The cuisine of Turkey is based on Ottoman cuisine, which has been described as a melding and refinement of Mediterranean, Balkan, Middle Eastern, Central Asian, Eastern European, Armenian, and Georgian cuisines.
Turkish cuisine has influenced not only other Balkan cuisines but also those of Southeast Europe (Balkans), Central Europe, and Western Europe. The Ottoman Turks blended various culinary traditions from throughout their empire with Mesopotamian influences, Greek ingredients, Levantine dishes, Egyptian cuisine, Balkan foods, as well as traditional Turkic elements from Central Asia (such as yogurt and pastırma).
In Turkey, the cuisine varies from region to region. The cuisine of Istanbul, Bursa, Izmir, and the rest of Asia Minor follows many elements of Ottoman court food, which includes a moderate use of spices and a preference for rice rather than bulgur, stuffed dolmas and fish being more common as well as vegetable stews.
Fish is widely used in the cuisine of the Black Sea Region, especially the Black Sea anchovy (hamsi), which is a kind of small fish. The food in southeastern Turkey (e.g. Urfa, Gaziantep, Adıyaman, and Adana) is recognized for its profusion of kebabs, mezes, and dough-based desserts such as baklava, sobiyet, kadayif , and künefe.
In the western parts of Turkey, where olive trees thrive abundantly, olive oil is a prominent cooking oil. In the Aegean, Marmara, and Mediterranean regions, vegetables, herbs, and fish are plentiful in cuisine. Central Anatolia has a number of well-known specialties including keşkek, mantı (especially in Cappadocia), and gozleme.
The names of Turkish specialties are frequently derived from locations, and they may be prepared in a variety of ways. For example, Urfa kebab is less spicy and thicker than Adana kebab. Although meat-based dishes such as kebabs are popular in Turkish cuisine abroad, meals in Turkey generally include rice, vegetables, and bread.
Turkish people, on the other hand, still rely mostly on Turkish cuisine’s rich and broad dishes. Although fast food is becoming more popular and many major foreign fast food chains have opened in Turkey, Turks continue to favor traditional food. In Turkey, traditional food such as köfte, döner, kokoreç, kumpir, midye tava, börek, and gözleme are frequently consumed as fast food. In major commercial towns like Ankara or Istanbul eating out has always been popular.
Lamb, chicken, beef, fish, rice, eggplants, green peppers, onions, garlic, lentils, beans, zucchini ,chickpeas and tomatoes are frequent ingredients in Turkish specialties. Nuts such as pistachios , chestnuts ,almonds ,hazelnuts and walnuts are commonly used in Turkish cuisine and may be eaten separately or used to flavor desserts.