Nurtured and shaped by deep-rooted Anatolian heritage, Turkish cuisine is a defining element of Turkish culture. Every dish on Turkish tables has a story behind it, carrying a vast cultural accumulation to modern times.

Turkish cuisine has three essential features: traditional, healthy, and zero waste. Authentic Turkish cuisine is a magical journey to explore. Fresh and local produce meets traditional recipes, cooking techniques, and modern ways of presentation. Traditions are at the core of Turkish cuisine. The original recipes are passed over from generation to generation, from grandmothers to mothers to daughters and sons! Traditional cooking methods ensure the dish comes out exactly what the recipe suggests. That means you can taste the original dish from hundreds of years ago.

Turkish gastronomy pays a great deal of attention to sustainability and zero waste. It is centred around zero-waste cooking. Nothing goes to waste in a typical Turkish pantry.  Meals are prepared without wasting ingredients, and tables are laden with healing specialities such as vinegar and pickles made of food scraps. Vegetable scraps are turned into a broth, orange peels are added into cake mixtures, and leftover rice is added to soups. Pantries are stocked with dried or frozen summer fruits and vegetables for winter. Sustainable cooking and food preparation techniques make Turkish cuisine stand out.

Turkish food is healthy. Turkish dishes nourish the mind, body, and spirit and are made with locally grown, plenty of olive oil, sun-kissed produce, and organic ingredients. Health is at the centre of Turkish cuisine. Healthy cooking methods like steaming, poaching, boiling, or baking are widely used to retain all the vitamins and minerals for the utmost taste and texture. A wide variety of Turkish recipes have health benefits. Plenty of top-quality olive oil is used for cooking meze dishes, which are almost always vegetarian-friendly. Home-cooking style dishes in any local lokanta are also tasty and healthy.

Turkish cuisine also stands out due to its cultural sustainability – featuring dining and drinking rituals formed around feelings of unity and solidarity. Gathering around food brings together people of all ages, conditions, and social classes, and it plays an essential role in social cohesion. Traditional tables are one manifestation of the generosity of the Turkish people, their love of sharing and solidarity, and a daily life-affirming culture that has existed for thousands of years. Turkish cuisine, also an essential component of Türkiye's intangible social heritage, guarantees the transfer and sustainability of cultural heritage to new generations in this respect.


Shaped by more than a thousand years of cultures and traditions, social heritage and stories, Turkish cuisine presents its distinctive and diverse flavours to the world during Turkish Cuisine Week. Turkish Cuisine Week introduces Türkiye's rich gastronomic culture to a broad audience at home and abroad through various events.  Held on 21-27 May every year, this essential seven-day event features unique recipes from timeless Turkish cuisine while highlighting the sustainability of an age-old culinary tradition where pots have been boiling with the philosophy of zero waste for millennia.


Full of ancient sites, unique beauty, and unparalleled destinations, visiting Türkiye’s west coast is an unforgettable Turkaegean experience. This region is also famous for its healthy food culture. In 2010, UNESCO recognised the Mediterranean Diet as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

This year, Turkish Cuisine Week will present events with an Aegean menu consisting of recipes that symbolise the region's abundance, and a healthy, sustainable, and Mediterranean-style diet has long been emphasised. Aegean olives and cheeses, tarhana soup, fava bean puree, mücver (courgette/zucchini fritters), green beans with olive oil, stuffed peppers with olive oil, gözleme and other pastries with herbs, shrimp casserole, İzmir-style meatballs, incir uyutması (milk and dried fig pudding), somata (bitter almond sherbet) and sübye (melon seeds sherbet) are among the options on the menu.


Türkiye is one of the world's leading olive and olive oil producers. Türkiye’s Marmara and Aegean regions take the lead in olive production. These are followed by the Mediterranean and Southeast regions. The hardy and humble olive tree is one of the essential values of Türkiye, especially when we explore the culture formed around its cultivation. Olive cultivation and olive oil production have been a part of the Aegean region’s daily life and culture since ancient times. There are around 122 registered types of olives grown in Türkiye. Olive types are generally categorised as table olives and oil olives. Olive oil is the healthiest option among vegetable oils because it contains polyphenols. Its rich oleic acid, high antioxidant properties, and unsaturated fat content make it a unique health source with benefits and anti-ageing properties. Zeytinyağlılar, meaning "those made with olive oil", is a dish type famous in the Aegean region.  İzmir, the pearl of the Aegean Region of Türkiye, is considered among the most important centres of olive cultivation and oil in Türkiye. İzmir’s charming cities and towns of Çeşme, Urla, Seferihisar, Güzelbahçe, Menderes and Selçuk are home to the most beautiful olive gardens.


Türkiye is one of the wealthiest countries in the world in terms of the variety of cheeses. In our country, where pasture-based farming is widespread, the quality of milk produced by free-range animals is directly reflected in the cheeses. Our cheeses produced by traditional methods are expected to use natural rennet yeast instead of industrial yeast, a tradition that has continued for centuries. Sheep and goat’s milk are generally used in our traditional cheeses. However, the use of cow’s milk has increased significantly in the production of industrial cheeses. Every region, in fact, almost every city of Türkiye where livestock farming has developed, has a unique and local type of cheese shaped by the geographical conditions and produced using different methods.


Tarhana is one of the most unique discoveries of Turkish cuisine. There are many different kinds of tarhana in Türkiye. Although it is impossible to list them all, tarhanas are generally divided into two main groups. Göce tarhana is made with whole grain wheat, and flour tarhana is made with flour, which is more prominent. Tarhana is usually made at home in preparation for winter, but there are many commercially sold varieties; these are also produced as instant soups. Tarhana falls under the superfood category primarily because it contains yogurt. It is one of the best examples of combining protein-rich yogurt and carbohydrate-rich grains in a single dish. Filled with ingredients such as tomatoes and peppers, tarhana carries the abundance of summer to the winter months using the drying method, one of the healthiest storage methods. With the addition of nutritious herbs, this becomes a fortifying soup.


Pureed legumes such as fava have been part of Anatolian cuisine since antiquity. All sorts of legumes can be used to make meze dishes like fava. Fava, made with dried broad beans, is a favourite on

the meze table and it is also a tasty alternative for vegans and vegetarians. When the fava puree made with dried broad beans is chilled, after it sets this is cut into portions before serving. Sometimes the fava bean puree is prepared with a softer texture and served drizzled with olive oil.

MÜCVER (Courgette/Zucchini fritters)

Recipes for fritters appear in cookbooks dating back to the Ottoman period. In contemporary Turkish cuisine, fritters are usually made with zucchini. When stuffed zucchini is made at home, there are zucchini fritters at the next meal. The scooped-out zucchini flesh combined with a few other ingredients would be transformed into fritters, a typical example of Turkish cuisine’s zero-waste approach. Although fried, zucchini fritters are incredibly light and have a fresh taste. This freshness is due to the abundance of scallions, parsley and dill, and sometimes mint added to the batter. Usually white cheese mashed with a fork is also added to the ingredients. Recently, the oven-baked version has also become quite popular


Flat green beans braised in olive oil is a classic in Turkish cuisine. While many households cook the beans with plenty of tomatoes, in the past, only one whole skinned tomato was placed in the center of the saucepan and the beans were arranged around the tomato like a fan. It was simmered until the liquid was absorbed, leaving only the olive oil. Once cool, the beans were carefully turned onto a serving dish, making this an exquisite dish for a dinner party.


Stuffed green peppers are one of the first types of dolma that comes to mind. Stuffed green peppers cooked in olive oil are as popular as are those stuffed with meat. Thin-walled bell peppers are the most desirable for both. Medium-size or relatively small peppers are preferred for olive oil dishes. Spices in the filling that give a sense of warmth such as cinnamon and allspice are balanced with refreshing herbs including dill and mint. A teaspoon of dried mint can also be used instead of fresh mint.


Tray börek, or tepsi böreği in Turkish, is the most frequently made, most popular homemade börek. Although this börek is better with homemade yufka, it can also be made with ready-made yufka from the grocery store or yufka shop. This börek can be made with a filling of cheese or minced meat and vegetables like spinach and zucchini. A mixture of milk, butter and eggs brushed between all the layers makes the börek softer. An important tip to prevent a doughy texture is to create gaps by rumpling the yufkas when placing them in the tray, before adding the milk, egg and oil mixture.


The roots of gözleme or stuffed flatbread, date back to the culture of Yoruk nomads. As gözleme that is made frequently all over Anatolia, especially in villages, and is very popular in the cities today is easy to prepare and cook, it is a savory pastry that has become a favorite in tea gardens. Because the gözleme made in Anatolia is made with locally produced flour, it is even tastier. The usual kitchen equipment is not required to make gözleme. All you need is three utensils: a low, round table to roll out the dough, a long, thin rolling pin and a thin inverted iron pan (sac). In the same way that gözleme can be cooked outdoors using shrubs and brushwood easily gathered from nature, they can also be cooked on especially designed gas or electrical appliances indoors.


Shrimp casserole is a dish developed in fish restaurants and has virtually become a classic dish today. This dish is generally cooked in small individual serving dishes, but it is sometimes served in the center in a larger dish. Even though shrimp casserole is rarely made at home, this is one of the classic dishes in taverns and fish restaurants.


This dish is a favorite among all the kofte dishes cooked in the oven. The flavor is achieved by frying all the ingredients separately, and then combining these together and baking in the oven. Especially dipping bread in the juices is delicious. As the dish contains potatoes is also very filling, and therefore does not need to be accompanied by rice pilaf. The reduced tomato sauce further enriches the flavors of the kofte. If desired, thyme can also be added to the kofte dish.

İNCİR UYUTMASI (Milk and Dried Fig Pudding)

İncir uyutması (sleeping fig) made with dried figs is the easiest dessert in Anatolian cuisine, but despite being easy, this is a dessert that makes a difference with its superb taste. Dried figs are crushed and combined with hot milk, they left for a while, and with figs acting like yogurt yeast it becomes a thick dessert like fig yogurt. The name sleeping comes from the milk and figs being left to rest together. Although sugar is traditionally used in this recipe, as the natural sweetness of the figs is sufficient, it creates a healthy dessert option with probiotic properties, and prepared without using any sugar.

SOMATA (Bitter Almond Sherbet)

Somata may be an ancestor of vegan milks that are fashionable today. Sweet and bitter almonds are beaten together to give aroma, then kept for a while in water and strained through a thin gauze cloth. In this way, almond milk is obtained. The leftover almond pulp is used in making cookies. Somata can be consumed cold in summer and hot in winter.

SÜBYE (Melon Seeds Sherbert)

Sübye is very similar to somata that is made with almonds. The difference is that sübye is made with melon seeds. The seeds of the melons eaten during the summer are washed and dried then they are pounded in September to make sübye. This recipe, where even melon seeds are not wasted but are turned into a very delicious drink, is one of the best examples of the zero-waste approach of our kitchen.

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