Meze are Turkish appetizers. While extremely varied, the most popular Turkish meze ingredients include eggplant, tomato, cheese, seafood, green peppers, black olives and chickpeas. Meze is usually served to accompany alcoholic drinks.
Soups are very popular in Turkish cuisine. They are served all year round, cold or hot. The most typical ones are made with lentils, yoghourt or wheat.
Turkey’s most famous dish, the doner kebap are prepared from chunks of lamb, chicken, or beef cooked in a vertical rotisserie, thinly sliced and served with onion, tomato and other vegetables, wrapped in a flatbread such as pita or khubuz, typical of Arab cuisine, and topped with a sour or spicy dressing.
These crispy pastries are made of a thin “yufka” dough typically filled with white cheese, ground beef or vegetables They are usually served with ayran, or Turkish tea.
Dolma are grape leaf wraps typically stuffed with rice, onion, meat, pinenuts and spices. This is a very popular dish in all countries of the former Ottoman Empire. They are usually served warm, with a yoghourt sauce, although meatless dolma are normally served cold with lemon.
An anise-flavored spirit made from grapes. It has an alcohol content of 45%, is transparent in pure form but acquires a milky aspect when mixed with water before drinking. This typical drink is essential at dinner parties, get-togethers and traditional weddings.
Turkish coffee is a traditional drink in the Middle East and the Balkans. It is a highly concentrated and unfiltered brew. Very often, especially if you’re having coffee with Turks, the coffee grounds are used for fortune telling. It is usually served alongside a large glass of water, sometimes, accompanied with some lokum or Turkish delights.
This creamy beverage made of yoghourt and water is usually served with salt, even ground garlic and mint. The yoghourt used is normally made of goat’s milk. Some people like to add a few drops of lemon juice for an extra-sour punch. This drink is served cold and consumed during meals.
A sweet pastry consisting of chopped nuts (especially walnuts) and layers of phyllo dough (thin unleavened dough, similar to puff pastry) and held together with honey or syrup. They are usually sprinkled with some kind of topping, such as pistachio or chocolate crumbs.
Lokum (Turkish delights)
A family of confections based on a gel of starch and sugar flavored with rosewater or lemon. Similar to gummy candy, lokum sweets have a jelly-like texture, and are usually shaped into in small cubes dusted with icing sugar. There are many varieties of lokum: With walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts or pistachios, as well as lokum made of natural fruit juices.