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Turkish Food

6/20/2010

Turkish Cuisine

Turkish food and drink, well-known dishes such as borek, baklava, dolma, kebab and their backgrounds…

It is not easy to discern one dominant type of food in Turkey. Unlike the Italians with their pasta or the French with their sauce, Turkey’s cuisine comes together in a range of intricate dishes to provide a feast at mealtimes. 

The sheer number of different dishes in Turkish cuisine owes a debt to both the country’s history as well as to its geography. 

Historically, Turkey has a long repertoire of ancient recipes that were perfected by the chefs eager to please the Sultans. Add to that its geographical position at the crossroads between Europe and the Far East – bringing travelers from many different regions with different tastes and ideas – and it’s easy to see how the cuisine expanded. 

Likewise, the country’s varied terrain - travel for three hours anywhere within Turkey and you’ll find different weather, altitude, humidity and vegetation – helps to grow a wide range of different foodstuff. It is for this reason that regional variations also abound in Turkish cuisine. The Black Sea, for instance, is noted for its fish, while the eastern regions are known for their spicy food.

Interesting fact: Turkey is one of only seven countries in the world that produces enough food for its population and still has some left for export! 

Turkish food is simple in presentation, its natural flavor not camouflaged by sauces; contrary to a common misconception in the West, spices and herbs are used sparingly. The foundations of the cuisine are grains – rice and wheat – and vegetables. While there are certainly a great many dishes in Turkish cuisine, dishes typically use one or two types of main ingredients. That’s to allow the flavor of the main ingredient to come through – in Turkish cuisine, lamb should taste like lamb and eggplant should taste like eggplant, for instance.

Remember the Turkish do not eat pork – this is forbidden to Muslims.

Turkish food is taken very seriously and a typical meal in a Turkish home can resemble a feast. They may start with soup before moving onto the main course, followed by vegetables, followed by desert, finally finishing with fruit. If you are lucky enough to be invited to a Turkish family meal, expect to feel very full afterwards! Turkish hospitality is such that they often won’t take no for an answer; if expected to eat all five courses, the easiest option to avoid offence is to accept.

It is customary for a Turkish household to have three sit-down meals a day, starting with breakfast. It is unheard of for anyone to raid the refrigerator or eat alone if others are in the house.

In the next sections we look briefly at some of the more popular dishes or types of Turkish food. 


Next >>
Main Courses


1. Turkish Cuisine
2. Main Courses
3. Desserts and Drinks


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