How To Talk About Food And Drink In Turkish

Will that be a meze plate to share?
spread of Turkish dishes from overhead

Little could be worse than being in a country like Turkey with no way to communicate your appetite and thirst. If the thickly ground coffee doesn’t get you going, try being surrounded by the smell of flaky börek or döner kebab all day with only your stilted English to lean on for survival. With just a few basic Turkish food words in your arsenal, you can navigate the delicious smells of Istanbul like a slightly more sophisticated tourist — and maybe even talk your way into a few menu items you normally wouldn’t know to order.

Here are a few essential Turkish food words you’ll want to study before your trip (or merely to round out your studies). Click each word below to hear how it’s pronounced.

Essential Turkish Food Words

Meal-Related Words

Starter — meze

Main course — ana yemek

Side dish — garnitür

Dessert — tatlı

Sunday breakfast* — pazar kahvaltısı

Lunch — öğle yemeği

Dinner — akşam yemeği

Vegetarian — vejetaryen

*”Sunday breakfast” is kind of like the Turkish version of “brunch” in the U.S. For regular breakfast, say kahvaltısı.

Food Words

To eat — yemek

Fruit — meyve

Potato — patates

Bread — ekmek

Cheese — peynir

Meat — et

Beef — sığır eti

Pork — domuz eti

Poultry — kümes hayvanları

Fish — balık

Seafood — deniz ürünleri

Drink Words

Drink — içecek

To drink — içmek

Mineral water — maden suyu

Tap water — musluk suyu

Soft drink — soğuk içecek

Juice — meyve suyu

Coffee — kahve

Milk — süt

Lemonade — limonata

Wine — şarap

Beer — bira

Tea — çay

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