucuk/sujuk like shape, also known as
Churchkhela in Circassian region) and pestil
(fruit pestils) are among other common
Another jelly like Turkish sweet is macun.
Mesir macunu of Manisa/İzmir (which was
also called "nevruziye" as this macun was
distributed on the first day of spring in the
Ottoman Palace) contains 41 different spices.
It is still believed that "mesir macunu" is good
for health and has healing effects.