Turkish Cuisine is regarded as the third biggest cuisine in the world. In the process of Rome, Byzantine and Ottoman cultures, our cuisine was enriched with the variety arising from minorities and migrations.
Turkish cuisine, having a six hundred year splendid flavor inheritance, is considered as the third richest cuisine in the world. It got enriched with immigrant and minority cultures during Roman, Byzantium and Ottoman periods. The soups, dishes, desserts, sorbets, stuffed wine leaves or vegetables, various vegetable dishes with olive oil, pilaws, boreks and delicatessens are known by the whole world. The four seasons experienced in Turkey every year also contribute to this richness.
When the palatal delight which was enriched with cultural variety meets with the restaurants facing excellent view of Istanbul, the person experience the endless joy.
PUDDING SHOP (Lale Restaurant) When the palatal delight which was enriched with cultural variety meets with the restaurants facing excellent view of Istanbul, the person experience the endless joy.
FISH AND BREAD
When it is said Eminönü, one of the first things to occur to one is “fish and bread”. It has become a sin qua non symbol of Istanbul, which is prepared in boats drawn up alongside between ferry docks. Fish and bread offered by salesmen in authentic clothes in company with the people having some cheap pleasure forms the typical scene of Eminönü.
TEA AND TURKISH BAGEL
A crispy, fragrant Turkish Bagel eaten together with a cup of tea at breakfast and in the evening; a taste loved by everybody, both by the poor and the rich.
Roasted corn and chestnuts
Chestnut and corn are the most common street flavors of Turkish cuisine. The corn consumed in summer is substituted by chestnut in winter. On the corners of streets chestnut stoves take the place of corn stalls. Chestnut and corn is either roasted on fire or boiled.
ALİ’S HARRICOT BEAN
A point of taste in the Sülyemaniye region
It is possible to find these traditional flavors in great variety in all restaurants of Istanbul. Almost all restaurants offer haricot bean soup which is the most important meal among others and considered as the “National Food” of Turks. Haricot bean, pilaw, pickle and chili pepper is a fix menu. Haricot bean can be with pastrami, soujouk, meat cubes or be plain. And pilaw can be cooked with vermicelli, tomatoes and nut. Completing this couple, pickle can be substituted with yoghurt or dried fruit compote (hoşaf).
The greatest section of restaurant menus is allocated to vegetable and meat meals and kebab and flat bread sorts also exist.
The meat meal cooked on fire or in oven is usually called as kebab. It has got a number of variations and made of lamb or veal.
It is one the authentic tastes of Turkish cuisine, which is cooked by rotating the meat bulk on a long skewer against fire. Its type served with yoghurt and melt butter is called Iskender.
HISTORICAL SULTANAHMET GRILLED MEATBALL (Selim Usta)
Meat ball, white bean salad (piyaz) and Halvah (helva)
There are many types of meat ball as one of the main courses in Turkish cuisine. It is usually made of minced meat, onion, parsley, spice and crumb. It is named differently according to its shape, cooking style or the region. Piyaz, a salad composed of boiled haricot bean, onion, salt, lemon, herbage and vinegar, is the most complementary salad for meat ball. And semolina halvah with nut, a palace dessert of Ottomans, complements this delight.
VEGETABLE DISHES WITH OLIVE OIL
These dishes, although they are regarded in the category of “cold starters” in the world, are in the main course category in Turkey. Particularly as the most proper and the lightest dishes for hot summer days, these meals with olive oil make Turkey the only country using this concept. They are the most popular dishes of Turkish table, which are prepared by mixing and cooking tomatoes, onions, pepper, olive oil with almost all kinds of vegetables such as aubergine, leek, okra (gumbo), bean, zucchini and purslane.
The delicatessens, which can also be regarded as “Ala turca hors d’oervre”, are served as starters. They are light, delicious, appealing food served in small portions separately from the maim course. White cheese, melon, yoghurt, all sorts of salad, ezme (tomato dip with pepper and onions), fish types, stuffed vegetables with olive oil, small meat balls, muska böreği (triangle shaped pastry filled with cheese), brain and fruit are the major delicatessens of the drinking bout, named as “Çilingir Sofrası (çeşnigir sofrası)”in Turkish.
Istanbul’s indispensable delight: Fish
Fishing is done in Marmara and Black Seas in Istanbul as a sea city. Fish migration, starting from the ocean in every March with the purpose of reproduction, passes through Marmara and the Straits and stops at the Black Sea. At the end of each summer they begin to return. Istanbul waters host many types of fish such as blue fish, bonito, mackerel, Spanish mackerel, mullet, red mullet, grey mullet and horse mackerel. This fish variety here is another reason why they called Haliç as “Golden Horn”.
WHAT FISH IS PREFERRED IN WHICH MONTH?
January: Mackerel, Blue fish, Bonito, Horse mackerel keep their own tastes. Grey mullet and Anchovy are full fat. Small blue fish and Whiting are available.
February: Turbot season lasts until the end of May. Red mullet is abundant. Mackerel, Blue fish, Bonito lose fat.
March: It is the most delicious time of Grey mullet, Sea bass and Turbot. Since Blue fish and Bonito lost their fat, they are suitable for frying or pilaki (a kind of stew with onion oil and vegetable or fish) large blue fish can be grilled.
April: Turbot is abundant. Red sea bream, Sea bass, swordfish and gurnard begin to boom.
May: Sea bass, gold fish, sole fish and Red mullet are favorable for eating.
June: An inefficient month. Red mullet, gold fish, red sea bream, Sea bass and meager are found but expensive.
July: Sardine keeps its zest until the middle of October. Horse mackerel and Mackerel is favorable for boiling and frying.
August: It is starting season for baby bonito. It is the most delicious time of Sardine.
September: Sardine and swordfish are delicious. Bonito becomes fat and suitable for all sorts of cooking.
October: Mackerel is early in the season. Blue fish has its delight fully. Horse mackerel is fat now. Bonito is abundant.
November: The best time for Mackerel. Big bonito flow has begun.
December: Mackerel, Blue fish, Bonito and big bonito are fat and therefore suitable for all cooking styles. Anchovy is delicious. Red mullet is abundant.
HORS D’OERVRES WITH FISH
It is the big bonito pickled in brine. The best lakerda is made with the most lipoid and hardest bonito. Since it is hard to find big bonito in our seas bonito is used instead.
Borek is a major category with its various types in the pastry. It gets different names according to its filling ingredients and cooking style. The dough is used directly or as phyllo while preparing borek. It can be eaten at all meal times in Turkey. It can be named according to the regions. And flat bread with different fillings can be regarded in the pastry. It is an significant type of fast food cooked in ovens using meat, minced meat, kaşar cheese, soujuk and egg as filling ingredients.
As the starters of Turkish cuisine, the soups include hundreds of types in different regions. But tripe soup is the last zest of drinking bouts especially. Tripe soup offal restaurants are open almost till the morning. It is for palate of each person by its different types enriched with lamb’s feet, chickpea and etc.
Yoghurt is considered as the most important contribution of Turkish cuisine to other cuisines in the world. İt is prepared by adding yeast to boiled milk after it has become warmer and yoghurt can be consumed as plain, and with fruit and sugar as well. Besides, it is used as a garniture for main course and in preparing some dishes or soups.
It is a type of salad made by keeping vegetables such as tomato, pepper, carrot, aubergine, cucumber, garlic, cabbage, beet and bean in acidic environment with salt, lemon and vinegar. It shows variety in terms of regions. It is an excellent complementary of haricot bean and pilaw which are preferred in winter mostly.
Since Turkey has different climates, each season has fruit peculiar to itself. It can be eaten fresh or dried.
Hacıbekir is the primary brand that comes to mind first when talking about akide şekeri (sugar candy) and lokum (Turkish delight).
The shop in Bahçekapı has been used as candy shop by Hacı Bekir familily for five generations since 1777.
Lokum (Turkish delight)
Lokum is a Turkish candy made of water, sugar and starch. Lokum was derived from the word “rahat ul-hulküm” in Ottoman Turkish, meaning throat relaxing and this delight has been known in Anatolia since 15th century.
Akide şekeri (Sugar Candy)
Akide şekeri has been identified with the word “akide” meaning commitment. During the Ottoman time, it was given by the Sultan to Janissaries who expressed their commitment to the state, but it became a classic sort of candy in time. Different flavors of it are obtained by adding orange, lemon, and cinnamon to sugar cones while they are cooling after they have been grinded and melted.
Baklava is a significant pastry dessert included in Turkish cuisine primarily, as well as in Middle Eastern, Balkan and South Asian cuisines. Although its origin is debatable, baklava has its latest form in Ottoman cuisine. Baklava is made of thin pastry phyllos and of grinded walnut, pistachio, nut, Turkish cream put between these according to the region. It is usually sweetened with sugar sorbet.
As one of the indispensable tastes of Anatolia, halvah has been part of a culture beyond being a palatal delight throughout the history. It has become an indispensable object of social life through being served in several occasions such as birth, death, engagement, wedding, funeral and religious nights.
Desserts with Milk
Our desserts made of sugar and milk, such as “Keşkül, muhallebi, sütlaç, tavukgögsü, kazandibi”, are preferred particularly due to their lightness. They are enriched with walnut, hazelnut, peanut, and cinnamon.
Aşure (Noah’s pudding)
A type of dessert made by boiling wheat, dried nuts and fruit with sugar and is an Islamic tradition as well. It is distributed on certain days.
As a strong drink, Turkish coffee can be drunk with no sugar, little sugar, medium sugar or much sugar. The distinctive feature of it is that it is simmered, served in small porcelain cups with scum on top. It used to be prepared in copper coffee pots on embers but today automatic machines are used for coffee making.
Kuru Kahveci Mehmed Efendi Coffee Shop has
been serving in Tahmis Street since its establishment.
It is the most consumed drink in daily life. To have a better taste, it is necessary to steep well. It is real pleasure to drink tea in the cafes by the sea in Istanbul and it is the most popular drink in ferries. It is served best in thin belly glasses, and in some places it is served in a samovar not in a tea pot. Different kinds of herbal tea are also very popular today. Linden, fennel, and sage tea are the most preferred ones.
Prepared by mixing yoghurt and water, airan has got a sort in Anatolia which is prepared in a “yayık” tool and pleasing to the eye due to the bubbles on top.
When drinks were being prepared at home about 50 or 60 years ago, lemon, various types of fruit and then aromatic plants were added into these drinks. Sherbet which is preferred especially during summer used to be filled in special glass containers and ice would then be added in it. Cherry syrup, rose syrup, lemon syrup, tamarind syrup, violet syrup and almond syrup (sübye) are still being served in patisseries and cafes today.
Having 9000-year past, boza’s main ingredient is semolina. The semolina is obtained by grinding millet and then it is boiled with water until it becomes very thick dough. After this thick dough has become cool, it is filtered out. This raw boza can be sweetened with sugar and fermented with special yeast. It includes no fat but vitamins A, B and D, therefore it is preferable in terms of health. It is served with cinnamon and roasted chickpeas on top.
It is a popular hot drink in winter, which is made of pulverized orchid roots.
A thick hot drink is obtained by boiling milk, sahlep and sugar together. It is served with cinnamon on top.
Şıra (Slightly fermented grape juice)
A sour drink which is made by waiting grape juice. During this process, it is clarified and filtered out adding marl. Clear part is used as a drink.