Hatay is a city which has hosted 13 of the 23 civilizations established in the world, where Turks, Arabs, Armenians, Circassians, Christians, Muslims and Jews lived together for centuries and where cultures collated and civilization was born. This cultural richness is reflected in its cuisine. Hatay cuisine is a typical Mediterranean Cuisine that uses fresh vegetables, olive oil, legumes and grains.
Grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, local herbs and spices grown in Hatay constitute more than 650 dishes unique to Hatay Cuisine. With its richness, Hatay cuisine was declared a Gastronomy City in 2017 within the scope of UNESCO Creative Cities Network.
Hatay Cheese and Salted Yoğurt
One of the items that makes Hatay breakfasts unique is a variety of cheeses specific to Hatay. There are local cottage cheese types such as Hatay Tulum çökeleği and Antakya Zahterli Carra Çökeleği. Sürk cheese, a cottage cheese kneaded with plenty of fresh herbs and spices, takes its place on the tables after being dried under the sun.
Salty yoğurt is another flavor unique to Hatay. Salty yoğurt is used in meals, soups and pastry making, and with its sour and intense taste, it adds flavor to every meal in Antakya. Salty yoğurt, which is also indispensable for breakfast, is mixed with olive oil and chili peppers and consumed on bread.
Other cheese types unique to Hatay:
- Antakya Yayladağ taze peyniri
- İskenderun Künefe peyniri
- Hatay Ezme peyniri
- Hatay Yayladağ Keçi peyniri
- Hatay Sünme peyniri
- Hatay Sıkma peyniri
This syrup is obtained by boiling pomegranates collected from high mountainous areas in August-September over a wood fire for 6 hours. Pomegranate syrup, which has a honey-like intense flavor, is an indispensable element of Hatay cuisine.
Although künefe is one of the first flavors that comes to mind when you think of Hatay, Haytalı is also one of the desserts that must be tasted. This dessert, which consists of a combination of pudding, rose water and ice cream, appeals to the eyes with its color.
Künefe is the world-famous dessert of Hatay. It is prepared by cooking shredded wheat with local unsalted Künefe cheese in copper sinis on a coal fire slowly and pouring sherbet over it, and consumed while hot.
Künefe is made all over Hatay and sold in workplaces that serve as Künefeci (shops selling künefe). Although the material used in künefe is the same, its taste varies according to its master. You can try the künefe made in Antakya Center and Harbiye and decide which one is better according to your own taste.
In Hatay Kunefeciler Bazaar, both the necessary ingredients for künefe and frozen ready-made künefe are sold ready for domestic and international travel.
Oruk is Hatay style stuffed meatballs. It is mostly prepared on special occasions and religious festivals, since its preparation is very demanding. Oruk differs from stuffed meatballs in shape, and its flavor differs with local ingredients.
Fresh zahter (a blend of powdered thyme) grown wild in the mountains of Hatay and grown in thyme fields has an important role in the local cuisine. Zahter salad, which is consumed both for breakfast and as an appetizer, blended with parsley, onion, pomegranate syrup, olive oil and various spices, is a taste that every visitor to Hatay must taste.
Although it is not one of our first cities that comes to the mind when kebab is mentioned, Tepsi Kebab, Belen Tava and Kağıt Kebab are among the tastes that must be tasted in Hatay.
Katıklı ve Pepper Bread
Baked with a special sauce prepared with spices, peppers, tomato paste and onion, biberli ekmek is a food that complements the breakfast tables of almost every house in Hatay.
Katıklı ekmek made of hot pepper paste and spicy cottage cheese added to thinly spred bread dough can be consumed while warm straight out of the oven at any time of the day.