Historically, Turkish cuisine can be seen as an heritage dating back to the Ottoman Empire, with its mix of influences from the surrounding regions, such as the Middle East and Central Asia. Naturally there are typical Turkish elements as well, not the least yogurt. An important feature of Turkish cuisine is its great variety, simplicity in recipes and use of high quality ingredients only.
As Turkey is a large country it is not surprising that you will find regional differences. In Istanbul and in the Aegean region you will find traditions dating back to the Ottoman courts. Some restaurants even specialize in restoring dishes that were served hundreds of years ago, by adhering to old recipes that were rediscovered in the past decades. Another theme which is particular for western Turkey is the extensive use of olive oil in cooking, due to its historically great number of olive trees.
Top Turkish Food
Any visitor to Turkey is probably familiar with some of the most popular Turkish dishes. The typical dinner starts with mezes, or appetizers, which are eaten sparingly to arouse the appetite. Popular mezes include fried eggplant with yogurt, hummus, fish croquettes and more.
When it comes to main courses the list of delicious dishes is endless. We will only mention a few favorites such the dolma, vegetables such as eggplants and peppers stuffed with a mixture of rice, onion and various spices.
The Yaprak Sarma are wrapped vine leaves filled with rice, onion and spices such as mint and cinnamon.
One of the most unique and interesting dishes is the Testi Kebap, where meat and vegetables are sealed in a clay pot and cooked at a high heat. This dish is particularly recommended as it is an experience in itself to have the waiter crack open the clay pot at your table and serve the delicious mix of tender meat with vegetables in its natural juices.
Common drinks in Turkey are of course the local and highly popular beer Efes, a variety of local Turkish wines or Raki, the national drink of Turkey and a strong anise-flavored spirit comparable to the Greek ouzo. The Raki is often served as an aperitif together with the mezes. There is also a popular non-alcoholic beverage called Ayran, which is a yogurt that is particularly suited to balance spicy dishes. While espresso and black coffee can be found in Turkey, no experience of Turkish cuisine is complete without sampling the Turkish coffee, prepared and served in the traditional way, especially when accompanied by a piece of Turkish delight.
Turkish Street Food
>While dining at Turkish restaurants offer a large variety of traditional dishes, the typical street food is often kebab in various forms. Other common offerings are Pide and Lahmacun with toppings of meat, peppers, onions and tomatoes, or cheese and onion. Both of these together make up the Turkish equivalent of pizza, but with different toppings and flavors. You are more than welcome to try our Turkish pizza that is baked in the Magic Oven at the main restaurant of Hillside Beach Club. At our beach resort we serve a variety of local Turkish food as well as Italian food. The key for us is to keep with the Turkish tradition of using only excellent high-quality ingredients.