Turkish cuisine has the most similar tastes with Arabic, Greek and Western European cuisines. Traditionals foods include fish, meat, seafood, goat cheese and vegetables. Each region of Turkey can pride itself with its local specialties, you can always expect a meal with a balanced ratio of vegetables, fruits, meats and side dishes. The Turks like to indulge in a little bit of everything and like to taste.
One of the key ingredients of the majority of local dishes is meat, with the exception of pork, which is not served in Turkish cuisine. You can enjoy thick soups, which many Turks never leave out of their everyday routines. There are often sweet and sometimes overly sweet desserts that have come from Arabic cuisine.
A very popular ingredient in Turkey is the eggplant. You can taste it in many different varieties- most commonly baked with meat, potatoes, cheese and other delicious ingredients. Turkish cuisine is rich in vegetables, besides eggplant you will find leek, spring onion, peppers and green herbs such as parsley, chives, lovage and many others.
The lovers of salads and vegetables will be more than happy in Turkey, because these are abundant in Turkish cuisine both warm and cold. Grilled veggies are a common side dish or can be put directly in a salad. Here you will also encounter the eggplant, which when grilled and seasoned well tastes absolutely delicious
Another favorite dish in Turkey that has gained recognition around the world is the kebab. It contains meat which is methodically cut from the grilled part of the meat. The most common combinations of this dish include some form of bread and various sauces. In a restaurant, you will often a choice to eat the adana kebab which is seasoned in Arabic spices or the iskender kebab, which is served with bread and yoghurt.
Turkish desserts and sweets trace their origin into Arabic cuisine and that’s why they tend to be very sweet. They usually contain honey, ice cream or fruits. A typical Turkish treat is the baklava-puff pastry with honey and nuts. Although this is a very sweet dessert, we highly recommend trying the real baklava at least once, you won’t regret it.
You will find many unique and original dishes – sweet and savory. This includes: börek peynirl(filled puff pastry with Balkan cheese), midye dolmasi (filled mussels), iskembe (tripe soup), mercimek corbasi (lentil soup), tavuk corbasi (chicken soup), yaprak dolmasi (filled vine leaves), imam bayildi (eggplant filled with vegetables), cacik (salad from grated salad cucumber, onion and garlic), gözleme (filled flour dough), sigara böregi (cheese filled rollsrolky), pilic (chicken), köfte (beef meatballs), cöp sis (small pieces of meat on a skewer), güvec (jehněčí lamb meat cooked on a fire with vegetables), ciger (grilled liver with vegetables), enginar dolmasi (filled eggplant), patlican musaka (eggplant pudding), pilav (a rice or grain dish with raisins) dolma (stuffed vegetables), lokmu (oil roasted dough balls with syrup), dondurma (ice cream).
The preparation of Turkish coffee is a slow process, and it is not advised to rush it. A special vessel is required, called the dzezva. Finely ground coffee is poured into the dzezva, combined with cold water and then brewed over a heat source while slowly closing and securing the vessel. The leftover foam is then transferred into a small cup and coffee from the dzezva is poured over. The coffee grains will remain at the bottom of the vessel. The Turks prefer to drink their coffee very sweet(they use sugar and other spices) but never add milk into it.
While in Britain tea is served specifically at 5 in the afternoon, in Turkey, tea is considered a national drink which is part of everyday life. It is served during family gatherings, work meetings and but also during an afternoons rest.
The preparation of tea is a more complex process than in other countries. Turks place emphasis on the right preparation and therefore use a special two-piece kettle that has hot water at the bottom and in the top part the tea is suffused in water.
The tea is served in a glass, whose shape resembles the tulip. It depends on you how strong you want your tea. Firstly, you are served with the top part of the tea and it is up to you to add the hot water to regulated the taste.
Along with tea, there are many popular drinks - Elma cay (apple tea), raki (anise brandy), bira (beer), sarap (wine).