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Turkish Breakfast

What is traditional Turkish breakfast?

Traditional Turkish breakfast, kahvalti (meaning the food before drinking coffee) is a full meal and some people may find it a bit too heavy to eat in the morning. İstanbullu usually eat feta cheese, green or black olives, jam, butter, eggs or menemen, pastry like börek or poğaça, types of meat like salami, pastrami, sucuk (Turkish sausage) with eggs, vegetables like tomato, cucumber, pepper, fruit like water melon. Soup is another common food for breakfast, especially mercimek çorbası (lentile soup). And the breakfast drink is, of course, traditional Turkish tea. In addition to all these foods, people in rush usually have poğaça-çay, börek-çay, simit-karper-çay, tost-çay on the way to work or school.

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Most popular traditional Turkish breakfast foods

  • Beyaz Peynir Although Turkish cheese isn’t worldwide famous, it is possible to claim that Turkey is a cheese country with hundreds of different types of cheese in each region. However, these cheeses are not long matured because of the low fat content. The most popular kinds of cheese in Turkey are beyaz peynir feta cheese, kaşar peyniri a mild, pale yellow cheese made of sheep’s milk, kosher and lor peyniri ricotta cheese, is a soft, uncured cheese. Beyaz peynir is usually consumed for breakfast, kaşar peyniri in toast and meals and lor peyniri in pastry like börek.
  • Kaşar Peyniri is a mild, pale yellow cheese made of sheep’s milk produced and consumed in Turkey and Greece. It has two types: eski (old) kaşar and taze (fresh) kaşar. Eski kaşar is usually consumed for breakfast, taze kaşar for toast, fastfood or meals like pasta or roasted food. Taze kaşar is usually used to make toast, sandwich, macaroni, stew etc.
  • Zeytin is olive and it is a must for traditional Turkish breakfast. People consume both green olives yeşil zeytin and black olives siyah zeytin.
  • Balkaymak Another delicious breakfast food is balkaymak, honey and clotted cream. There is nothing like having a lovely breakfast at one of the Çınaraltı cafes by the Bosphorus on a weekend.
  • Yumurta Eggs are usually consumed as rafadan soft-boiled, lop hard-boiled, sahanda yumurta fried eggs with butter in a frying pan, kıymalı yumurta fried eggs with fried minced meat, pepper and onions, menemen (see below), peynirli yumurta fried eggs with cheese, sucuklu yumurta eggs with sucuk, Turkish spicy sausage.
  • Menemen Menemen is a simple egg dish made with tomatoes, peppers, optionally onions, cheese and spices. Here is how it is cooked: Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until most of the moisture has evaporated and rich sauce is formed. Add the pepper and cook a few minutes. Finally pour the beaten eggs over and server ed pepper.
  • Börek is a kind of baked or fried pastry made of a thin flaky dough, yufka, filled with cheese, minced meat or vegetables. Börek is usually prepared in a large pan, baked and cut into portions or fried as individual pastries.
  • Çorba Soup is another common food for breakfast, especially mercimek çorbası, lentile soup.
  • Simit & Poğaça & Tost In addition to all these foods, people in rush usually have poğaça-çay, börek-çay, simit-karper-çay, tost-çay on the way to work or school. Simit Turkish bagel with sesame or poğaça a flaky, savory pastry with cheese peynirli, minced meat kıymalı, potato patatesli or olives zeytinli with tea is also a good way of having breakfast if you are in a rush in the morning. It is usually consumed for breakfast and sold by the street vendors or at the bakeries or büfe.

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