Turkish cuisine is rather well known globally but is especially popular in Europe. Turkish cuisine features ingredients such as beans, cucumbers, eggplant, lentils, peppers (black, green and sweet), and tomatoes. The most commonly used fruits and nuts in Turkish dishes are almonds, apricots, cherries, figs, grapes, hazelnuts, lemons, melons, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts, and watermelon. Cinnamon, cumin, garlic, mint, paprika, and parsley (dried or fresh) are the common seasonings and spices used in Turkish recipes.
Here are some traditional Turkish dishes you should try when in Turkey:
The more traditional Turkish appetizers include dishes such as dolma (stuffed grape leaves), eggplant purees, melon, pepper dishes, vegetables (often cooked in olive oil), and of course, fresh baked bread.
The typical Turkish breakfast always begins with a cup (or two) of tea. A boiled egg freshly baked bread, cucumber, olives, sliced tomatoes, and white cheese is a normal breakfast in Turkey. If you are always on the go, there are numerous breakfast shops that sell borek and pocas, which are pastries that are stuffed with ingredients such as cheese, minced meat, and olives.
Once the round of appetizers is consumed it’s time for dinner and a main course will be served at your table and will normally consist of some kind of meat (usually roasted), a green salad or a vegetable dish (sometimes both), and more fresh baked bread. Despite the fact that beef, chicken, and lamb are the most common meats available in Turkish restaurants, pork is offered on menus also, but only at five-star hotels. In Istanbul and along the seacoast, a seafood dinner is the most popular main course dish.
Once dinner is finished, there is the after-dinner Turkish coffee or tea. A word of warning – Turkish coffee can best be described as a sweet, thicker caffeine drink that is served in tiny cups because it packs such a “punch” (said to be five times stronger than espresso).
The typical “fast food” lunch in Turkey is called a doner sandwich. Large chunks of chicken or lamb are rotisserie roasted vertically and then sliced off and put into freshly baked bread. Doner sandwiches are prepared quickly, are very tasty, and extremely affordable.
Snack Time in Turkey
One of the foods that Turkey is most famous for are Turkish Delights, but Simit is still the snack food of choice. Simit is most easily described as a cross between a bagel and a pretzel that is covered in baked sesame seeds. Not only is this a delicacy but it is very affordable. “Simitci” or simit sellers are found all over Turkey transporting huge trays of the snack on the tops of their heads.
Photo of stuffed vine leaves by avlxyz