In Turkish society, daily life is shaped around meals and long meal time. Center of house life is kitchen. Even in big cities, families often prefer to dine together and at home. Especially after the guests are welcomed, the table is not cleared immediately. People have long conversations, listen to music and have fun.
Turkish cuisine is world famous with its rich ingredients and dishes made with intensive labor. You can taste these unique flavors in restaurants or in a house where you are a guest. Cooking at home is very common. You can buy fresh food from grocery stores, supermarkets or bazaars established on certain days.
Although it is common to eat at home in Turkey, there are varied and satisfying choices from traditional dishes to simple sandwiches to have your meal. Restaurants and cafés serving red/white meat and seafood dishes and vegetarian alternatives are easily found in all major cities.
A variety of snacks and appetizers are offered before the meal you ordered in the restaurants. Decide on your order by considering the treats. Remember! Refreshments and water served in the jug are free; the bottle of water is chargeable!
Unlike many cultures, Turkish breakfast is a real meal and should not be skipped as recommended by mothers! Pastries such as bagels, pancakes and pastry are indispensable for a quick breakfast. Don’t be surprised if you see a long, enjoyable breakfast table with: cheese, olives, eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, sausage, pies, pancakes, jams, honey and of course tea.
Here are quick and affordable options for dining out: (with visuals)
Döner kebab In the window of many kebab restaurants in the city you will see a steep axis of meat rolled and cooked. That is döner kebab which is a Turkish special. Advantage of döner kebab for students is that it can be consumed inside bread.
Mantı (Turkish ravioli) Mantı, similar of which may be found in different countries, is a meal including dough particles prepared by ground meat. It is usually served with yoghurt and tomato paste.
Soup: In Turkey, you will see that soup of everything is cooked. In soups which are mostly vegetarian, juicy, various vegetables and pulses are used. Soups, which are also succulent types, are ideal for a light lunch or dinner that a student may prefer.
Dried beans and rice: It is indispensable for the menus of the university cafeterias and restaurants that serve home cooking. Rice is made from bulgur or rice and is often served alongside juicy dishes. It is said that when dried beans are eaten together with rice, nutritional value is increasing in times!
Börek, gözleme, poğaça (Pies, pancake, donut) Pastries are the basic foods that will save you in breakfasts and snacks. You can find many different varieties in university canteens, bakeries and some restaurants: with vegetables, meat, cheese…
University Cafeterias and Canteens
Many universities have a cafeteria where 2 or 3 daily meals are served to students. The price of dishes you can choose as table d’hote or à la carte is very affordable because they are subsidized by the state. In many universities, it is also possible to find canteens, restaurants and cafes other than central dining hall (or cafeteria).
You should not miss the following dishes in your dining room menu. These are the flavors you will not want to leave Turkey without tasting.
- Karnıyarık (Aubergine Eggplant Meal)
- İmambayıldı (Roasted Stuffed Eggplant)
- Tas kebabı (Persian Lamb and Vegetable Stew)
- Yaprak sarma (Staffed Grape Leaves)
- Kazandibi (Milk Baked pudding)