The Essentials of Turkish Breakfast Culture

A traditional Turkish breakfast consists of a selection of cheeses that may include tulum and kaşar, as well as white cheese, çökelek (cottage cheese) and mihaliç cheese. In addition to fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and leafy greens, green and black olives from the Marmara, Aegean, and North Aegean regions of the country might be on the table, along with honey, homemade jam and kaymak (clotted cream). Freshly baked crispy breads and simit are served, as is hot Turkish tea in tulip-shaped glasses. Another essential element of the Turkish breakfast is the egg, hard-boiled or presented as menemen, a flavourful dish of eggs, tomatoes and peppers. Turkish coffee may be offered after this rich repast to complement the meal and aid digestion.


Local Turkish Breakfasts: Aegean, Black Sea, Van and Gaziantep

The typical Aegean breakfast, served along Türkiye’s coast of happiness, highlights healthy and light flavours, replete with fresh vegetables, greens and delicious olives. Fresh bread is dipped in extra virgin olive oil, often produced locally, or eaten with Bergama tulum cheese. Homemade jams are made with local products such as roses, apricots, figs, strawberries, black mulberries, quince, citrus fruits, pomegranates, or even aubergines, herbs, walnuts or tangerine peels; fresh curd and roasted herbs or herb pastry are also indispensables of Aegean breakfast tables.


In the Black Sea Region, breakfast tables abound with regional dishes such as turşu tavalı, corn bread, kaygana and Laz böreği (pastry), offering a great start to the day. When it comes to Black Sea breakfast, however, the first recipe that springs to mind is undoubtedly kuymak, also known as muhlama or mıhlama. This scrumptious pudding-like Trabzon breakfast dish is made by mixing corn flour – from the corn grown in the region – and roasting it with butter and a special cheese. The local butter is also added to fresh Vakfıkebir bread and topped with Anzer honey. Naturally, the crown jewel of Turkish breakfasts, Turkish tea, is served, brewed with tea from the region’s famous tea plantations.


Gaziantep, listed in UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network in the field of gastronomy, also attracts attention in Türkiye for its notable breakfast customs. The Gaziantep breakfast features the traditional Turkish breakfast foods along with local dishes such as beyran soup, chickpea wraps, cartlak kebab, liver, sahan kreması, muhammara, egg piyaz and katmer – the perfect start to a high-energy day!


Van, the pearl of the East, has a unique place in the Turkish breakfast culture. The Van breakfast, considered the richest in Türkiye, is a ceremonial affair highlighting the city’s geographically marked herbed cheese and the traditional Van çörek (a special pastry), as well as murtuğa, eggs cooked with flour and butter, and kavut, a very old halva recipe. Although variations of the Van breakfast can be found across the country, enjoying this morning meal at its source is a genuinely satisfying experience.