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Turkish cuisine: specialities of different regions

Turkish food culture and cuisine are rich, diverse, and steeped in history.

Each region of Türkiye offers its own unique flavours and culinary traditions, making Turkish cuisine a vibrant and flavorful experience. From the rich olive oils of the Aegean to the spicy kebabs of the Southeast, the country’s diverse landscape is mirrored in its food. Exploring Turkish cuisine is not just a journey through flavours but also a journey through the history and culture of a remarkable country.

Here are some specialities from different regions of Türkiye:

Istanbul and Marmara Region

Köfte: Meatballs made from ground beef or lamb mixed with spices and herbs.

Lüfer: Bluefish, often grilled or baked, is a staple of Istanbul’s seafood offerings.

Simit: A circular bread encrusted with sesame seeds, often enjoyed with tea.

Aegean Region

Zeytinyağlılar: Vegetables cooked in olive oil, reflecting the abundant use of olive oil in this region’s cuisine.

Izmir Kofte: Meatballs with a blend of spices, typically cooked with potatoes and tomatoes.

Çöp Şiş: Small skewers of marinated lamb, grilled to perfection.

Mediterranean Region

Kebabs: Particularly Adana kebab, known for its spicy minced meat.

Piyaz: A refreshing salad made with beans, onions, parsley, and a tangy dressing.

Baklava: Rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey.

Central Anatolia

Mantı: Tiny dumplings filled with minced meat, served with yogurt and garlic sauce.

Etli Ekmek: A thin, pizza-like bread topped with ground meat, similar to lahmacun.

Tirit: A traditional dish made with lamb, bread, and a flavorful broth.

Eastern Anatolia

Künefe: A dessert made from shredded filo pastry, soaked in sweet syrup, and layered with cheese.

Cağ Kebabı: A unique type of kebab where marinated lamb is skewered and cooked horizontally.

Ayran Aşı: A cold soup made with yogurt, rice, and herbs, perfect for hot summer days.

Southeastern Anatolia

Lahmacun: Thin, crispy flatbread topped with a mixture of minced meat, vegetables, and herbs.

Künefe: Originating from this region, this cheese-filled pastry is a must-try.

Firik Pilavı: A pilaf made from green wheat (freekeh), often cooked with lamb or chicken.

Black Sea Region

Hamsi: Anchovies, a staple in this region, prepared in numerous ways including fried and baked.

Mıhlama: A hearty dish made from cornmeal, cheese, and butter.

Kara Lahana: Black cabbage stew, reflecting the region’s love for hearty and comforting dishes.

Exploring these regional specialties not only delights the palate but also offers a deeper understanding of Türkiye’s storied past and vibrant present.

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Lyn Ward

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