Introduction to Turkish Foods

Iskender Kebab

A few basic informations about Turkish foods can be good before your visit. Turkish foods are classified by different criterias. In this content, we’re going to try to explain them basically. So, before your travel, you will get an idea about what you’ll eat and drink in Turkey.

Classified into what?
In fact, we could not decide it. But let us to share a few examples:

Regions: As you know, there’re seven geographical regions in Turkey. And each region has different cities. For example, Aegean includes eight cities and if we look at Turkish foods by region criteria, there’ll be seven main titles. It’s hard to understand this classification because of mutual foods such as dolma. That food is cooked with different styles and ingredients in different cities.

Ingredients: Some sources explain them by classify into their ingredients. Vegetables (and also olive oil) like vine leaves, meats like lahmacun, side dishes like cacik, desserts like baklava. It looks easy to get an idea with that way.

The problem is that each of these titles have subtitles. For example, “desserts” cannot be enough to understand. So, we need to divide it with different subtitles. Desserts with syrup like baklava, milk desserts like tavukgogsu, and the others like asure or lokum.

– Wikipedia style: This famous website classified Turkish foods into three main titles: culinary customs, dishes and foods, beverages. In fact, it looks great to understand all details of Turkish cuisine; but it is not possible to refer each of them in a blog content.

Introduction style: We’re going to explain them with different criterias in our own “introduction” style. And we hope you’ll find what you need; but please contact with us or write in the comment box if you’ve any question.

We divided them into six titles and we’ll introduce just a few of them in the relevant titles.

1) Homemade foods
Soups: Most Turkish people prefer to eat soups, before their dinner, especially in Ramadan. Some soups are prefered for breakfast also. And some of them are eaten at late hours. We suggest you paca (tripe) especially for your breakfast or when you feel hungry at late nights. Also Konya’s okra soup is awesome and very satisfying.

Vegetables: These foods are popular and mostly they add olive oil. If they cook a food with both vegetable and meat, butter can be preferred. For example, sarma has two kinds. One of them (sarma with olive oil) is cooked with olive oil and they eat it without heating. The other one (sarma with the meat) doesn’t include olive oil and it has to eaten hot.

Breakfast in Van2) Breakfast time
Breakfast is a special time for Turkish people and they really elaborate on it. In the photo, you can see an example from city of Van. Our suggestion is honey and kaymak which are great company on the bread slice.

If you travel to Izmir, you should try kumru (a kind of cold sandwichs) and boyoz (a traditional patty) with Turkish tea.

3) Let’s eat something in the street
Wherever you visit, you’ll see some special tastes on the streets. It’s possible to perceive the smell of some of them, also. Kokorec, midye, traditional ice creams (like Maras’s ice cream), doner and all others are great alternatives.

4) Sweet diet

Probably you have heard something about baklava and lokum. These two products are really delicious, but the list is actually longer. You should decide about what you prefer: Syrup or milk…

Kazandibi, sutlac, and tavukgogsu can be delicious alternatives, if you prefer milk desserts. On the other hand, kadayif, kunefe, and sekerpare are good choices, if you prefer desserts with syrup.

Plus, there’re more alternatives which are not possible for these two subtitles: dessert of quince (or fig, pumpkin) and also cezerye, gullac (in Ramadan), mesir macunu (in Manisa), semolina helva etc.

Vefa in Istanbul, Karakedi in Eskisehir, Semikler in Izmir

5) Drinking of…
Sadly, we can inform you about only non-alcoholic beverages. You can explore the others when you arrive there.

Beverages in Turkish cuisine can be classified by two: For foods and not for foods. For the breakfast, Turkish tea has to preferred. After your meal, Turkish coffee is a good option. If you can find, you can try it with mastic gum.

If you eat a kind of kebabs, ayran can be nice company. Also turnip juice is another alternative for the meals. If you visit Turkey in wintertime, you should taste boza and sahlep as well.

6) Must
We’re going to evaluate Turkish foods one by one in next contents. But for now, we can suggest some of them shortly. And you should take a note, according to your travel plan.

If you’ve a friend in there, you should visit his/her family for a breakfast or dinner. For dinner, you may ask “sulu yemek” to housewife. She can cook something special on her culture such as musakka or something else.

If you visit Eastern or Southeastern Anatolia, kebabs have to tried. And you’ve to taste at least one of them like Urfa Kebab. In Black Sea, you can taste different foods of hamsi, including dessert and bread. Konya is the capital of pide (etli ekmek) and tandir. And Bursa’s iskender is very famous. You should taste kokorec and lokma in Izmir. Edirne’s leaf liver is very delicious also.

If you visit Turkey in summertime, Maras ice-cream has to tasted. In Salihli (a district of Manisa), odun kofte (a kind of meatballs) is the greatest one. And yes, Gazianteps baklavas are known in the World, just like Adana kebab and Kayseri manti.

ps: We did not refer dairy products, side dishes, mezzes and salads. Continue to follow and visit us to explore more, please…

Enjoy your meal. (Afiyet olsun)