Turkey has been the meeting point for European and Middle Eastern cuisines, becoming an important link between east and west. It was during the rule of the Ottoman Empire that the foundation of Turkish cooking had its greatest influence.
The food is typically Mediterranean and rich in vegetables, herbs and fish. Other ingredients include lamb, beef, chicken, eggplants, garlic and lentils. The most common seasonings are dill, mint, parsley, cinnamon, garlic, and the lemony sumac. Yogurt is a common side condiment. Also very popular are spring peaches, summer figs, fall quince, olives, dried apricots, and all type of nuts.
Turkish meal typically begins with a thin soup known as a "corba". Popular dishes include kebabs plain or marinated meat either stewed or grilled, "Doner kebab",a roll of lamb on a vertical skewer turning parallel to a hot grill; "Börek" pies of flaky pastry stuffed with meat, cheese or potatoes; "köftes" of all shapes and sizes are finely minced meat mixed with spices, onions and other ingredients grilled, fried, boiled or baked; Pilaf which generally made of rice, but also of bulgur (cracked wheat) and sehriye (vermicelli), it may include aubergines, chick peas, beans or peas.
Breakfast is likely to involve a spread of cheese, eggs, tomatoes, cheeses, jam, honey and spicy sausage. One popular breakfast dish is “menemen”, which is tomatoes, peppers, onion, olive oil and eggs
Lunch often will include a rice or bulgar pilaf dish, lamb or chicken baked with peppers and eggplant, and fresh fish grilled with lemon.
Dinner will most commonly start with appetizers called "Mezes" which could include some of the following - . roasted pureed eggplant, fine chopped salads, miniature filled pasta called manti, pepper and turnip pickles, mackerel stuffed with pilaf, sardines rolled in grape leaves, and "köfte", spiced lamb meatballs, all totantalize the diner. The main course could include some of the popular dishes mentioned above.
Dessert is commonly melon and fresh fruit or sweets made with filo, puddings of rose water and saffron. All sweets are usually served with Turkish coffee.
Turkish sweets are famous throughout the world and many of these have milk as the basic ingredient but the best-known are "baklava" and "kadayif" pastries
During the day the popular drink is tea. Two popular winter drinks are: cinnamon flavored sahlep, a drink made from powdered iris root, and boza, a fermented barley drink. Raki, an anise liqueur is the national drink of Turkey. Sour cherry juice, turnip juice, rose tea and apple tea are also popular.