See also: Middle Eastern Food
Thanks to Turkey’s location at the crossroads between the Middle East, the Mediterranean and the Balkans, and Asia, Turkish cuisine is derived from these regions’ food traditions, yielding a vast array of interesting dishes.
A common Turkish specialty for breakfast is called menemen, prepared with tomatoes, green peppers, onion, olive oil, and eggs–indicative of the kinds of fresh produce primarily featured in Turkish foods. Sucuk (spicy Turkish sausage), pastirma, borek, simit, pogacha and soups are eaten as a morning meal as well as cheese and kaymak. Bulgur pilaf, in addition to a salad or cacık (made from diluted yogurt and minced cucumbers) are well-loved home-cooked foods. Cilbir is another traditional Turkish food made with poached eggs, yogurt and oil.
Tea is served at breakfast, but the Turkish drink black tea all day long. As with their strong historic coffee culture, tea also holds a special place in the Turkish tradition. Strong bitter tea made in an upper pot is diluted by adding boiling water from the lower.
Turkish cuisine varies across the country. The cooking of Istanbul, Bursa, Izmir, and rest of the Aegean region is characterized by a lighter use of spices, a preference for rice over bulgur, and a wider use of seafood. The cuisine of the Black Sea Region features plenty of fish (the Black Sea anchovy is a favorite) and maize dishes. The cuisine of the southeast is known for its kebabs, mezes, and dough-based desserts such as baklava, kadayif, and kanafeh. Central Anatolia is famous for a few specialties like kashkak, manti and gozleme.
Ingredients frequently incorporated in Turkish specialties include lamb, fish, eggplant, garlic, lentils, onions, beans, and tomatoes. Nuts and spices have a featured place in Turkish cuisine, as well. Yogurt is also very common in Turkish foods: one of the most common Turkish drinks, ayran, is made from yogurt, and yogurt is often used in the preparation of cakes, soups and pastries. Turkey is also a producer many types of cheese, mostly made from sheep’s milk. In general, these cheeses are not matured for long and have a comparatively low fat content.
Where to Buy Turkish Food Online:
Tulumba: Tulumba stocks all your favorite Turkish products, from authentic dairy (think cheeses and butters) to vegetable and meat products. Can’t live without your morning pick-me-up? Tulumba sells Turkish tea and accessories, as well as everything from coffee beans to grinders, to make that perfect cup of Turkish caffeinated goodness.
Turkish Delight: This whole site dedicated to the famously delicious Turkish delight. With all-natural ingredients and recipes which have been passed down through generations, you can’t go wrong. Try their incredible flavors like rose lemon and raspberry, and luckily, when you fall in love, everything is available in bulk orders!
AK Market: AK Market, in conjunction with AK Café in Clifton, NJ, stocks all the popular Turkish brands like Tukas, Knorr and Dogadan. Check out their sweets section, which includes candied chestnuts and ready-made baklava.Take your time browsing, as they offer products from other countries, too.