cuisine, which is rich and varied, is considered
to be among the best cuisines in the world. It
is a nice mixture of an essentially pastoral people’s
culinary traditions and acquisitions made by the
contacts with other civilizations and the Mediterranean
world. The diversity of the Anatolian
landscapes and climates
have influenced the cuisine which has developed
regional styles, while retaining its traditional
structure. Istanbul, which is the heart of the
Turkish cuisine, is also associated with a “palace
cuisine”. Inside the huge imperial kitchens of
Topkapi Palace, hundreds
of sultan's chefs developed and perfected dishes
and pastries with evocating names such as "lady's
thigh," "beauty's lips", "lady's
navel" or "vizier‘s finger".
Afiyet olsun...! Enjoy your meal...!
Turkish restaurants can be divided into
many categories: meat specialities (kebabci,
et yemekleri lokantasi), fish specialities
(balik lokantasi), taverns (meyhane),
Turk-Ottoman specialities (Türk/Osmanli),
“manti” specialities (mantici), “börek”
specialities ( börekci), Turkish
pastries specialities (tatlici),
pudding specialities (muhallebici).
And also the “büfe” for varied sandwiches
and drinks. The "simit",
which is a sesame seed ring bread sold by
street hawkers, is consumed as a snack by
Hors d’oeuvre (meze)
served in small dishes are mostly eaten at dinner:
sheperd salad (çoban salatasi), white cheese
(beyaz peynir), vegetables cooked in olive
oil and eaten cold (zeytin yagli), fried
eggplants (patlican kizartma), eggplant
salad (patlican salatasi), cold eggplant
stuffed with onion, tomatoe and parsley (imam
bayildi), cold vegetables stuffed with rice,
pine kernel, raisins and spices cooked
in olive oil <(dolma),
white or red beans beans salad (piyaz,
pilaki, barbunya), chopped cucumber
with yoghurt and garlic sauce (cacik),
bean paste (fava), fried mussels (midye
tava), stuffed mussels, smoked bonito (lakerda),
dried anchovies (çiroz), smoked and spicy
beef meet (pastirma), spiced liver (arnavut
Variety of mezes
Variety of Turkish cheese
Sigara böregi (börek)
Hot dishes prepared with eggplant: with minced
meat (musaka), smashed (hünkarbegendi), whole fried and stuffed with
minced meat (karniyarik).
Hot stuffed vegetables (sicak dolma)
with rice and meat: grape leaves (yaprak
dolmasi), cabbage (lahana dolmasi), green
Manti is a kind of pasta filled with
minced lamb meat and served with yoghurt and
Lahmacun is a thin round dough base
covered with a spicy mixture of minced lamb
meat, onions and tomatoes.
Gözleme is a thin dough (yufka)
filled with cheese and parsley baked on an iron
Pide is a thin bread dough covered and
baked with any combination of meat, cheese,
Börek is a puff paste filled with meat,
cheese or vegetables, then fried or baked.
(Pilav) is a staple of Turkish food.
The most common versions are the crushed
wheat pilaf (Bulgurpilavi)
cooked with onions, tomatoes and green peppers
sautéed in butter, and rice pilaf (pirinç
pilavi) cooked in butter. They both accompany
vegetable and meet dishes.
(makarna) is widely eaten in Turkey and
is usually served with cheese, with tomatoe
sauce, with minced mint or simply with yoghurt.
Kebab with yoghurt
is roast and grilled tripe.
Meat and kebab: on a revolving spit
(döner), meat balls (köfte), cubes
on skewers (sis).
There are also regional specialities which are
A speciality of rice (pilav) or crushed
wheat (bulgurpilavi) is served
with these kebabs.
The most famous kebab is the BursaIskender kebabi served on pide with a
tomatoe sauce, yoghurt and melted butter.
Mixed grilled (Izgara) meat and vegetables with bulgur
Sea bass cooked in tinfoil
meat (güveç) are cooked with mixed
Fish (balik): turbot (kalkan),
small bass (lüfer), bass (levrek),
bonito (palamut), mackerel (uskumru),
sword fish (kiliç), sturgeon (mersin),
red mullet (barbunya), grouper (orfoz),
sardine (sardalya), gilt head (çipura),
mullet (kefal), anchovy (hamsi),
the symbol fish of the Black Sea, which is used
in the making of numerous dishes including borek,
pilaf, dessert and even jam! Also prawns and gambas
squid (ahtapot), calmar (kalamar)...
(tatli): “baklava” (thin layers
of puff paste filled with walnut, pistachio
or almond paste, and soaked with syrup);
“kadayif” ( vermicelli pastry in
syrup eaten with thick cream called “kaymak”);
“revani” (looks like a baba); “helva”
(crushed sesame seeds in a base of syrup);
“irmikhelvasi” (with semolina);
“asure” (Noah’s pudding, made from
wheat and numerous dried fruit); “kayisitatlisi” (apricot in syrup stuffed
with kaymak); “komposto and hosaf”
(fruit in syrup); “muhallebi, keskül,
sütlaç, kazandibi, güllaç,
tavukgögüsü (with thined
chicken breast)” are all different kinds
of puddings; “dondurma”
(ice cream); “kestanesekeri”
(meyve): cherries (kiraz),
apricots (kayisi), plums (erik),
peaches ( seftali), apples (elma),
melons (kavun), water-melons (karpuz),
oranges (portakal), mandarines (mandalina),
bananas (muz), grapefruits (greyfruit),
grapes (üzüm), figs (incir),
medlars (maltaerik). And
also quantities of dried fruit and seeds.
Delights (lokum) have been
a part of Turkish culture since the 15th
century. However, by the end of the 18th
century when refined sugar became available,
the sweet confectioner Haci Bekir was the
first to use sugar and cornstarch instead
of a syrup of honey, grape molasses and
flour, thus obtaining a new taste and texture.
This smoother and more translucent "rahat
lokum" (literally morsel of contentment)
or simply "lokum" became so famous
that the Sultan Abdülhamit I appointed Haci
Bekir chief confectioner to the Ottoman
Lokums are usually filled with pistachios
or are safron, rosewater, lemon, orange,
mint-flavored. Those of a smaller size are
usually the best.
Traditional Turkish tea glasses
Raki is served in a cylindrical glass
(Tea) is drunk anytime of the day in small
is a ritual rather than a drink. This finely ground
coffee can be prepared without sugar (sade), with
little sugar (az sekerli), medium sweetened (orta),
or with much sugar (sekerli). Turkish coffee is
drunk in small sips anytime but especially after
meals (never at breakfast), and is served with
a glass of water.
Brass Turkish coffee mill
"cezve" Turkish copper coffee pot
Turkish coffee cup
is a refreshing drink of yoghurt, water and salt
“Salep” is boiled milked flavored with
orchis plant and cinnamon.
“Boza” is a fermented and sweetened drink
made from wheat or corn. Can only be found in
“Raki” or “lion’smilk” (arslansütü), is an aniseed-flavored spirit drink
which turns white when mixed with water. It must
always be served chilled but ice has to be added
after water. It can also be taken straight, in
this case a sip of raki is followed by a sip of
the best accompaniment to cold “meze” and
hot dishes, but
it can also be taken as an aperitif.
"Sarap"(Wine): there is
a great variety of Turkish quality wines (red,
"Bira"(Beer): there is
a very good local production.
Sport is an essential element in Turkey:
Football has a tremendous popularity troughout
the country. Among the best teams , Galatasaray
is the best-known with its succeses won in Europe,
and Trabzonsport that have the best ranking
in the Turkish championship.
At World Cup 2002 Turkey finished 3rd playing
versus Korea Republic.
Wrestling is an historic sport in Turkey.
Modern wrestling is the speciality of TurkishworldchampionHamzaYerlikaya.
Turkish oil wrestling (yagligüres)
: wrestlers spread oil all over their body to
make wrestling holds more difficult. This sport
originates from the beginning of the Ottoman era.
It is more and more appreciated by westerners
for its mythical image and its rituals. Every
year a competition takes place in Edirne
where a new “pehlivan” (very strong man)
is appointed in front of the President of the
Weight lifting has considerably developed forming
great champions such as NaimSüleymanoglu
(appointed one of the five best sportsmen of all
times with three successive olympic victories)or
"Cirit": the Turks arrived from
Central Asia with their horses, introduced in
Anatolia the equestrian sport known as "cirit"
or jereed. Cirit is a means of improving equestrian
skills, and involves two teams of horsemen, each
armed with a dried date, oak or poplar stick.
This process of chasing and fleeing, while trying
to hit an opponent with a stick, is the essence
of the game, which requires skill and sportsmanship.
Cirit was particularly widespread in the Ottoman
Empire from the 16th century onwards, becoming
the foremost martial sport. In peace time it was
played to improve the cavalry's attack and defence
skills, and during campaigns to whip up their
enthusiasm for battle.
Today cirit is not as widespread as before, but
apart from Konya,
it is still played in Eastern and South-Eastern
Anatolia (Erzurum, Diyarbakir, Siirt...).
Ayhan, the European champion runner in
the women’s 1500 m Munich 2002, won a silver medal
in the World Athletism Championship 2003 in Paris.
She is also the Brussels 2003 Golden League winner
in 1,500 m, in a world leading time of 3:55.33.