Turkish Cuisine: “Food fit for a Sultan”

Because of the variety of its recipes, its use of natural ingredients, its flavours and tastes which appeal to all palates and its influence throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, the Turkish cuisine, largely the heritage of the Ottoman cuisine, is renowned as one of the top three world cuisines

Did you know that:

  • Turkey is agricultrally self-sufficient and one of the only seven countries in the world that can produce enough food to feed its people;
  • Turkey is responsible for 80% of the world’s hazelnut export;
  • By the end of the 1500s, the Ottoman court housed over 1,400 live-in cooks;
  • In one seed of Turkish coffee, there are between 15,000 and 35,000 particles. In espresso, this number is only 3,50

Turkish people love eating. As dining is an integral and indispensable part of social life, we provide you some general knowledge to keep in mind when you visit one of the numerous restaurants.

This information can also be useful when you want to organize a special event for your guests so they get the full Turkish experience.

Turkish Breakfast

Basic elements:
A well prepared tea for starters is a must and the most common bread is white bread. However, different kinds of grain bread became widespread in an attempt to eat healthier.

The rest of the basic ingrediënts are white cheese who is similar to feta, old cheese (kaşar peyniri), black and/or green olives (zeytin), sliced tomatoes and/or cucumbers, butter, honey, jam, boiled eggs (yumurta) or omlette.
For the ones who like to spice it up a bit. An all-time favorite is sucuk cooked on a pan mostly with eggs. Sucuk is a dried sausage made of ground beef with garlic and a variety of spices. It may be for some people spicy and fatty, but it sure is awfully delicious.

Since breakfast (kahvaltı) is the most important meal of the day, Turkish people know perfectly to extend and add variety to it.

A picture says more than a thousand words. I would like you to watch the video below. It is a perfect example of how a Turkish breakfast table may look like. Please, don’t feel offended when your country comes along because some of them can be a little bit overdone and stay tuned untill the very end. You will be surprised 😉

 

Lunch or Dinner

Starters

You can describe Turkish ‘Meze’ (starters and appetizers) as a series of small delectable warm and cold dishes served before the main course. They are diverse and colourful and also great for parties as finger foods and dips. You can compare it with the Italian ‘antipasti’ and the Spanish ‘tapas’ but keep in mind that no cuisine tops the Turkish ‘Meze’ for its wide selection and numerous variations.

meze

Vegetarians
Because of its warm, favourable climate, Turkey grows all kinds of fruits and vegetables. In Turkish cuisine, vegetables are not only served as accompanying or side dishes, but also as main courses cooked in olive oil.

Fish and Seafood
With the sea surrounding the three sides of the Anatolian peninsula it is not a wonder that Turkish people like to eat fish. To keep the natural taste and flavour the fish and seafood is cooked by simple, natural methods, such as grilling or stewing whitout adding sauces. A perfect fish dish is always accomponied by a salad served with lots of olive oil and lemon.

Meats and Grill
Everybody knows the Turkish Kebabs. ‘Kebab’ is the name for all kinds of grilled and fire-roasted poultry, meats, fish and seafood.

kuzu

 

And… don’t forget that all festive meals end with a nice cup of Turkish coffee.

‘Kuzu tandır’: the ‘’pride’’ and the most beloved lamb dish in Turkish cuisine. ‘Tandır’ refers to any meat roasted over coals, on the stovetop or in the oven. It is lamb so tender and fragrant, it falls away from the bone and melts in your mouth like cotton candy. If you ever have the chance to taste this dish. Believe me, you won’t regret it.

Afiyet Olsun! Bon Appetit!

 Turkish food in general is exotic, diverse and full of surprises. If you want more information we advise you to visit www.turkishfood.about.com You will find everything you need to enjoy food the Turkish way.