My family and I love traditional Turkish breakfasts. It is far and away our favorite Turkish meal. We try the Turkish breakfast everywhere we go and whenever we get the chance, and we’re always on the lookout for the best place, the best taste, and the best price. Sometimes we even think that the traditional Turkish breakfast might be the world’s best meal.
Invariably, all traditional Turkish breakfasts (at least in the Bursa region) consist of tomatoes, cucumbers, black and green olives, white cheese, fresh bread, and some kind of spread such as jam, honey, butter, sweet cream, or a spicy tomato-pepper paste called salçı. From there, some places will add fried or hard-boiled eggs, cold-cut meats, fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, and a stuffed and fried pastry called börek. Some restaurants may also offer other tasty items with their breakfasts such as sour cream-stuffed grilled red peppers or a scrambled egg and vegetable dish called menemen. Turkish breakfasts are usually served family style and always come with black tea.
Many cafés and hotels in Bursa serve a good breakfast, each with its own special variation. There are a few places in town I’d recommend for breakfast. Cumalıkızık is famous for traditional Turkish village breakfasts and visiting this Ottoman village for breakfast is an absolutely essential activity while you’re in town. You can also find good breakfasts in other Bursa villages such as Misi and Derebahçe. Nicer hotels tend to offer open breakfast buffets, which are often extensive. The breakfast buffets at the Marigold Hotel and Holiday Inn, for example, are among the best I’ve had. I would also highly recommend the Turkish breakfast at Hünkar Köşkü, the museum/social club on the mountainside just above the Setbaşı neighborhood. At Hünkar Köşkü, an outstanding variety of traditional breakfast food can be enjoyed in a peaceful mountainside café overlooking the city. My wife’s favorite Turkish breakfast is served at Özsüt Café on F.S.M. Boulevard. This excellent breakfast features a nice variety of items, Earl Grey tea, and hands-down the best honey-sweet cream spread that we’ve ever tasted.
No matter what your itinerary is while you’re in Bursa, do be sure to put an authentic Turkish breakfast on your to-do list.
The good thing, though, is that even if you’re not in Turkey, you can easily enjoy a Turkish-style breakfast in your own home. Try this tasty combination, most of which can be prepared beforehand and kept in the fridge:
- Sliced tomatoes and cucumbers (and green peppers if you’d like)
- Green and black olives (MUST be fresh olives—not out of a jar!)
- Two or three cheeses of your choice (one should probably be soft feta, just to be authentic)
- Sliced beef summer sausage
- Hard-boiled or fried eggs
- A loaf of sliced fresh bread (can be toasted if desired)
- Seasonal fresh fruit
- Dried fruit (particularly figs or apricots), served with walnut pieces
- Honey, butter, and at least one jam of your choice
Serve family style with a pot of black tea. It’s a delicious way to start your day, and you’ll be enjoying what we think may very well be the world’s best meal. Afiyet olsun! (Bon appetit!)