Finest Flavours of Türkiye: 8 Most Popular Mezes

An authentic culinary journey in Türkiye

Meze Table (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

Maza? Mezze? Meze!

It is believed that the name meze or mezze comes from the Persian word "maza", which means flavour and taste.

Mezes are served in small portions, and as the origin of the word implies, they are enticing appetizers that are meant to be shared.

This style of sharing mezes creates a more communal dining experience, where friends and family gather to enjoy delicious food and sincere conversations. 

Thanks to this cosy atmosphere, the meal becomes a leisurely enjoyable experience.

Mezes are also served at rakı and wine spreads with a variety of textures and flavours complement the beverages and the social setting. 

A fascinating mix of lengthy conversations and pleasant meals at meyhanes (Turkish taverns) are never complete without a fine selection of mezes.

Meze varieties (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

As Turkish cuisine offers an impeccable selection of mezes, one of the many ways to experience the creative variety and the intricate culinary sensibility in the food culture of Türkiye, is to savour mezes.

Various types of meze from Agean coast of Türkiye (2023-01-01) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

Lavishly Humble: Intricacy and Simplicity of 8 Mezes

Alongside the locally grown ingredients, the diversity of mezes comes from the different cultural elements which different regions inherit, as well as their interactions with geographic neighbours.

While the Aegean region offers lighter mezes, Anatolia has stronger and spicier flavours.

Meze table by the seaside, GoTürkiye, 2023, From the collection of: GoTürkiye
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A selection of meze dishes, GoTürkiye, 2023, From the collection of: GoTürkiye
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Artichokes and Mixed Aegean Herbs in Olive Oil by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

No matter the recipe, the main feature of most meze recipes is that they can be prepared within minutes with a few seasonal ingredients. 

Notably, many mezes can be prepared with only two main ingredients as unexpected flavours emerge when spices and greens are added to the mix.

Vegetable Meze Dishes by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

Veggie Mezes

Many vegetables, sometimes raw, sometimes lightly sauteed in olive oil, are either combined with yogurt, made into a paste.

These vegetables also are mixed with other ingredients creating various inspiring mezes such as Gavurdağı salatası (Gavurdağı salad) and dolma (stuffed grape leaves and peppers).

Aegean Herbs Roasted with Onions, From the collection of: GoTürkiye
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Alinazik, GoTürkiye, From the collection of: GoTürkiye
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Baby spinach with tarator sauce, GoTürkiye, From the collection of: GoTürkiye
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Carrot appetizer with yoghurt, GoTürkiye, From the collection of: GoTürkiye
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Gavurdağı Salad (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

Gavurdağı Salatası (Gavurdağı Salad)

What makes this meze special is the multiple layers of textures and flavours. The addition of crushed walnuts and nar ekşisi (pomegranate molasses) to fresh-cut tomatoes, peppers and onions offers an immersive taste experience.

Stuffed cherry leaves (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

Yaprak Sarma, Biber Dolma

Yaprak sarma (stuffed grape leaves) and biber dolma (stuffed pepper) are two wonderful additions to any traditional meze platter. 

Stuffed bellpeppers in olive oil (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

Stuffed with a filling consisting of rice, herbs, and sometimes ground meat. They are usually served as a cold meze or as a main course.

Both yaprak sarma and biber dolma are considered traditional mezes in Turkish cuisine and are often served at the same time.

Purslane with Yogurt (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

Yogurt Mezes

A great number of mezes use yogurt as a main ingredient. These creamy, healthy appetizers are a dairy-lover’s dream.

Haydari (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

Haydari

With a rich and creamy blend of yogurt, garlic, dill, and olive oil, haydari is a perfect accompaniment to a variety of dishes, and is sure to elevate any meze platter to new heights of culinary excellence.

Mütebbel (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

The tangy and savoury flavours of the yogurt are perfectly balanced by the aromatic herbs and spices, creating a harmonious blend of tastes and textures that will tantalize the taste buds and leave you wanting more.

Roasted eggplants with yoghurt (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

Yoğurtlu Patlıcan (Roasted Eggplants with Yogurt)

Numerous yogurt mezes, in addition to a large number of Turkish dishes, are made with eggplants. While these exquisite recipes include eggplant stews, kebabs, eggplant fries and even pickled eggplants, yogurt mezes with eggplants are relatively simple.

Roasted eggplants with yoghurt (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

Finely chopped, roasted eggplants are mixed with yogurt, and in some recipes with tahini, and minced garlic and olive oil are added for extra flavour.

Fava (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

Mezes with Legumes

Legumes, especially beans are a staple ingredient in Turkish cuisine. They are often used in traditional dishes such as soups, stews, and meatless meals.

Fava (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

The most well-known legume-based mezes are pilaki and piyaz prepared with dry beans.

White bean salad with tahini dressing (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

Piyaz

Piyaz has a fresh and tangy taste, thanks to the combination of tomatoes, onions, and vinegar, which are the main ingredients. The white beans add a creamy texture and a nutty flavour. The herbs and spices, such as parsley and sumac, give it a nice aroma and a slight spiciness.

Borlotti beans braised in olive oil (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

Pilaki

Pilaki, on the other hand, has a more robust and hearty flavour. The beans provide a creamy texture and a nutty taste, while the tomatoes, onions and garlic add a nice sweetness.

A variety of seafood meze (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

Seafood Mezes

Featuring a harmonious blend of the freshest catch of the day and traditional Turkish spices, expertly crafted seafood mezes will surely tantalize your palate and elevate the dining experience to new heights of culinary excellence.

Stuffed mussels (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

Midye Dolma (Stuffed Mussels)

The mussels are stuffed with a mixture of rice, herbs, and spices, and then cooked in a lemon and tomato sauce, making them a delicious dish! A squeeze of lemon to add a tangy taste and to enhance the flavours of midye dolma is the best way to give this wonderful meze a try!

Salted bonito (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

Lakerda

Lakerda, made from cured toric or bonito,  is an invigorating meze that serves as a luscious way to preserve seasonal fresh fish to enjoy throughout the year!

Salted bonito (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

Lakerda is often served as a meze along with rakı, a traditional anise-flavoured spirit.

Salted bonito (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

The taste of Lakerda is quite rich and savoury, balanced by the acidity of the lemon juice and the freshness of the dill.

A meze table by the seaside (2023) by GoTürkiyeGoTürkiye

Bringing the local harvest, seasonal seafood and the freshest dairy all together, endless variations of mezes will surely make one fall in love with the Turkish way of dining.

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