Start your day the Turkish way

The Turkish breakfast is an important daily ritual. A wide variety of local ingredients are incorporated into the meal; the table brims with olives, cheese, honey, eggs, dough-based dishes and a variety of jams

Published: Fri 11 Feb 2022, 12:00 AM

Breakfast, which is prepared in different ways according to the traditions of each country, holds an important role in Türkiye. With a rich geographical structure, Türkiye has a breakfast ritual unique to every region. What stays the same in Turkish breakfast culture regardless of the regions is olives, cheese, honey, eggs, jams, and pastries that decorate the tables.

Sunny side up and tea
Sunny side up and tea

Breakfast cuisine was born in the 20th century. Breakfast originally consisted of stomach-relieving soups, bread, cheese and jam, but was soon recognised as a main meal, which became enriched and enhanced by the many traditions of different regions and cultures.

Türkiye is the centre of attention of the world with its cultural heritage and rich geography as well as its cuisine. Turkish breakfast cuisine, which intertwines the cuisines of Ottoman, Central Asian, Eastern European, and Middle Eastern, is one of the most important Turkish cuisine. Countless olives and cheese types, different egg dishes, varieties of jams, dough-based dishes and delicatessen are what enrichen Turkish cuisine. The traditional Turkish breakfast, which includes all food groups, also brings along a healthy life. As a tradition, the Turkish people’s search for filling and taste in breakfast for years reveals why the Turkish breakfast cuisine is so beautiful and famous.

Countless olives and cheese types, different egg dishes,varieties of jams, dough-based dishes anddelicatessen are what enrichen the cuisine
Countless olives and cheese types, different egg dishes,varieties of jams, dough-based dishes anddelicatessen are what enrichen the cuisine

Cheese is the centerpiece. In particular, beyaz peynir (white cheese), whether from rural areas, cottage cheese, or braided. There is also curd cheese which goes beautifully with honey or jam. You can find braided cheese in almost every part of Türkiye. Izmir is famous for its tulum cheese. Ezine and Edirne have delicious beyaz peynir (white cheese).

Kars has great kaşar cheese, and gruyere cheese. Visit Van for herby cheese and Konya for blue cheese. The cheese of Anatolia consists of Manyas lor cheese, Aegean Mihaliç cheese, the Kolot cheese of the Blacksea, Civil cheese of Erzurum, Goat cheese of Muş and the Abaza cheese of Bolu and Adapazarı.

Turkish breakfast is a par above the rest, bounteous vegetables and fruit are always utilised, depending on the season. These cheese varieties go hand in hand with the vegetables in season, especially tomatoes and cucumber. When it comes to fruit, oranges, tangerines and apples are best enjoyed in the winter. In the summer, you can feast on melon, watermelon and grapes.

Simit, cheese and tomatoes accompanied by tea, classic indispensable drink of the Turkish cuisine
Simit, cheese and tomatoes accompanied by tea, classic indispensable drink of the Turkish cuisine

There are olives for each region in Türkiye and they are an important component of the colourful breakfast spread. Differing by the region, olives are mostly farmed in the Aegean Region due to the fertile conditions of the land. Ayvalık, Edremit and Burhaniye offer up local çizik olives and fatty sele olives that liven the Turkish breakfast table spread.

It isn’t a Turkish breakfast without eggs, and boiled eggs are the simplest variant. Eggs are mixed with tomatoes and pepper in a tasty dish called Menemen; some regions add onions to their menemen. You can also eat fried eggs with a side of sucuk or pastırma. Poached eggs are also on the menu, as well as eggy bread. All you need is a nice cup of Turkish tea to complete your incredible morning feast.

Turkish breakfast is complemented by many distinct dough dishes. Varieties of bread, and tasty pastries that contain cheese and potatoes. Pişi, a deep-fried dough, is a traditional must-try treat. Poğaça, açma and gözleme are some more doughy delights. A breakfast staple, simit, is deeply embedded in Turkish culture. This delicious sesame-seed coated bagel is best enjoyed with cheese and jam.

Breakfasts sweets at breakfast are a must in Turkish culture. In the Mediterranean region, tahini, jams, and Anatolian grape molasses stand out. Tahini, which is the product of sesame undergoing many different techniques is used in many different meals, not just at breakfast. Tahini prevents hunger and is rich in vitamins. Grape, fig, mulberry, dates, and carob molasses prepared by herbal mixtures especially homemade jams, where you will enjoy the taste of the fruit, sweeten the Turkish breakfast tables. Jams, tahini, and molasses are enhanced by the fluffy cream of the Afyon region. The beautiful combination of cream and honey will make you melt.

Breakfast spreads of different regions

Aegean Breakfast

Breakfasts of the Aegean region are abundant in lush greens. Herbs and olives of the region paired with fresh beyaz peynir (white cheese) and the doughy treat boyoz, makes for an incredible meal.

Mediterranean Breakfast

You can start with a delicious breakfast rich in vitamin C at the city center of Antalya. Antalya is an important agricultural center. Citrus plants such as the Finike orange, which has geographical indication protection, and other high-quality vegetables are grown here. Excellent choices to adorn your breakfast table are local tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, fresh orange juice, and the numerous kinds of fresh herbs.

Central Anatolian Breakfast

In the Central Anatolian region, breakfasts are on a whole other level. Giblets can be found on the breakfast spread. Dough dishes are accompanied by kelle (sheep’s head), paça (calve’s foot) along with sucuk (sausage), pastırma (dried meat) and çemen.

Eastern and South EASTERN Anatolian Breakfast

The Eastern and Southeastern Anatolian region is also rich in giblets, with liver for breakfast. Beyran soup, semsek, kavut, murtuğa, kuru cacık, zahter, Antep katmer, cheesy bread are amongst the other distinct dishes you can taste.

Van breakfast

Van breakfast is one of the best-known example of a traditional Turkish breakfast. The fact that Van is on the Silk Road is the most important reason for a developed breakfast culture. Van breakfast table has a wide variety. In general, Van honey, cream of yogurt, milk cream, churned butter, cacik, otlu peynir (herbed cheese), knitted cheese, beyaz peynir (white cheese), eggs with roasted meat or sausages, olives, murtuga, kavut, lavash and çörek cooked in special ovens are the main foods found in a Van breakfast.

Gaziantep breakfast

Located in UNESCO’s ‘Creative Cities Network’ in the field of gastronomy, Gaziantep is one of the most delicious cities of Turkish cuisine. Gaziantep has a magnificent cuisine with its kebabs, pastries, desserts, soups and many more. One of the most important of these flavours is of course the Gaziantep breakfast. Traditional Turkish breakfast foods such as cheeses, olives, jams, honey and cream, seasonal greens, vegetables, pastries, fried, eggs and dairy products have an important place in Gaziantep breakfast. However, the most frequently consumed things for breakfast in Gaziantep are beyran soup, cartlak kebap, liver and katmer. If you like to start the day with a high energy, Gaziantep breakfast is for you.

Black Sea Breakfast

A breakfast in the Black Sea region is always a feast. Corn bread, kuymak-muhlama, kaygana, roasted pickles are some must-try dishes. Every breakfast spread in Türkiye is graced with tea, and the traditional tulip shaped cups. Tea, although late to become an integral part of Turkish life, has a history of 5,000 years and has become an indispensable part of Turkish culture. Turkish brewing techniques and presentation have a significant share in this success. Tea is consumed at all hours of the day and is a must at breakfast time. All you need is a nice cup of Turkish tea to complete your incredible morning feast. Make sure to drink tea, brewed from tea leaves gathered from the Black Sea region. You won’t believe the beauty of a cup of tea served in a tea-urn rather than a classic teapot.

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