Regional Cuisines of Turkey

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Turkish Cuisine

Turkey, a country home to various empires and cultures, not only has historical places for us to visit but unique, mouth-watering cuisine as well. This amazing country had ethnic groups who left their marks by creating innovative dishes. People assume that Turkey has kebab as a staple food but this is misleading which you shall realize by the end of this article!

Turkey is divided into seven regions. Each region, just like the diversity of climate, weather, history, and traditions, also differs in cuisine. In Turkish cuisine, there is a new dish for dinner every day. Food for ceremonies, festivals, and other celebrations vary in cooking and tastes stunning. If you are a true foodie, then Turkey is surely the place to be at!

Aegean Region Turkish Cuisine

This area has the influence of Greece cuisine in its dishes. There are many similarities between the two. The reason is Greece and Turkish people lived together. They have equally adapted to each other’s traditions and food inspirations. This region is known for its warm weather which is favorable for vegetables and fruit growth. 

The Aegean land produces herbs and olives that have been growing for ages. Some locals say that these are brought to our town from far away lands and few proudly own these rich-in-taste olives!

Turkey exports top-quality virgin olive oil worldwide. Virgin olive oil is Turkey’s most respected food ingredient in the culinary industry. There is a wide variety of these olives available in the Aegean region. Turks love to use olive oil as cooking oil for most dishes. Their breakfast is usually incomplete without these delicious home-grown olives.

The top dishes are:

Yaprak Sarmasi 

Made with vine leaves and served with rice and meat.

Enginar Dolmasi

This is Artichoke, a fresh veggie cooked in olive oil and stuffed with different fillings.

Black Sea Region Turkish Cuisine

This region is a favorite among seafood lovers. How amazing is it when you know you can choose fresh seafood of your liking and have it cooked to perfection right in front of you? You can go fishing along the coastline and get fresh fish. Alternatively, you can buy from local hawkers and bargain for the price. Locals here enjoy doing preparing seafood BBQ by arranging get-togethers at their homes.

Locally known as Hamsi, a small tiny

blackfish is a favorite among Turks. They generally serve it with a choice of sides that can be rice, Bazlama bread, or dessert. It is always a pleasant surprise to see what one gets. There is approximately 60% fish consumption in this area which the one and only small black Hamsi fish account for.

The top dishes are:

Hamsi Pilavi

Fried Hamsi fish with fully spiced rice stuffed in.

Karadeniz Pidesi

A delicious pide food item but with a twist of flavors.

Central Anatolia Region Turkish Cuisine

The Anatolia region offers mutton as their specialty in cuisine. This region has areas of Cappadocia, Kayseri, Konya, and Beypazari, the main business hub. Many traders visited this area and introduced food items that are popular even today. 

The temperature is suitable for wheat production. This is why Central Anatolia is the center of the crop market. The temperature is unbearable in summers and becomes snowy in winter. During this time, hot meat is served best with a spicy coating. There is a dish called ‘’Manti’’. It is like a dumpling filled with minced meat and coated with melted butter and spicy chilies.

In Konya, pulses, dry fruits are huge in demand due to which many food items are produced using roasted meat and nuts. Nuts are generally sprinkled as the topping on desserts. Every home has jars filled with crushed nuts to sprinkle anytime which adds to the convenience!

The top dishes are:

Pastirma

A mouthwatering spiced beef dish.

Keskek

A traditional wedding feast cooked with meat and wheat.

Eastern Anatolia Region Turkish Cuisine

The East region of Anatolia is challenging. It has a volcanic landscape due to which the highest mountain range lies in this area. Most cuisine is based on crops such as wheat. The winters are harsh and long-lasting. For survival, people, have to store food. Even for meat, old storage techniques of salting are used. 

Locals here use Kars Goose to fulfill their meat requirements. It is first salted in a specific way and then hung for getting dry. Roasted goose is available for consumption in selective restaurants. It is advised to book in advance so that your taste buds don’t miss out on this famous delicacy.

The top dishes are:

Cag Kebab

Meat BBQ cooked on a specially designed spit

Kavut

Made with flour and wheat. It is a form of cereal

Mediterranean/South-Eastern Anatolia

This region has a taste similar to Arabian cuisine because of its roots in Syria. The sunny weather and warm water of the Mediterranean sea make this area the best choice for crop production. Just like the warm welcoming people here, the food is delicious beyond words. 

Rich soil produces the best spices for Turkish cuisine. These include paprika, cumin seeds, chilies, red chili flakes, and many other spices. Can you guess the most popular dish here? It is none other than Kofte. How is it prepared? Minced meatballs are mixed them hot spices, mint, and other herbs that contribute to the unique taste. After shaping the meatballs, they are ready to go for BBQ or fry in olive oil. The choice is yours!

Do you know what baklava also belongs to this region? It is the famous baklava Turkish delight that is served with plenty of nuts.

The top dishes are:

Kunefe

Sweet dessert

Adana Kebab

Prepared with minced meat and extra hot chili flavors.

Testi Kebab

Juicy kebabs and vegetables are slowly cooked in a clay pot over heat.