Breakfast Around the World, Turkey

Turkish Breakfast – Breakfast Around the World #10

February 10, 2017

Hey there! When I started this blog, I set myself a mission to recreate as many traditional breakfasts from all around the world as possible. Many people skip the breakfast, but in my opinion, it is the most important meal of the day. Your body and brain need some fuel to start moving for God’s sake! That’s why I find it insanely interesting to discover what people eat for breakfast in different countries across the globe. Let’s go!

After a couple of European breakfasts in a row (English and French) we are traveling towards Asia but not exactly to it. We are kinda stepping with one foot on Asia while another one is still in Europe. How so? Well, for this #10 installment of the “Breakfast around the world” post series we are in Turkey! A uniquely geographically located country, which is positioned at the crossroads of these two continents. Despite the fact that only about 5% of Turkey’s land is in Europe, the country’s largest city, Istanbul, is there. That’s a good thing for us, foodies, because we get to experience the unique Turkish cuisine which is a fusion of Central Asian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and Balkan cuisines. Are you excited to see what Turkish people eat first thing in the morning? I definitely am! Let’s find out!

A look at the generous Turkish breakfast which features fresh bread, pastries, cold cuts, eggs, spreads, jams, cheese, veggies, and more! | cookingtheglobe.com

The Turkish word for breakfast is kahvalti. The literal meaning behind it is “before coffee”. That’s interesting because even despite that the Turks brought this drink to Europe and that they created a famous, confirmed by Unesco as an Intangible Cultural Heritage, method of preparing unfiltered coffee called “Turkish coffee”, tea is still a clear favorite at the breakfast table. As a big tea lover, I approve this decision and give a high five to the heroes of today’s post!

Breakfast is a sacred ritual for the Turks and it by no means can be called light (like, for example, in Spain). Maybe today, with the stressful, fast-paced life, some people in Turkey lighten their breakfast up but in this post, I will talk about the traditional morning fare which is still the case in smaller towns, villages, or on weekends in bigger cities when people have more time to prepare the meal. That’s where the most interesting local foods are involved!

Authentic Turkish breakfast usually covers the whole table. It’s rich, hearty, and really filling. Turkey is a big country so there is no surprise that there exist some local differences in every region. However, there are things that can be found everywhere: eggs, bread, multi-colored olives, various types of cheese, butter, veggies (tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper), jam, honey, kaymak ( a creamy dairy product), cold cuts, spreads, pastries, tea, and the list goes on and on.

A look at the generous Turkish breakfast which features fresh bread, pastries, cold cuts, eggs, spreads, jams, cheese, veggies, and more! | cookingtheglobe.com

Let’s take a closer look at what I managed to get for my Turkish breakfast table!

Bread and Pastries

Bread is a staple in Turkey and there is no breakfast without it. There are many different types of bread available but the most common is white bread. However, grain breads become more and more popular today too. I am not sure which one of the Turkish breads I managed to get at my local supermarket and how it is called but the only information I got from its label was that it’s a “Turkish bread”. Not too specific, right? I won’t curse the shop for the lack of information, though, because it’s a miracle alone that I was able to find it in my town! I didn’t expect it all and was ready to buy a simple baguette to serve on the table but, oh boy, you can only imagine how big of a smile appeared on my face when I saw it!

A look at the generous Turkish breakfast which features fresh bread, pastries, cold cuts, eggs, spreads, jams, cheese, veggies, and more! | cookingtheglobe.com

Talking about pastries, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get any. But just for the information I will name the most popular ones. First one on the list is Börek – a Turkish breakfast classic. It’s made of phyllo dough with various different fillings: minced meat, cheese, potatoes, to name a few. Oh, I would love to taste it so much! Adding to my list of things to try when visiting Turkey.

Other popular pastries are Simit (sesame seeded bread rings) and Gözleme (made of yufka dough and filled with vegetables, meat, or cheese).

Cheese

Another breakfast table staple in Turkey. Once again, there exist dozens of different types of cheese but there are a few that stand out from the crowd. One of them is beyaz peynir – white soft salty cheese similar to mild feta. That’s the one I got! I LOVE feta and I have it quite often, either in my salads or just crumbled on literally ANYTHING so I had no problem with the Turkish beyaz peynir. One of my favorite weekend breakfast dishes is fried eggs with crumbled feta cheese on top so you can say that Turkish breakfast is right up my alley.

A look at the generous Turkish breakfast which features fresh bread, pastries, cold cuts, eggs, spreads, jams, cheese, veggies, and more! | cookingtheglobe.com

Yellow cheese such as kaşar peynir or kashkaval can be also served.

Cold Cuts

Ah, I remember those times when every single morning of mine started with a sausage, prosciutto, or any other type of cured meat either served alongside fried eggs or on a piece of bread with butter. So good! However, I pulled all my strength together and changed my eating habits dropping cold cuts from the menu and adding oat porridge, cereal, and other similar healthy stuff instead. BORING. I still enjoy my favorite breakfast on weekends, though.

The Turks have a few items we should talk about. First one – a dry, spicy sausage called SucukIt’s usually made with beef since Turkey is a Muslim country and the majority of people avoid pork. This sausage can be served simply cut into pieces to enjoy it with a piece of bread but usually, it’s fried along with eggs. That’s exactly how I prepared it. It’s funny because I have had a dish like that (fried eggs with slices of cured sausage) for years, the tradition I got from my parents, yet I couldn’t have imagined that all this time I was having Turkish food, ha! By the way, I wasn’t able to get Sucuk in my town but I don’t think it’s too much of a loss because we have a huge selection of various dry cured sausages from which I picked a spicy one.

A look at the generous Turkish breakfast which features fresh bread, pastries, cold cuts, eggs, spreads, jams, cheese, veggies, and more! | cookingtheglobe.com

Pastirma is another favorite. A highly seasoned, air-dried cured beef. I was already familiar with it, even before starting to explore Turkish breakfast, because, having originated in Armenia, it can also be found in Russia and nearby countries (mine is not an exception). Pastirma is usually served along with eggs, just like Sucuk.

Eggs

If I would have to name one ingredient that can be found in almost every single breakfast all around the world, it would be, without the slightest doubt, the eggs. Turkey is not an exception. I already talked about fried eggs with Sucuk but they can also be served boiled, as an omelet, or scrambled. The latter are usually mixed with tomatoes, bell peppers, and spices to create another Turkish breakfast favorite – Menemen. It reminds me of Shakshuka, just the eggs are scrambled instead of frying them. Super delicious!

A look at the generous Turkish breakfast which features fresh bread, pastries, cold cuts, eggs, spreads, jams, cheese, veggies, and more! | cookingtheglobe.com

Condiments

Turkish people love a vast variety of condiments on their breakfast table. Let’s start with fruit jams. Rose jam, orange marmalade, fig marmalade are the popular choices. Specifically for this breakfast, I tried fig jam for the first time in my life and it’s freaking amazing. Honey is a staple too. The Turks love their honey. Especially in a combination with Kaymak – a clotted freshly-made cream. Just mix it with honey and spread generously on a freshly baked soft bread. I am one hundred percent sure that it’s heavenly but unfortunately, Kaymak is not available in my town (sad face).

A look at the generous Turkish breakfast which features fresh bread, pastries, cold cuts, eggs, spreads, jams, cheese, veggies, and more! | cookingtheglobe.com

Another favorite is Tahin Pekmez – a sweet spread which is basically a combination of two things: Tahin (Tahini – sesame seed pasta) and Pekmez (grape molasses). It’s usually eaten slathered on fresh bread. I made Tahin Pekmez myself combining 2 parts Tahini and one part simple molasses (I saw some bloggers make it this way) because I couldn’t get a grape version. Well, I don’t know how the authentic spread tastes like but I loved my creation! It’s sweet and filling. I hope to try a real one someday!

Beverages

Like I already said in the beginning of this post, tea is a clear champion in Turkey. Black strong one is the favorite. Coffee is usually not included with breakfast and is enjoyed later in the day. Fruit juices are also popular, especially pomegranate. Stands offering a freshly squeezed pomegranate juice can be found on every corner!

Other Ingredients

The last thing I want to talk about is Halva. Guys, if you don’t know what it is and have never tried it before, let me tell you this. It’s bite-your-fingers-off-good. Halva is a sweet confection popular in many countries and Turkey is one of them. It can be made from nut butter such as tahini, sunflower seed butter or others.

I grew up with Halva and I’m always happy to enjoy it with a big cup of tea. Tahini is not popular in my country so usually, a version with sunflower seed butter can be found in local shops. However, specifically for this Turkish breakfast post, I got the authentic sesame seed Halva. The flavor is amazing! I am not sure if the Turks enjoy Halva for breakfast but I read in some places that they do. If there are any Turkish people reading this post, please clarify this for us, thanks!

A look at the generous Turkish breakfast which features fresh bread, pastries, cold cuts, eggs, spreads, jams, cheese, veggies, and more! | cookingtheglobe.com

The last but not the least part of the breakfast is veggies. Usually, it’s tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper, and multi-colored olives.

That’s it, guys! I am really happy that I’ve chosen Turkish breakfast for my #10 installment of the breakfast post series because it’s so unique. So many awesome foods and everything is crazy delicious. I would love to try the authentic one and compare it to the breakfast I managed to throw together being thousands of miles away from the actual location!

If I made any mistakes, feel free to tell me about it in the comments section below. I always love to hear from the locals. Thank you, Turkey, and see you, guys, in other “Breakfast Around the World” posts!

5 from 9 votes
A look at the generous Turkish breakfast which features fresh bread, pastries, cold cuts, eggs, spreads, jams, cheese, veggies, and more! | cookingtheglobe.com
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Turkish Breakfast - Breakfast Around the World #10

Turkish Breakfast is a generous one. Cold cuts, eggs, various jams and spreads, cheese, and more!

Cuisine: Turkish
Author: CookingTheGlobe
Ingredients
  • Turkish bread
  • Beyaz Peynir (white salty cheese)
  • Sucuk (dried spicy sausage)
  • Pastirma (dried cured beef)
  • Eggs
  • Menemen (scrambled eggs with veggies)
  • Fruit jam
  • Honey
  • Tahin Pekmez (2 parts tahini + 1 part grape or simple molasses)
  • Black Tea
  • Pomegranate juice
  • Halva
  • Vegetables (tomatoes, black and green olives, cucumber, bell peppers

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20 Comments

  • Reply Nico @ yumsome February 11, 2017 at 12:43 am

    When I was in Turkey, I don’t remember anyone ever eating halva for breakfast… but I absolutely would have done if I could. I adore it! Ha ha!

    Also, I never knew anyone who ate fried eggs – it was always a hard boiled egg (just like when I lived in Morocco). Of course, fried eggs could be a regional thing… Turkey’s a huge country!

    Where I was (Western Turkey, not far from Efes), breakfast also included lots of fresh fruit, such as grapes, watermelon, peaches, and figs. I’ve never seen such enormous peaches in my life – and they were so sweet too! Suited me perfectly because by then, I no longer ate meat!

    I love this series you’re doing, BTW – it’s bringing back loads of memories for me (I’ve lived all over the world)! Keep up the good work, Igor!

    • Reply Igor February 28, 2017 at 8:47 am

      Who could pass on halva early in the morning? Not me, that’s for sure 🙂 Thanks for the additional information, it’s always interesting to read your comments, Nico!

  • Reply Revathi February 12, 2017 at 11:13 am

    I too agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Such a beautiful spread. I love the way how your have explained each part of the Turkish breakfast. I am big time lover of Halwa and I would also be so happy to eat that for breakfast 🙂

    • Reply Igor February 28, 2017 at 8:32 am

      Halwa has to be made in heaven because it’s something incredible. Everyone has to try it!

  • Reply Julia @ Happy Foods February 12, 2017 at 11:55 am

    Fig jam rocks! 🙂 Great post. I would definitely love Turkish cheese! 🙂

    • Reply Igor February 28, 2017 at 8:34 am

      Fig jam is really amazing. I have already finished a big jar of it I got specifically for this breakfast post 🙂

  • Reply Bintu - Recipes From A Pantry February 12, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    I love reading about breakfasts around the world. So different! I adore halva but didn’t realise Turkish people have it for breakfast

    • Reply Igor February 28, 2017 at 8:35 am

      I am not sure if they do but I would be surprised if they don’t 🙂

  • Reply Deanna February 12, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    Mmm I love this!!! I love Turkish food!

    • Reply Igor February 28, 2017 at 8:36 am

      Turkish cuisine is truly amazing!

  • Reply Lyn Corinne Liner February 12, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    Wow, what a spread!! It’s all gorgeous, but I’m especially grateful for you introducing me to beyaz peynir. I love cheese, and I can’t wait to try this one. Looks like it really puts the finishing ‘yum’ touch on the rest of the breakfast offerings.

    • Reply Igor February 28, 2017 at 8:38 am

      I am glad you liked the post, Lyn! Beyaz Peynir was really good, what a pity that it’s so expensive in my country 🙂

  • Reply Kim @ Three Olives Branch February 12, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    That is my type of breakfast! Love the savory foods and such a large variety!

    • Reply Igor February 28, 2017 at 8:39 am

      I am happy you liked it, Kim!

  • Reply Heather | All Roads Lead to the Kitchen February 12, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    Oh my gosh, now this is a mission that I can get behind. I love breakfast, and I love exploring different cultures through food!

    • Reply Igor February 28, 2017 at 8:39 am

      You will love this one, Heather. No doubt about it!

  • Reply Michelle @ Vitamin Sunshine February 13, 2017 at 2:44 am

    Yum– breakfast is always my favorite meal, especially while traveling. What a fun series!

    • Reply Igor February 28, 2017 at 8:43 am

      I wouldn’t be able to live without breakfast 🙂

  • Reply Sam | Ahead of Thyme February 13, 2017 at 4:06 am

    Wow this breakfast looks delicious! I wish I could eat it right now!

    • Reply Igor February 28, 2017 at 8:45 am

      It’s really out-of-this-world good!

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