Türkiye is a country that undeniably enthralls one with its beautiful sea-facing sites, beaches, historical architecture, palaces, and especially its Mediterranean cuisine.
For tourists coming here from across the globe, Türkiye’s Mevlana culture, Istanbul, often dubbed as the city of lights, Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cisterns, and Cappadocia are only some of the splendid tourist destinations.
But what a tourist should never miss is the chance to try authentic Turkish breakfast!
Turkish kahvaltı: A culture!
Speaking of the country’s cuisine, Turkish kahvaltı (breakfast) speaks volumes about its food and the rich kitchen. It is more than just about the meal; it is a social gathering, an excuse to sit together to have long talks. One thing that stands out is the long breakfast time.
Women cook fresh börek (cheese, meat, or potato-filled pastries) in the kitchen, with tea brewing in the samovar, while men help set the table.
A perfect village scene but prevalent in the cities as well. A Turkish mother makes sure her child has a bite of chees, a few olives, homemade jam, and eggs before leaving for school.
The traditional breakfast table is full of variety, with many mezes (spreads) and side dishes to go with big loaves of bread straight from the bakeries nearby. A foreigner might feel surprised to see such a food extravaganza, thinking it might be a special occasion.
But the truth is Turkish breakfast table is like a celebration, which people enjoy seven days a week, 365 days a year. The rich Ottoman culture makes the Turks’ breakfast table so different from the rest of the world.
Breakfast by the sea!
Sitting on the balcony with a sea-facing view, accompanied by friends and family, and a table full of traditional Turkish breakfast dishes is heavenly.
Mediterranean, Aegean, and Black Seas surround the country. Beaches and sea-facing restaurants, hotels, and villas are open for tourists throughout the year.
For marriage proposals, breakfasts with families, and fine wine and dining experiences, these sea-view terraces make up a perfect place for special occasions.
Long talks over breakfast are very famous in Türkiye. Breakfast can last 4 hours from 8 to 12 and can extend. Your choice! Ofen people on Sunday and make reservations at sea-facing restaurants to have brunch.
The cuisine in the regions surrounding the seas differs, but one thing that pretty much stays the same is their breakfast culture.
What makes an authentic Turkish Breakfast?
Turkish breakfast is a combination of sweet and spicy flavors, nothing similar to the breakfast delicacies in the West, where pancakes, cereals, or other sugary items make up for breakfast. Not that there is anything to complain about, as who doesn’t like some sugar, eh?
Before we speak about the delectable dishes put on a Turkish breakfast table, we must understand that there is an influence of many regions on the country’s cuisine.
The Mediterranean diet has gained popularity worldwide for its health benefits. People who ardently follow the Mediterranean diet have shown significant weight loss results.
Not only this, people from the Mediterranean region have longer life spans. As per numerous studies by health experts, the Mediterranean diet contributes considerably to people living healthily and enjoying longer lives.
Though Türkiye’s geographical area is such that there is an influence of many cuisines, the Mediterranean stands out the most.
Let’s take a look at the mouth-watering delicacies that form the Turkish breakfast:
#1 Egg variety:
Turkish households always have eggs on their tables, and we are not talking about the usual boiled or scrambled eggs. Menemen, a saucy egg dish that will make you eat your fingers; “sucuklu yumurta,” spicy sausage with eggs; Cilbir, eggs in garlic yogurt, are a few items.
“Ispanaklı yumurta” (eggs with sauteed spinach and onions) is another interesting dish, which is very healthy and tastes surprisingly delicious. Children even love it! This spinach egg dish is a must-try for mothers trying to add greens to their children’s diet.
What makes Menemn so traditional?
Menemen is one such Turkish breakfast dish that almost every household makes either regularly or 2 to 3 times a week. The preparation is quite simple. Sautee some onions and chilies together on medium flame.
Throw some peeled and chopped-up tomatoes into the pot when the onions are medium-cooked. Put the lid on and cook until the tomatoes release their juice and are soft enough.
Break two to three eggs, depending on the sauce. Mix the eggs in the sauce and cook until the eggs are half done. It takes some 3 minutes. Lastly, add salt, red chili flakes, and black pepper powder to taste. So simple yet so addictive.
Every time you dunk your piece of bread in the juicy Menemen, you will keep wanting more and more.
#2 Soft gözlemes & crunchy böreks
A Turkish breakfast is incomplete without böreks and gözleme. There are different types of böreks, thin pastry sheets filled with stuffings, and baked or pan-cooked.
But the types that stand out the most are sigara böreği, kol böreği, pachanga böreği, gül böreği, su böreği, and çiğ böreği. They are either filled with a stuffing of minced meat and onions, potato, mixed vegetable, spinach, or cheese.
Speaking of gözlemes, these are flat pieces of bread stuffed with minced meat, potato, cheese, or spinach traditionally. Some prefer pan friend, while others only bake and spread butter on top later, as that gives more flavor.
#3 Simit rings and puffy poğaça (buns)
Simit and poğaça are the most traditional Turkish breakfast item. In every square of the city, you can find simit sellers. Commuters on the way often grab a simit for their breakfast, especially the young who do not have time to have a proper breakfast.
These fluffy rings, sprinkled with generous amounts of sesame seeds, have a nice unique flavor and often require tea to swallow it.
Poğaça, or puffed buns, mainly consists of either Kaşar (goat or sheep milk’s cheese), chocolate, or olives. Women usually make them home and adorn the breakfast tables with them. Poğaça goes well with tea, and often when someone is hungry during the day, poğaça usually comes in handy.
#4 Relishes, jams, and sauces:
Turks love to bite into dips and jams and eat some sort of relish with bread. Women make these jams at home and prepare assortments of sauces and salads to put on the breakfast table. These “ezmes” (relishes) are tangy, spicy, and have a burst of flavors.
Roasted eggplant – mashed with finely chopped onions, tomatoes, a garlic clove, and green chilies – is one such Turkish breakfast item.
You can spread on the bread or eat it directly, this side dish is too good to resist. Another is Atom, a sauce similar to salsa but has a distinct flavor. It’s spicy, tangy, and often eaten in winter as it keeps the belly warm; that’s what Turkish mums say.
#5 Fresh oven-baked pides:
Pides are like oval-shaped Turkish pizzas. Sold at many outlets for breakfast, mothers bake them at home too. They come in many choices, from “sucuklu yumurta” pide to minced meat or simply vegetables, and all sprinkled with a generous amount of “Kaşar” cheese.
Pides are filling and light at the same time. The odor of a freshly baked pide makes one hungry. Pide and tea, with some side dishes on the table, is a wholesome meal, perfect when guests are around.
#6 Tahini pekmez, honey and helva: Heaven for sweet tooths!
Turks love to end their breakfast on a sweet note with many glasses of tea that follows. Yes, not teacups but tea glasses, tulip-shaped glasses unique to the Turkish culture.
Dunking your bread in a bowl of tahini pekmez is heavenly indeed. Pekmez stands for molasses; grape molasses is quite popular and mixed in Tahini to make it sweeter.
Tahini is made of sesame seeds, roasted, and turned into a thick paste. The flavor is rich, and adding honey or pekmez to it takes the dip to another level.
Jams are also always on the table and helvas. The variety of Turkish jams and helvas is so diverse that if you get a chance to visit the Turkish Grand Bazar, you can find hundreds of delicious varieties.
Turkish breakfast is healthy, rich, and delicious!
You won’t find so much variety on the table as there is on a Turkish breakfast table. And the best part is that the table is extravagant not only on special occasions but for Turks, it is an everyday thing.
The Turkish tea culture and the variety of breakfast items make Turkish breakfast stand out. You get to eat healthy food, eat bites of different things on the table, cheese, olives, salad, and many relishes. And the conversations! A wonderful experience over the table each time.
So whether you choose to sit by the sea, go on a picnic, or enter a Turkish home, you will enjoy the best Turkish breakfast each time.