Turkish cuisine is considered to be one of the three main cuisines of the world due to its variety of recipes and its distinctive tastes. Olive oil is one of the most frequently used ingredients. Dolma (stuffed) dishes, the most popular in Turkey, are where vegetables such as vine leaves, green peppers, tomatoes and eggplants are stuffed with rice and spices and served cold.
Cheese is a popular menu staple especially at breakfast. There are a great many regional cheeses, with white cheese and kasar being the most popular. The best breakfasts consist of warm fresh bread, creamy white cheese, butter, honey and home-made preserves, home-cured black and green olives, garden fresh sliced tomatoes and a farm-fresh boiled egg. Tea is the traditional breakfast beverage.
The variety of snacks can be plentiful and provide a welcome alternative to the hamburgers and pizza offered in tourist cafes. Lahmacun, a thin round bread with spicy minced meat topping, can be tasty and in seaside resorts deep-fried mussels can be found.
Raki, the main alcoholic drink of Turkey, is made from grapes and anise and is best when consumed along side a leisurely meal of mezes (appetizers). These starters are served on small plates and include fresh salads, white cheese, pickled tuna, mussels stuffed with rice, dolmas and pickles.
Turkish coffee, drunk after each meal and on every possible occasion, is unique in its preparation and taste. Turkish Delight is a specialty known around the world and almond and pistachio fondants are another Turkish treat exported throughout the world.