One thing that many people are curious about Turkish culture is surely the Turkish breakfast. Different from many other cultures, the Turks treat the breakfast like dinner, with rich tables and serving. Believing the fact that having breakfast is the most important factor in starting a good day, the Turks spend every morning having a well-prepared breakfast.
If you are planning to visit Turkey, you should try to spend each morning trying out the Turkish breakfast to see how it affects you. Even though the breakfast slightly changes from home to home and from one restaurant to the other, the core of it stays the same.
We can hopefully give you some insight into the Turkish breakfast, help you understand its importance and know its fundamental elements in this guide. There is also a list of the best breakfast places in Istanbul at the end of the guide for those who want to experience it in good hands.
WHAT IS THE TURKISH BREAKFAST LIKE?
For Turkish people, breakfast is the most important part of the day. It is a fundamental part of the culture. Having breakfast is something needs to be done as a family. It doesn’t matter if you have work or school to go to. Breakfast requires all the family members to be there. The hot Turkish tea is prepared, the table is set, all kinds of food are served, bread is sliced and you are ready to go. The Turkish breakfast has salty, spicy and sweet flavors. Salty and spicy foods are usually eaten first. Then, the sweets are eaten, leaving an amazing after taste. The tea is usually continued to be drunk for a little more while after breakfast.
The breakfast as a cultural element is something to be enjoyed and it takes a long time as the Turks love spending time chatting while still sitting at the breakfast table, sipping their tea even if they are done eating. On holidays, weekends or special occasions, the breakfast also changes and different dishes are made accordingly.
IS THE TURKISH BREAKFAST A BIG DEAL IN TURKEY?
The Turkish breakfast indeed is a big deal in Turkey. Just as you may invite friends and family to dinner, the Turks invite friends and family to breakfast as well as dinner. These special occasions obviously have a lot of richer food options than usual. However, the best part is sitting lazily and chat away while drinking tea with all your loved ones.
Let’s take a look at some of these dishes that the Turks love having as a part of their breakfast.
THE COMPONENTS OF THE TURKISH BREAKFAST
Turkish Black Tea
Turkish black tea is the backbone of the Turkish breakfast. It is drunk one after the other, continuously during the entire breakfast. Drinking coffee is never a part of the traditional Turkish breakfast. The Turkish coffee, for example, is traditionally a beverage that is supposed to be drunk after breakfast.
Bread is a must while having breakfast. The small pieces of bread are usually dipped into olive oil, eggs or menemen and eaten that way. Or jam is spread on the slices to be eaten. The Turkish breakfast would not be complete without bread.
Menemen is a dish that the Turks love. It is prepared with green peppers, tomato sauce and eggs. After green peppers are slightly cooked in a pan, add in the tomato sauce until it is cooked as well. Then add in the eggs that are whipped in a separate bowl. Make sure to stir everything together until it is cooked. Do not forget to add in some salt as well! Some people also prefer menemen with some onions. Try both and see which one you like.
Sucuklu yumurta is another much-loved dish. It is usually the star of the Sunday breakfast. Sucuk is a type of dried beef sausage with different spices as well as garlic. After the sucuk is chopped and cooked in a pan, several eggs are added to it but not stirred. Sucuk may be spicy but it is definitely worth a try.
Pastırma is a type of air-dried and cured beef that is seasoned with spices. While it may be cooked to be eaten, it is also eaten just as it is without cooking. The Turks love eating pastırma on its own or with eggs in a similar fashion to sucuklu yumurta.
Kaymak is something similar to clotted cream and it is also known as Turkish cream. It is made from the skin that builds on the milk of cows, goats or sheep. Traditionally it is made by boiling the milk for a long time and the cream on top is skimmed and chilled for hours. It could easily be one of the most delicious things you can taste. Kaymak is usually eaten with honey. It is a match made in heaven. You cannot imagine how good it tastes until you try it. Make sure you to give it a try!
A salad made with tomatoes and cucumbers is topped with some oil and salt and put in the middle of the table. It is usually eaten by dipping a small piece of bread into the olive oil and then eating the tomatoes and cucumbers as usual.
Black and green olives are usually served together. Black olives add in a salty flavor while the green olives are sour.
There are a lot of different types of cheese specifically made in Turkey. The most common one is what is called “beyaz peynir” in Turkish, literally translates into “white cheese”. It is basically made from cow milk. There are other types of cheese such as kaşar, tulum and lor. They all have a different flavor and texture. If you are having breakfast outside, it is probable that you will taste all of these cheese.
Eggs are an important part of the breakfast as they are known to be filling. Eggs are prepared in many different ways. They can be fried or boiled. They can also be used in making menemen, or omelet.
The Turkish breakfast has both salty and sweet flavors. Jams are preferred for the sweet part of it. These jams are usually homemade and they come in many different jams made from different fruits or flowers such as rose, cherry, peach, grapes, apricot, quince, strawberry and raspberry.
Börek is a traditional food usually consumed with tea in the afternoon as a snack. However, can also be a part of breakfast. Börek is made of a thin pastry dough filled with all sorts of fillings such as meat, cheese, potato or spinach. It has different shapes according to its type.
It is a type of bread topped with molasses and sesame seeds, making it quite crispy. Simit, also known as Turkish bagel, is usually eaten as a snack. You can find a simit everywhere, even on the streets. It is usually consumed with tea or ayran which a traditional Turkish drink. Simit can sometimes be eaten during breakfast along with or instead of bread.
TOP 8 BREAKFAST PLACES IN ISTANBUL
You can definitely experience having a Turkish breakfast in the place you are staying in. If you happened to be staying with a Turkish family, you are lucky enough to experience the most authentic Turkish breakfast. However, you might want to experience a different or maybe much richer Turkish breakfast and taste everything that you can the Turks tend to eat during breakfast. If you are staying in Istanbul, these are some of the most popular places you can visit to have a great experience.
NAMLI GURME (KARAKÖY)
Namlı Gurme is no doubt one of the most famous places where you can have breakfast in Istanbul. Namlı Gurme was awarded the best breakfast place of the year award many years in a row. Located in one of the historical areas in the city, the place offers a great breakfast with a wide selection of food proving that they earned the award for a good reason. The place is packed with breakfast enthusiasts in the mornings. Therefore, be aware of the fact that you may not find a seat in the restaurant. You can still give it a try by going there early.
VAN KAHVALTI EVİ (CİHANGİR)
Van, a city to the southeast of Turkey, is famous for its breakfast spread. There are many restaurants serving Van’s special breakfast spread for the people in other cities to enjoy as well. One of the most famous of these restaurants is Van Kahvaltı Evi in Cihangir. This a fool-proof way of experiencing a rich Turkish breakfast with everything you can imagine.
TARİHİ ÇINARALTI AİLE BAHÇESİ (ÇENGELKÖY)
Tarihi Çınaraltı Aile Bahçesi is a historical place with an amazing view of the Bosphorus. You can either bring your own food to enjoy the view or you can also order your breakfast here. Eating breakfast here is a much cozier and homely than typical restaurants. The food and the Turkish black tea always taste better when consumed while watching the sea view and the boats coming and going through the Bosphorus.
CAFE NAR (RUMELİ HİSARI)
Rumeli Hisarı or Rumeli Castle has many different places where you can enjoy your breakfast. These places are popular due to their gorgeous view of the Bosphorus. Cafe Nar is one of the best among the places in the Rumeli Castle. It is a cozy place with cute tablecloths that will make you feel right at home. The best part of this place is that is a lot more budget-friendly compared to the other cafes and restaurants when its location is considered.
ÇESME BAZLAMA KAHVALTI (NİŞANTAŞI)
Even though Turkish breakfast has certain core elements that do not change wherever you go, each part of Turkey has a slightly different take on the Turkish breakfast, adding their own traditional food into the mix. Çeşme Bazlama Kahvaltı is where you can taste the Aegean breakfast. Aegean food is usually known for being super healthy and the best olives and olive oil come from the Aegean area. This is a very well-known place in Istanbul with a variety of breakfast options. You won’t regret it if you visit this place for sure.
Sütiş is one of the most popular places where you can have breakfast while watching the beautiful sea view. This is a historical place that is famous for producing their own goods such as milk, cheese, bread, honey, tea and meat. The breakfast you will taste in this restaurant will not compare to any other place as all the food is natural and specially produced in the best facilities around Turkey. Sütiş is also famous for its desserts. While you are there, you can also taste their desserts or visit the place for eating desserts instead of having breakfast. Booking a reservation may be a good idea since the place is almost always crowded.
NAGA PUTRİKA (KADIKÖY)
Naga Putrika is another famous breakfast place in Istanbul. The restaurant is located on the Asian side, in Kadıköy. Naga Putrika has eight different types of Turkish breakfast to offer. You will surely enjoy their organic jams as well as honey. Naga Putrika is a small, boutique place and is generally full of people who love their breakfast. It may be a good idea to go early to get a seat and enjoy their beautiful breakfast.
BIG CHEF’S (TARABYA)
Tarabya is one of the luxurious districts in Istanbul. Therefore, Big Chef offers high-quality food and meals for its visitors. The best part of this place is that it offers an open buffet which would be a great option for vegetarians, vegans or those who have food allergies. Since Turkish breakfast is rich in meat, eggs and honey, you may want to design your own plate according to your own wishes and needs. Overall, Big Chef’s offers an exquisite breakfast with an amazing sea view.