Turkish cuisine is largely the heritage of Ottoman cuisine, which can be described as a fusion and refinement of Central Asian, Middle Eastern and Balkan cuisines. Turkish cuisine has in turn influenced those and other neighboring cuisines, including those of western Europe. The Ottomans fused various culinary traditions of their realm with influences from Middle Eastern cuisines, along with traditional Turkic elements from Central Asia (such as yogurt), creating a vast array of specialties - many with strong regional associations.
Turkish cuisine varies across the country. The cooking of Istanbul, Bursa, Izmir, and rest of the Mediterranean region inherits many elements of Ottoman court cuisine, with a lighter use of spices, a preference for rice over bulgur, and a wider use of seafood's and fresh olive oil.
The cuisine of the Black Sea Region uses fish extensively, especially the Black Sea anchovy (hamsi), has been influenced by Balkan and Slavic cuisine, and includes maize dishes.
The cuisine of the southeast Urfa, Gaziantep and Adana is famous for its kebabs, mezes and desserts such as baklava, kadayif and kunefe.
Especially in the western and southern parts of Turkey, where olive trees grow abundantly, olive oil is the major type of oil used for cooking. The cuisines of the Aegean, Marmara and Mediterranean regions are rich in vegetables, herbs, and fish. Central Anatolia is famous specialties, such as keskul (kashkul), manti (especially from Kayseri) and gozleme.
A specialty's name sometimes includes that of a city or region, either in or outside of Turkey, and may refer to the specific technique or ingredients used in that area. For example, the difference between urfa kebab and adana kebab is the thickness of the skewer and the amount of hot pepper that kebab contains. Urfa kebab is less spicy and thicker than adana kebab.
Did you know ! There are over 300 Meze appetizer dishes in Turkey, and traditionally served while drinking the national alcohol Raki.
On weekdays and the weekends there are several food bazaars in neighborhoods, where you can shop for much, as everything is available fresh, yet cheap.