Food and Drink in Turkey

Find out about traditional Turkish cuisine and dishes to be found throughout the country...

Modern Turkish cuisine is healthy and varied, reflecting the different civilisations which have inhabited the region. The flavours reflect Greek, Persian, Arabic and Turkish origins. Turkey is one of seven countries able to produce enough food to feed its population and have enough left for export.


The changing geographic and climatic zones in the country have led to strong regional variations in food. The east of the country is characterised by high mountains, harsh winters and livestock farming. Here, local foods centre on cereals, meat, butter, yogurt, cheeses and the delicately flavoured honeys that the country is renowned for.

In the centre of Turkey the land is hilly and dry with a mixture of barren rock and wheat fields. The traditional cuisine here is rich and made up of meat and vegetable dishes, kebabs and helva desserts. Lamb is the most widely used meat, though chicken and beef are also common.

The warm climate in the west of the country produces abundant fruit and vegetables, olive oil and seafood. The Black Sea coast is home to many fishermen and many local dishes include hamsi, a small anchovy-like fish. The Caucasian Mountains are rich in corn, tea and hazelnuts. The Syrian borderlands are renowned for shish kebabs.