Food and Beverages in Turkey
Delicious Turkish Food

Turkey has a rich variety of cuisine that makes it worthwhile just to take a culinary tour of the country. You cannot identify one dominant Turkish food like the Italian pasta or the French sauce, but the Turks have perfected their cuisine to a fine craft that reflects their refinement of culture.

Turkey has a long repertoire of ancient recipes that were perfected by the chefs eager to please the Sultans.
Turkish food is simple in presentation, its natural flavor not camouflaged by sauces ,  ever since the Ottomans passed laws to regulate freshness of food, leftovers are seldom found in Turkish homes.

It is said that travelers in Turkey, “come for the history but stay for the food”.
Make sure you carry home a Turkish food item like a Turkish Delight as a souvenir from Turkey.

Food and Beverages in Turkey

Would someone come to Turkey just to eat out? Yes!
Turkish food is famous throughout the world, and is considered one of the 3 pre-eminent cuisines alongside French and Chinese. The painstaking preparation of simple but fresh ingredients brings out the richness of their flavours in a way that never fails to delight. The range is enormous, from an array of soups to an astonishing variety of meze (traditional Turkish appetizers), followed by meat and fish dishes. Delicious turkish food

Turkish olives

All Turkish food is prepared from fresh ingredients, often grown organically or raised free range. All this is seasoned with herbs and spices often found locally – oregano, marjoram, and thyme grow wild in profusion on the hills along the Mediterranean coast. The country produces a wide variety of fruits, nuts, and vegetables, and being surrounded by sea on three sides, the range of fish to be found is considerable.

Alcohol

Alcoholic drinks include light Turkish beer, excellent wines, and the national drink, ‘raki’ (a potent anisette), which clouds when water is added giving it the popular name “lion’s milk.” Drinking raki is a pleasurable rite in itself, and is traditionally accompanied by a variety of ‘meze’ (small plates, dips etc). “Efes” and “Tuborg” are the most common local beers.

Wine  in Turkey

The Turkish wine industry has been making a great deal of progress in recent years. The region was famed in ancient Greek times for the quality of its grapes and wine, and there is now a great profusion of very drinkable Turkish wines on the market. Delicious turkish food

Juices and water

There is a wide selection of fruit juices ‘meyve suyu’ on offer, and through the summer and autumn you can find freshly squeezed orange juice and then pomegranate juice all over the place. Tap water in the major cities is chlorinated and so drinkable, but very good bottled mineral water from Turkey’s mountains is widely sold. Just ask for “sise suyu” (bottled water), pronounced as “she-shey sue-you”. Turks can argue for hours on the respective merits of different mineral waters, or their own local springs.

Turkish Ayran and Turkish Cofee

We highly recommend trying a cool glass of yogurt whipped with water (and sometimes salt) to make a refreshing drink called “ayran” (pronounced ‘I ran).
You’ll also be able to supp a cup of Turkish coffee. It was Turkey that first saw the growth of coffee houses, centuries before Starbucks, so try one of these miniature hits of caffeine (no grande/huge lattes here) when you can.
Be sure to let the coffee grounds settle, then drink only about half the cup, avoiding the sludge at the bottom.

Cacık Yoghurt & Cucumber

Cacık (pronounced ‘jajuk) is one of the absolutely central mezes in Turkey. It can be eaten on its own as a refreshing gazpacho style appetitzer, quite sublime on a hot summer’s day (try adding some ice cubes!). Or it can be enjoyed served alongside almost anything, from kebabs to rice, and from fried courgettes and aubergines (eggplants) to simple pilav (rice). It’s typically served very runny, but by omitting the water, you can conjure a thick yoghurty paste more akin to Greek ‘tzatziki’. Delicious turkish food

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

750 grams yoghurt (full fat natural, thick )
3 large cucumbers
1 cup of cold water
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Dill – several sprigs, finely chopped
A few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste, about 1 teaspoon
Some black pepper

Preparation:
Mix the garlic, salt, yoghurt, and water in a bowl. Finely chop the cucumbers (some people prefer peeled, others prefer keeping the crunch of the skin), and add to the mixture, give it a good stir, taste for seasoning, and chill. Then pour into bowls, trickle a little olive oil on top of each and sprinkle with dill.

As an alternative try swapping some chopped fresh mint for the dill, and adding a little finely chopped spring onions.

Mercimek Çorbasi – Lentil Soup

This soup is lovely as a winter warmer – filling and comforting. It’s a classic, well loved Turkish dish. In the Turkish countryside and in the town lokantas (the basic eateries) people often have soup for breakfast, as well as lunch and dinner! Alper, the owner of our partner agency in Turkey, Almira Travel, loves lentil soup, but only the way his mother makes it! Our version is based on his mother’s secret recipe!

Advance Preparation:

It’s best to soak the lentils and make the chicken stock the day before cooking. Ideally the lentils should be pre-soaked for 12 hours, but if that is not possible, make sure you rinse them well under cold running water.

Ingredients (serves 4):

1 large chopped onion
1 large carrot
1 mug of red split lentils
6 mugs of chicken stock (you can use water with a stock cube, but the really delicious taste is only achieved using long boiled chicken stock. A perfect stock can be made from the leftover bones and skin of a Sunday roast chicken, boiled with an onion and a carrot!) Delicious turkish food
Large knob of butter (don’t skimp and don’t use margarine!)
Salt, pepper and cumin to season

Preparation:

Peel and chop the onion and carrots finely. Fry in the butter until they start to soften, but are not browned. (The onions should look transparent). Add the lentils and stock, with some seasoning (go easy at this stage). Simmer over a gentle heat until the lentils are soft. Blend in a food blender (make sure you leave it to run for quite a while, it is important that the soup is really smooth). Season with salt, pepper and cumin to taste. For an extra flourish, add a sprinkle of paprika to the bowl.
Serve steaming hot with wedges of lemons. Squeeze liberally in to the soup to taste. Some nice crusty bread makes a perfect accompaniment!
Once made, the soup can be kept cool in the fridge for several days and consumed at your leisure with delight and satisfaction.