Turkish breakfast isn’t just a meal, it’s an experience. Designed to be social, shared, and savoured, Turkish breakfast consists of many small plates, both sweet and savoury, accompanied by bread and graced with çay (Turkish black tea) served in traditional tulip-shaped glass cups. This unique concept, named serpme kahvaltı, consists of small plates with different products and tastes, such as a cheese platter, a tomato and cucumber platter, fresh herbs, peppers, jams, tahin-pekmez (tahini and grape molasses), butter, bal-kaymak (honey and clotted cream), different types of olives, olive oil with spices for dipping bread in, eggs - either sahanda yumurta (fried eggs) or menemen (scrambled eggs with tomato and green pepper) - a spicy red pepper paste called acuka, sucuk (spicy cured beef sausage), simit (round-shaped bread dipped in molasses and topped with sesame seeds), börek (a flaky pastry that can be filled with cheese, spinach, or meat), and other Turkish pastries.
The importance of serpme kahvaltı is to share the food, which is literally spread across the entire table, and altogether to enjoy the experience with family, friends, neighbours, loved ones, or whoever is hungry! This is a highly traditional way to enjoy breakfast for long hours. Turkish people go out on weekends to have breakfast with family and friends at popular cafés and restaurants or go to the countryside for a rustic breakfast experience.
The breakfast usually starts with drinking a cup of Turkish tea and at the end, Turkish coffee is served to aid digestion. Turkish coffee is usually served with a lokum (Turkish delight) in the traditional way. Actually, the word “breakfast” in Turkish, namely kahvaltı, is a combination of the words “coffee” (kahve) and under or before (altı). This is because Turkish coffee is strong to drink on an empty stomach, and you need to eat something before enjoying it – thus, the word kahvaltı can be literally translated as “before-coffee.”
As breakfast takes long hours and is bountiful enough to fill you up, the other meals of the day can be skipped or a simple, light dinner might be adequate.
Thanks to its diverse fauna, rich culinary heritage, and abundant landscape, numerous breakfast options in Türkiye are enriched with local, artisanal products that can be found nowhere else. This stunning diversity actually reveals why breakfast means so much to Turkish people. Let’s discover together some of Türkiye’s most tempting regional breakfasts!