Deemed among world’s richest cuisine, Turkish cuisine has maintained its tradition up to the present after the fusion of Central Asian culinary habits with Anatolian culinary culture. With its cooking methods, rich variety and tastes, Turkish cuisine promises more than kebabs and gyro. Soups, salads, pickles, dishes with olive oil, pies and rice are the main elements of Turkish cuisine. Seafood, game, chicken dishes, meatballs, stews, kebabs, grilled, fried, stewed food offer the best examples of meat. For dessert, pastry, puddings, halvas, fruit desserts, cakes, cookies and jams stand out. The prominent flavors you must absolutely taste in Turkish cuisine are; Adana kebab, stuffed vine leaves with olive oil, ravioli, stuffed meatballs, pide, Tas kebab (meat stew), steak tartar a la turca, split aubergines with meat filling. We can classify the refreshments as follows; sorbets, syrups, compotes, boza, buttermilk, grape juice, turnip juice and of course Turkish Coffee…
Famous for its variety, richness and flavors, French cuisine underlines the artistic aspect of cooking. Dating back to the Middle Ages and gaining prominence following the French Revolution, French cuisine diversifies regionally. While meats like game and ham are common in Champagne, Alsace Lorraine, seafood like shrimps, mussels and lobsters are preferred in seaside regions such as Picardie, Normandy, Brittany and Nord-Pas-de-Calais. Many restaurants reflecting French cuisine best are in Paris. A delicious duck dish, Confit de Canard; served as main course or garniture, Nicoise salad; prepared with tomatoes, onions, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, carrots and thyme, basil, rosemary, pepper and olive oil, Ratatouille originating from Nice; prepared with onions and beef, Soup à l’oignon; made from fish fillets, Sole Meunière; prepared with onions, olives and anchovies Pissaladière; beef, shallots, mushrooms, garlic cooked over low heat for a long time, Boeuf Bourguignon; goose liver, Foie Gras; with sweet and savory options, Souffle; created with the great harmony of apple and cinnamon, Tarte Tatin are indispensable elements of French cuisine.
Quality rather than detail stands out in Italian cuisine, emphasizing on simplicity and minimalism, creating wonders with just 4 to 6 ingredients. Places where you can have coffee in Italy are called Bars, restaurants are called Ristorante, while bistros are named Trattoria. Places where pizza is sold are called Pizzeria, and venues serving predominantly meat are named Rosticceria. In Italian cuisine, cheese types particularly mozzarella and parmesan, seafood mainly shellfish, pastas and of course pizzas especially in Naples although being great in other parts of the country have an important role. In addition to all these, rare cooked Bistecca Alla Fiorentina that you can enjoy in Florence; Pici, that you can taste in Siena prepared with water and flour; and dozens of dishes you can taste in Sicily are Italy’s indispensable flavors. The other Italian tastes are Lasagna with cheese, bolognese and béchamel sauce; Ravioli with meat or cheese; raw sirloin Carpaccio with mustard and lemon sauce that you can best taste in Venice; Calzone with mozzarella, basil and minced meat; chicken broth soup with vegetables, Minestrone; Bruschetta served with many ingredients on toasted bread; Foccacia with dried tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and olive bread; prepared with arborio rice, Pisotto; and potato pasta, Gnocchi. For dessert, Tiramisu, Panna Cotta and Cannoli should definitely be tasted in addition to ice cream.
With its spices, herbs and colorful presentations, Lebanese cuisine is a fusion of tradition and modern. Offering examples of Aegean, Mediterranean and Arabic cuisines, the main ingredients of Lebanese cuisine are yogurt, onion, garlic, pomegranate, chickpeas, bulgur and its unique taste – powdered thyme. Its prominent dishes are Lebeniye prepared with chickpeas and yogurt; chickpea paste with fried onions, Falafel and bean paste Maluf. Frequently mentioned in gastronomy world with its appetizers as well, especially hummus, thyme salad and eggplant paste are the prominent dishes of Lebanese cuisine. Most of the appetizers are usually consumed with lavash. The cuisine, preferring desserts made with sweet syrup rather than milk, is quite ambitious for its baklava, kanefah prepared with salt-less cheese and kadayıf (shredded wheat dessert). Rather than in dinners, Lebanese prefer to eat dessert during breakfast or afternoon accompanied with coffee. In addition, Cardamom Mırra that they drink with dessert is an indispensable refreshment.
As the largest country of Far East, China is deemed among world’s richest culinary cultures. For Chinese, food means health, luck and wealth. Rice, vegetables and dough are prominent in their cuisine. Soy sauce, sesame oil substituting olive oil, tofu prepared by heating soy milk like cheese and various spices are other indispensable ingredients of Chinese cuisine. Shou Zhuafan, which can be defined as a kind of rice porridge roasted with carrots and lamb meat; Shrimp ravioli, Xiajiao; Peking Duck that you can enjoy at almost every restaurant in Beijing; very hot Chongqing Huoguo; made with vegetables or meat and rolled in dough, Chunbing; Ganchaoniuhe prepared with boiled noodles fried in oil, vegetables and roasted meat with a variety of sauces; sauteed chicken meal Gongbaojiding; Nanbaorou with meat, boiled potatoes, onions and tomato sauce are among the tastes in Chinese cuisine that you should definitely try.
While various factors play a role in the formation of India’s culinary culture, the most important ones are religious. Although Buddhism and Jainism underline vegetarianism, India is affected from Mongolian and Islamic influences and has also become a master in tastes preferred by Muslims. Apart from religious elements, commercial factors have an impact on Indian cuisine as well, therefore you can experience Chinese influence in its dishes. It is possible to see bits of Chinese culture especially in soups and presentations of dishes. Commercial relations established not only with China but France, England and Portuguese have developed this cuisine. Bread, rice and spices are the ingredients most used in Indian cuisine. Curry and Garam Masala are among the most famous sauces. Keema, Chaat, Aloo Tikki, Bhaji, Naan, Biryani,Momo and Vada are the famous tastes of Indian cuisine. Dishes served in bowls made up of banana tree leaves or metal named Katoris, are served in a tray called Thalis. Regions of the country differ in terms of cooking and variety. Chicken meat is usually used in the northern region, and Mongolian influence can be seen in their cooking methods. Although spices are used abundantly in the region, the dishes are not that hot. Vegetarian dishes are preferred more in south. These dishes are quite hot.
Proving itself to the whole world in terms of seafood, pilaf types prepared with rice and noodles plus vegetable dishes are crucial elements of Japanese cuisine as well. Presentation has an important role in Japanese cuisine. Chopsticks are used instead of cutlery. These chopsticks vary in dessert and tea ceremonies. Rice, black pepper, ginger, rice sauce (mirin), soy bean paste (miso) and hot radish paste (wasabi) are used. As one of the healthiest cuisines of the world, oil and spices are not generally used and dishes are undercooked in Japanese cuisine. Usually, dishes are prepared in small portions and presentation is always underlined. Its soups like Miso, Ramen and Dashi are indispensable elements of this cuisine served before main courses. Even though the country’s most famous dish is sushi; Takabe, Fugu, Takoyak, Donburi Maki, Nabe and Tempura are among the must-haves of Japanese cuisine. Tea is served instead of dessert after meals.
Influenced by Spanish, French, Arab and Caribbean cuisines, Mexican cuisine was included to UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List in 2010. At Mexico where eating is an important part of life, culinary culture has a both religious and philosophical aspect. The most important meal is lunch in the country. Use of ingredients varies regionally, and wheat products, beef, veal and goat meat are consumed in northern parts of the country. Poultry, corn, and seafood along its coasts are preferred in southern parts. Across the country in general, corn, avocado, tomatoes, peppers, beans, rice and garlic are the most preferred ingredients. The most favored dishes in Mexican cuisine are Taco, Fajita, Quesadilla, Enchilada, Burrito, Nachos, and Tamale while Churros is among the most preferred desserts. Horchata, made with lemonade and cinnamon is a famous refreshment.
Acting as abridge for Europe with its geographic proximity and historical relationship with Africa and deeply rooted Latin America connection, Spain has hosted various cultures. Having a rich and mixed culinary culture thanks to this diversity, the country is generally dominated by Mediterranean cuisine. Benefiting from rich Mediterranean ingredients, olive oil is abundantly used in Spanish cuisine. Tapas, the snacks that can be consumed at any time of the day, is one of the indispensable elements of Spanish cuisine. Another unique taste is Paella, a kind pilaf prepared with seafood and served on a tray. Although you can try it in every part of the country, Paella’s center is deemed as Valencia, a gastronomy capital and Sevilla. Being a dish unique to Madrid, Callos a la Madrilena is a kind of tripe dish. Potato omelet Tortilla de Patatas is indispensable to breakfasts. Prepared with tomatoes, vinegar, garlic, olive oil and bread crumbs, Gazpacho is a frequently consumed Spanish soup. Also, being quite rich in terms of cheese, Queso Blanco, San Simon, Burgos, Tetilla, Manchego are among the must-have tastes of Spain.
Reflecting its religious, social and cultural richness to its culinary culture, Thailand is influenced from the cuisines of China, Indonesia, Portugal, the Netherlands, India, France and Japan. Combining sour, sweet, hot and salty tastes, the presentation of dishes are always well-balanced. Hot, salty or sweet tastes are never served consecutively. Even though dishes are generally cooked in woks in Thai cuisine, different cooking methods are also used. Exotic fruits such as mango, pineapple, papaya and coconut have an important place in Thai cuisine. These fruits accompany various dishes from soups to meat. Spices, basil, garlic, turmeric and coriander are other flavors used in dishes. Rice and noodles, the indispensable ingredients of Far Eastern countries, of course play a crucial role in Thai cuisine. Chicken and goose meat are widely consumed as well. Meats are generally combined with noodles and curry sauce. Seafood from shrimps to shellfish, calamari to mussels is an important element of Thai cuisine. The most famous dish of the country is Pad Thai, prepared with seafood or chicken meat plus lime, eggs and palm sugar and rice noodles fried in wok. Prepared with chicken meat and coconut milk adding great flavor, Phanaeng is another taste.