Turkish Cuisine in Republic Period
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Turkish Cuisine in Republic Period*

Applying the traditional cuisine in todays kitchens, Feridun ve Galip Ügümü brothers at Hünkar and  Abdullah Korun at Hacı Abdullah gets the lead. Restaurants such as Develi, Kaşıbeyaz, Ramazan Bingöl to name a few have introduced Southeast Anatolian cuisine in İstanbul. Nadir Güllü; who has taken “baklava” on an international level, Şeref Büryan, who serves the best of Siirt cuisine in Fatih area of İstanbul are known as some of the few examples of delicious food stops of İstanbul. Another important chef, Aydın Demir, who worked at Konyalı Restaurant is also someone who has done a lot to introduce Turkish cuisine.

In todays Republic period cuisine, in 2012, developed in İstanbul, seems to be a combination of classical cuisine of the homes, western cuisine in hotels and restaurants, including all types of fast food. 

Anatolian regional cuisine that is still alive, and uses the regional ingredients can also be called Turkish Folk Cuisine. Turkish Folk Cuisine, that is a combination of the foods of the 7 regions of Turkey including the foodcultures of ancient cities such as Göbeklitepe, Nevala Çori, Çatalhöyük.

Marmara region, where İstanbul is located is the heart of classical cuisine. Thrace region is popular with sunflower oil and famous cheese of Edirne. Anatolian part is richer in fruits and vegetables. Bursa is the home of the famous İskender kebab. Aegean region is famous of olive oil, fish and seafood. In the region that starts from İzmir and goes south is the section where a lot of fresh herbs are consumed.  Western part of Mediterranean sea resembles the Aegean coasts’ characeteristics and eastern part resembles southeastern cooking such as Adana kebab, fermented turnip juice, carrot dessert are some of the popular foods of the region.  

Southeastern part of Turkey has some of the best examples of Turkish kebabs. Especially the city of Gaziantep, famous for baklava. A dish made with raw ground beef and “kadayıf” with cheese in Şanlıurfa, grilled meatballs in Diyarbakır, and regions special desserts, stuffed ribs in Mardin; dough crusted rice pilaf dish in Siirt are some of the popular dishes of the region.

Eastern Anatolia, is a haven for cattle farms. Butter, yoghurt, yoghurt drink (ayran), honey, grains and legumes shape the cuisine of this region. Delicious dishes made with yoghurt can also be seen in this region. Tea is the legedary drink. Butter and honey in Kars, Van’s cheese with herbs, the wonderful aroma of “tulum” cheese of Erzincan are foods that needs to be tasted. Van is also famous for it’s breakfast.  

The first thing that comes to mind about the Black sea region is “hamsi” (Black sea anchovies) and the second thing is the dishes made with corn flour. Dishes made with wild herbs and mushrooms are also popular. Rize tea is a very important product, and the town of Mengen in Bolu is famous for its cooks. 

Central Anatolian region is abundant in grains, animal products, all kinds of fruits and vegetables therefore they have an excellent cuisine. The city of Konya, which was the capital of Anatolian Seljuks is very important both as a industrial kitchen and home kitchen. Even the famous globetrotter Evliya Çelebi has many wonderful things to say about the cuisine of Konya. Ankara is famous for a specific type of casserole and Kayseri is the city of pastırma (salt-cured beef) and mantı (mince meat filled dumplings).

Essentially, Turkish cuisine has been developed ever since the existence of the Turks in Central Asia, and has made a prominent place for itself among the cuisines of the world. Turkish cuisine today, can be examined in two sections, classical Turkish Cuisine and Turkish Folk cuisine. Collaboration of chefs, written documents and handling the classical and folk cuisine together, the visage of Turkish cuisine will become clearer and the richness of it will become more obvious to the world.

*The text is a translated transcription of Culinary Instructor Nevin Halıcı’s seminar éThe Phases of Turkish Cuisine – The Republic Period” that was held at TCF-Culinary Arts Center on 29 February 2012.  

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