More than a meal, Turkish-style breakfasts are a banquet of sweet and savory delights. The key word is always 'abundance'. Kahvalti (kahve-alt), meaning 'before coffee' translates to 'breakfast' in Turkish and for most families, it is a drawn-out ritual, rather than a rushed bowl of cereal or toast on the go.For Turkish people the breakfast is the most important meal of the day and they know very well to extend and vary it with different elements and specialties. That’s why the Turkish breakfast is never exactly the same. It depends where you go in Istanbul or Turkey, you will receive different breakfast compilations. But in general, there are some basic elements which you can find everywhere as well as some typical specialties which vary from place to place.
The following elements are basic and very important for a Turkish breakfast: White bread (most common type), white cheese (beyaz peynir)-a salty, white cheese made from unpasteurized milk, very similar to Greek Feta, old cheese (kaşar peynir)-a very tasty yellow and medium hard cheese made from unpasteurized sheep milk, black and green olives, butter, honey, jam, omelet or boiled eggs (yumurta), sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, Turkish tea (çay) during breakfast, Turkish coffee after breakfast and many Turkish particular specialties as following:
- Kaymak is very delicious and addictive. It is basically clotted cream, mostly served with honey. On fresh soft bread it tastes heavenly delicious.
- Sucuk is a very spicy Turkish sausage, mostly cooked with egg in a pan. It is made of ground beef with garlic and spices like red pepper, cumin and sumac.
- Börek is made out of very thin sheets of dough (also known as yufka) filled with minced meat, cheese and different vegetables, wrapped, baked and cut into portions.
- Menemen is Turkish scrambled eggs. It gets cooked in a pan with tomatoes, green pepper, onion, olive oils and eggs. Especially with a little note of garlic it tastes delicious.
- Gözleme is a savory pastry which is cooked over a griddle and filled with vegetables like potatoes and spinach, meat or cheese. It looks almost like a crepe. You can nearly find it everywhere, because it is also sold on the streets prepared mostly by old Turkish women.
- Pastırma is an air-dried cured beef with its origin in Anatolia. It is prepared by salting the meat, washing it and letting it dry for 10-15 days. The blood and salt is then squeezed out before it gets covered with a paste prepared with crushed cumin, fenugreek, garlic and hot paprika.
- Poğaça is a special type of Turkish bread, traditionally baked in the ashes of the fireplace and later in the oven. It can be leavened or unleavened and can be filled with potatoes or cheese.
- Simit, circular bread covered with sesame seeds, is one of the most famous Turkish specialties. You can find it everywhere in Turkey and it is very cheap.
The Turkish breakfast is one of the most important elements of the Turkish cuisine. It’s served in family dining rooms from Istanbul to the North Sea, and in specialty restaurants, from dawn till dusk. And even if you aren’t sold on the contents of the Turkish breakfast, you might be sold on the presentation. Each ingredient is served in tiny dishes, with delicate little spoons and sporks to match and the black Turkish tea is served in handle less, hourglass-shaped glasses.
If you want to try a proper Turkish breakfast in Istanbul, we would recommend the „Breakfast Street“in Besiktas. It is a very cheap place with lots of restaurants, which are always very busy. The price varies between 10 and 20 liras per person depending on the elements and specialties you choose. Tea is always included. Afiyet olsun friends!