Turkish food explained


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Visitors who are not familiar with Turkish cuisine have a delightful surprise in store for them: stemming partly from the spectacular variety of ingredients and partly from the influence of the numerous civilizations which have inhabited Anatolia throughout history, Turkish cuisine is simply delicious.

Regional Specialities

As you visit different areas of Turkey, there are local specialities which must be eaten in their home region to be fully appreciated. Thus Kanlica in Istanbul is famous for its yoghurt, Bursa for its Iskendar Kebab, Gaziantep for its pistachio nuts, the Black Sea for hamsi (fried anchovies) and corn bread and the Syrian borderlands (Urfa and Adana) for spicy shish kebabs.


A meal out will usually start with a selection of mezes -- appetizers -- from an enormous and very colourful platter brought to your table by the waiter. Cold mezes include stuffed mussels (midye dolma), humus, pureed aubergine salad (patlican salatasi), stuffed vine leaves (yaprak dolma) and Circassian chicken (cevizli tavuk). Among the selection of hot mezes are usually borek, (thin layers of flaky pastry stuffed with cheese, meat or spinach), sautéed lamb's liver with onions and kalamari.

Salad lovers will find a variety of unusual, spicy herbs appearing along with the standard tomato and cucumber, especially in the south. Roka is a bitter herb which translates as rocket in English, and you may also find spiky dereotu (bitter cress), nane (fresh mint) or even kuzu kulla (sorrel). A spinachy-textured vegetable frequently served in garlic-yogurt is called semizotu, known to us as purslane.

Main courses

Main courses are generally fish or meat kebabs, though this word is used in a much wider sense than generally understood in the West. The spices and herbs used to delicately flavor the meat varies from region to region. Guvec dishes are delicious casseroles cooked in earthenware pots. Et sote, a kind of goulash, is very good, as is coban kavurma. The eating of fish has an elevated if not cult status in Turkey. It is best eaten in an open-air restaurant by the sea, (preferably one of the lovely restuarnars along Ladies beach!!) always accompanied by raki, and enjoyed in the company of good friends. The choice depends on the catch of the day, and may include swordfish (kilic), bluefish (lufer), turbot (kalkan) or lobster (istakoz).

The staple of lunch time cafeterias is ev yemek, which translates literally as home food, signifying tasty vegetable and meat-based stews. An interesting aspect of Turkish drinking culture is the all-night iskembe parlor, which serves tripe soup. It is considered medicinal after a night on the town, with crushed garlic from a bowl, red pepper, oregano and vinegar added to taste.


In restaurants, dessert is often a beautifully presented selection of seasonal fruits. In spring this may be green almonds and plums, generally an acquired taste for foreigners. There are strawberries in May, cherries in June, melons in July and August and apples, pears and pomegranates in autumn. Winter is the time for Turkish-grown citrus fruits and bananas.

For a wider selection of sweets try the pastane, or pudding shop, where you'll find all the traditional Turkish sweets such as lokum, or Turkish delight, baklava, kadayif, halva and asure (traditionally held to contain the forty different ingredients left in the Ark's kitchen when Noah sighted Ararat). Sutlac, or rice pudding, is also popular, as are profiteroles.


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Site Admin

Don't make me sing the Gozleme song....

A trip to Turkey ain't completeeeee,
Without a taste of this truely scrumptious treat,
Oh Gozleme...you are so yummy....
I got love...in my tummyyyy



Staff member
Site Admin
x0x_JoAnNe_x0x said:
what actually is Gozleme?

Gozleme is a village dish made of flat lavas (lah-VAHSH) bread folded over various ingredients then baked on a griddle, has been—like börek—a popular light meal for centuries in Turkey.

It's SO YUMMY. You can get lots of different flavours. Such as;

ispinakli = with spinach
karisik = with everything
kasar peynirli = with yellow cow's milk cheese
katmer = plain
kiymali = with ground lamb
patatesli = with mashed potatoes
peynirli = with white sheep's milk cheese (feta)

:bigok: :bigok: :bigok:
Asla said:
I once had gozleme with hasish....didnt know it till I had eaten it! Anyone else come across this?!
Oh my Asla. Was this in Kus or in the rural area´s.

My fave is Cigar Börek & Gozleme!

Intresting article Claire.;)
...Claire there's a very short list of my fav:
baklava baklava baklava....

ekmek kadayifi


turkish coffee

just can't wait come to turkey again ;)
Thanks i just cant wait to get my choppers into that lovely food i love kebabs and coffee so i should love the food then. It will be my first visit to Turkey.
in the Marbel Hotel you have a turkish woman who comes and cooks gozleme every day - its gorgeous - especially the parsley and egg one :)

I had a fantastic Et Sote at Conexxions bar - was really tasty! Also had a fantastic simple piece of Sea Bass from Ali Babas.

LOL @ Carmella - Nice song!!!
Our Neighbours

Invited us round for tea one evening and the food they gave us was delicious.
The First thing we ate was called Manti...see here http://www.allaboutturkey.com/meze1.htm

then after that we had a cold type of tomato soup with broad beans in...yummy!

Then we had Chicken in Rice...getting full now!
Then a huge plate of fruit, some was peeled.
And the family don't drink beer but they went out of their way to get some for me, bless them.

Fantastic evening, luckily the ladies sister was there and she speaks very good english.
I love turkish people and their cooking some of the best meals i have ever had are from turkey i used to hate the sight of it but as they say hear in Liverpool 'you can't knock it till you've tried it' Jamieann from the forum was the first ever person to make me try turkish food at her hotel her lovely husband cooked us burak i think thats what its called but it was yummy!!!
can't get enough of it infact we had a continental market in my town this weekend and i bought loads of homemade baklava never seen it in england so had to buy it mmmmmmmmmmmm mouths watering now!!