The cuisine varies greatly across the nation such as the Aegean region that includes Istanbul , Bursa and Izmir taking elements of the Ottoman court cuisine with a lighter use of spices, a preference of rice rather than bulgur wheat, and a much wider use of seafood.
The Black Sea region uses fish, especially their regional anchovy (hamsi), and are influenced by the Balkans and Slavs which include maize dishes. Urfa , Gaziantep and Adana , in the south-east, are famous for kebabs, mezes and dough-based desserts such as baklava, kadayif and kunefe.
In western Turkey olive trees grow abundantly and the oil from them is the main oil used for cooking.
The Aegean and mediterranean regions are rich in vegetables, herbs and fish while Central Anatolia is famed for specialities such as Keşkek, manti (particularly from Kayseri) and gözleme. Specialities often take the name of the city or region they come from and usually refer to the specific technique or ingredient used, for example the difference between Urfa and Adana kebabs is the thickness of the skewer used and amount of hot pepper it contains, the Urfa kebab is thicker but less spicy than the Adana .
Yogurt is a very important element of Turkish cuisine and the English word yogurt actually derives from the Turkish word “yoğurt”. It will accompany almost all meat dishes such as köfte and kebabs, vegetable dishes such as friend aubergines, courgette, spinach, mezes (a variety of hot and cold appetisers) and mantı (folded triangles of dough containing minced meat).
Turkish cuisine includes a wide variety of sweet and savoury pastries and these dough based specialities form an integral part of the Turkish tradition.
Borek are usually savoury and salty pastries made with a thicker version of layered phyllo pastry dough called “yufka”, they can also be called Pogaca, and Çorek can be both sweet and salty.
Gozleme is typically found in rural areas and can be made from lavaş bread (flat bread) or yufka and is folded around different fillings such as spinach, cheese and parsley, minced meat or potatoes and cooked on a large griddle (saç).
Katmer is traditional dough rolled out that can have either sweet or savoury fillings.
Lahmacun (in Arabic means dough with meat) is a thick flatbread covered in a layer of spiced minced meat, tomato, pepper, onion or garlic.
Pide (Turkish pizza) can be with minced meat, onion, tomatoes, parsley, spices, cheese, spinach, Turkish sausage, pastrami and eggs placed on rolled out dough and is one of the most common traditional stone baked specialities of the country.
Acma is soft bread found in all regions of Turkey and is similar to simit in shape covered in a glaze and usually eaten for breakfast or as a snack.
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