The Breakfast Club: Turk kahvaltısı

Breakfast is, hands down, my favourite meal of the day. It definitely is part of my morning routine and usually I plan my time – which sometimes involve getting up quite early – so I get at least half a hour to enjoy this part of the day, catching up with the news over my cup of tea. I don’t think I’ve ever left home without having breakfast, that would be the same feeling as leaving my phone or wallet home.  There are many times, as unhealthy as that sounds, I even tend to have breakfast food for my other meals as well, just for the comfort it provides.

Now, what do we call breakfast food? Living with two people of different nationalities, this has become quite the debate in our room. And even when I look back, my breakfast options have definitely evolved over the years and definitely changes given the country I am in. Breakfast tends to be a cultural thing and here in Turkey, you even have special breakfast houses you can go to for the whole Turkish breakfast experience. Hence, my roommates and I have decided to document, as far as possible, the different breakfasts in our lives, past and present and future.

Today was the Turkish breakfast, of course. When I first came to Turkey, I have to say, I was a bit shocked at the options we had for breakfast and instead of eating what was offered at the cafeteria, I used to buy everything from the market and eat in my room. I’ve changed quite a lot since.

A typical breakfast as a student in Ankara
A typical breakfast as a student in Ankara

The staples for a Turkish breakfast are definitely tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and lots of cheese with bread served on the side. Most of the breakfast I’ve had in Turkish homes also include chips (yes in the morning!) as well as sautéed aubergines, peppers and carrots. Sometimes, more often than not, there would be some sort of sausage or Turkish sujuk on the table as well, for some who’d like to start the day with meat. Different types of jam of course is a must, as well as some honey.

As a recently converted vegan, I’ve had to make quite a change to my diet, especially for breakfast. Instead of the buttery poğoça, Turkish breakfast rolls, which definitely include eggs and dairy as its main ingredients, I’ve turned to having simit, Turkish ring bread, in the morning, a ring bread made from flour and (usually) grape molasses topped with sesame seeds, which are definitely as yummy if not more than what I used to have before.

Simit fresh from the oven
Simit fresh from the oven

Olives are definitely the best swap for cheese than I could imagine. I used to have them only once in a while but they have become an everyday thing now. My favourite is the ones green ones stuffed with pepper although I’ve grown quite fond of plain black olives as well. The tomato and pepper sauce, known as breakfast sauce (kahvaltı sos), with walnut and hazelnuts is a recent addition to my table and I simply cannot get enough of it.

Quite a queer part of breakfast for me at first, but a must now.
Quite a queer part of breakfast for me at first, but a must now.

If there’s one thing I was worried about replacing, it was my nutella and I have to say, I have done quite well in that aspect. I’m now having traditional Turkish hazelnut spread, fındık ezmesi, made from hazelnuts (of course!), sugar and vanilla flavour. And of course, let’s not forget the yummy varieties of jam that we have here; fig jam is a personal favourite.

Hazelnut spread and jams. Where do I start?
Hazelnut spread and jams. Where do I start?

And of course, unlimited supply of black tea is what makes a Turkish breakfast complete. Afiyet olsun!

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8 thoughts on “The Breakfast Club: Turk kahvaltısı”

  1. Oh how I miss Turkish breakfasts! It’s the perfect start into the day. I should go to the Turkish market as soon as possible and get myself the necessary ingredients. Turkish olives are my absolute favourites as well. The black ones. 🙂

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