Turkey is known for its many popular dishes, some of these are “sarma”, a dish made of grape leaves with minced meat inside; “manti”, a dish made of puffy pastry and minced meat similar to meat ravioli and served with garlic yogurt; “kebab” and “döner”, which are probably the most popular dishes, consisting of meat served with pita bread. These are the main dishes to be expected in Turkey. These dishes are always accompanied by salads. There is a wide variety of salads and there is the possibility that more than one salad could be served. Two popular salads are “patates salatasi”, one which is made of potatoes and eggs and the other salad is made of beans and vegetables. Another common Turkish specialty is called “menemen” which is prepared with roasted tomatoes, peppers, olive oil and eggs. “Gözleme” is a traditional Turkish handmade and hand rolled pastry. Some of the possible ingredients are eggs, spinach, potatoes or cheese. Typical Turkish drinks are “ayran”, “raki” and black tea. “Ayran” is a drink made of yogurt which is mixed with water, salt can be added to give it a bit more taste. Raki is an alcoholic drink. Black tea is a very strong tea and the Turkish are used to drinking it even for breakfast. These typical drinks must definitely be tried when visiting Turkey. In the Central Anatolia Region, the so called “etli ekmek” is a popular dish. It is bread with minced meat in it, this is eaten in a form of a wrap and more taste can be added by putting cucumbers and tomatoes in between. In the southern part of Turkey, vegetable dishes are very typical and they are always made with olive oil. In the Northern part of turkey fish is very popular. It is common to see Turkish people eating a type of bread. This is called “simit” and it is to be found everywhere in Turkey. It is salted bread with nuts. There are many types of bread snacks like “simit” which is eaten often on the street when taking a walk perhaps. These types of bread are usually sweet. “Lokum” that has been translated to Turkish delight is a jelly like confection manufactured from sugar. There are many different varieties of Turkish delight. For example in the western part of Turkey this jelly is manufactured from sugar but in the Middle Eastern, it is mainly a sweet with pistachios and hazelnuts. Coming from the southern part of Turkey but very popular within the whole country is the “baklava”. “Baklava” is a sweet pastry made of layers of dough filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey. These sweets are mainly served on special religious holidays in Turkey.
Farmers are slowly getting used to modern techniques, even though Turkey is one of the few countries in the world that is self-sufficient when it comes to food. Because of the hard working farmers, Turkey has a rich agriculture with access to water and good climate. Because of the climate change, many different crops can be raised. Therefore is Turkey a big producer of agricultural products and also a big exporter in the United States, Europe and African nations. Not only has Turkey been ranked as one of the top ten producers of fruit, wheat and cotton, but has also been ranked as one of the top five producers of vegetables, tea and raw wool.
Customs and etiquette are very important aspects in Turkey. It is important to show politeness and maintain honour. These aspects are also found within the religion of the majority of the Turkish people; the Islam. As mentioned before, when meeting a Turkish partner it is customary to first give a handshake to the most elderly person in the room. Personal acquaintances or friends can be greeted with a kiss on the cheek.
Authors: Ruud C. Willemse & Gamze Yigitsoy