Turkish cuisine is considered to be among the best in the world.
So many civilizations, so many styles and the abundant food
supply contribute to today's cuisine.
"Afiyet olsun!" is an expression used to wish that a meal is
enjoyed. Unlike many other languages it is used both before and
after the meal.
When anybody wants to express appreciation about food prepared
by somebody else, he says "Elinize saglik!" which means "May God
give health to your hands". When proposing a toast, the
expression "Serefe!" is used which literally means "To honor!".
This kind of restaurant is typically Turkish and offers
home-cooking style food. From a selection of meals, it is
possible to go to the window and choose whatever you like. Guvec
is any kind of meat prepared in a casserole. Bulgur pilavi is
cooked crushed wheat. Dolma is stuffed vegetables, usually grape
leaves, peppers, eggplants, cabbage leaves or mussels filled
with rice, minced meat and raisins. Meatballs, vegetables or
liver are among traditional Turkish food.
This is the place where kebaps are sold. Kebap is a roast,
broiled or grilled meat prepared in many different ways each of
them called by adding a word to kebap; doner kebap, sis kebap,
patlican kebap, etc. Doner kebap is lamb meat roasted on a
revolving spit. Sis kebap is cubes of meat on skewers. Kofte is
grilled or fried meatballs.
Farinaceous Food Restaurants:
These differ from Italian pizza to Turkish farinaceous foods
such as borekci, pideci, lahmacuncu, mantici, etc.
Borek is a flaky pastry filled with cheese, eggs, vegetables, or
minced meat, then fried or baked. Gozleme is a thin dough filled
with cheese and parsley and baked on thin iron plate placed in
wood or charcoal fire. Pide is a thick dough base filled or
covered with any combination of meat, cheese, eggs, etc. It is
quite similar to pizza but served with butter and grated cheese.
Lahmacun is a thin round dough base covered with a spicy mixture
of minced lamb meat, onions, tomatoes and parsley. Manti is a
kind of pasta filled with minced lamb meat and served with
yogurt and garlic.
In the times before there was fast food, people went to these
restaurants to eat tripe or chicken soup either for breakfast or
after heavy nights of drinking. These places also sell a special
food: Kokorec, roast and grilled lamb intestines, also sold in
push carts by peddlers in the streets.
Meyhane and Fish Restaurants:
These restaurants are generally for proper dinner meals. First,
a large variety of soguk (cold) meze, (hors d'oeuvres) will be
offered on a big tray among which you can choose a few, then you
should sample a few sicak (hot) meze before the main dish. The
main dish is either fish or meat. After having desserts or
fruit, it is time to drink a cup of Turkish coffee.
Soguk meze: White cheese, olives, lakerda (salted bonito), dolma
(stuffed vegetables), cacik (chopped cucumbers with yogurt and
garlic), piyaz (beans salad), Arnavut cigeri (spiced liver),
fava (bean paste), imam bayildi (stuffed eggplant), pilaki
(white beans), patlican kizartma (fried eggplant), etc.
Sicak meze: Fried mussels or squid, various kinds of borek,
fried potatoes, etc.
This is a place where they8 sell different kinds of sweets.
There are many of them like baklavaci, muhallebici, dondurmaci,
Baklava is thin layers of flaky pastry stuffed with almond
paste, walnuts or pistachio nuts in syrup. Its name comes from
the shape in which it is cut; lozenge-shapes. Kaymak is thick
clotted cream eaten with most sweets as well as on its own with
honey or jam.
Asure (Noah's pudding) is made from numerous types of dried
fruits and pulses. Sutlac is rice pudding. Kadayif is shredded
wheat in syrup. Kestane sekeri is glacÈ chestnuts. They are
generally canned or kept in glass jars in syrup. It is common in
Lokum (Turkish Delight) is cubes of jelly like or gummy
confection flavored with flower or fruit essences and dusted
with powdered sugar. Pismaniye is a sweet-meat made of sugar,
flour and butter which resembles flax fibers. Tahin-Pekmez is a
mixture of both Tahin, sesame oil and Pekmez, molasses or
treacle (heavy syrup obtained from grapes). Helva is a flaky
confection of crushed sesame seeds in a base of syrup. Dondurma
is ice cream.
Turkish coffee is a ritual rather than a drink. Although coffee
is not grown in Turkey, it is called Turkish coffee because it
was introduced to the western world by Turks during the Siege of
Vienna in the 16C.
It is made by mixing an extremely finely ground coffee with
water and sugar. According to your taste, you should let the
waiter know in advance how much sugar you want in it: sade
(without sugar), az sekerli (a little sugar), orta (medium
sugar) or sekerli (with much sugar).
Turkish coffee is drunk in small sips after you've rinsed your
mouth with a little water which comes in a glass together with
the coffee. While drinking you should leave the coffee grounds
at the bottom of the cup. Turkish coffee is drunk any time
especially after meals but definitely not at breakfast. It is
believed that after a heavy meal, one should either drink a cup
of coffee or take a 40-step walk for digestion.
Cay (tea) is much more common. Especially at breakfast, but is
also drunk anytime from small glasses and stirred with tiny
Boza is a fermented and sweetened drink made from corn or wheat.
Salep is a boiled milk flavored with orchis plant.
Ayran is a refreshing tangy drink of yogurt, water and salt
Raki (lion's milk) is the national drink; a 90-proof
aniseed-flavored alcohol. To drink raki properly, one needs two
long and narrow glasses. One of the glasses changes its color
from a clear liquid to a milky-white when it is filled with half
raki and half water. The other is for just plain water. The aim
is to keep the levels of the two glasses more or less the same.
Raki is generally a drink that goes with a good meal. It is
drunk cold, mostly with ice and requires some sort of food, the
best accompaniment being some meze. The average number of
glasses for one person is between 2-4.
Wine: There is a good variety of Turkish wine. They are
comparatively reasonable in price and of good quality. Some
selections are Kavaklidere Yakut (red),Selection (red), Cankaya
(white) and Muscat (white), Doluca Moskado (white) and Villa
Doluca (both red and white).
Although water is considered safe to drink in most places in
Turkey, chlorination and the different mineral contents of the
tap water, particularly in the larger cities and tourist
resorts, can sometimes cause problems for the visitor. It is
therefore advisable to drink bottled water or mineral water as a
Local people in major or touristic cities, especially in
Istanbul, do not drink water from the tap. In fact, there are
drinking water stations similar in organization to gas stations,
where the locals go to "fill up" their water storage containers