With its many regions that each possess their own culinary traditions influenced by cultural as well as geographic elements, it’s no wonder that Turkey has a few culinary museums to showcase this variety from Gaziantep to Istanbul. We took a look at the best culinary museums where Turkish cuisine is explored in its multitudinous facets.
MSA Gastronomy Museum
Mutfak Sanatlar Akademisi (the Culinary Arts Academy) is one of the country’s most renowned culinary schools, and it’s therefore no wonder that its founder also established a museum dedicated to food. Rare displays show the historical journey of the Turkish food and beverage industry, a one of kind journey through time. You’ll find such objects as brass coffee mills, tin cans, or sugar molds that were popular a long time ago, as well as cooking equipment such as old frying pans, oil cans, or soda bottles. The packages and labels belonging to the Ottoman and Republic period are also quite a standout, shedding light on the past.
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Located inside a historic stone mansion that goes back to the early 20th century, the Gaziantep Culinary Museum is the country’s first museum focusing on food. Opened in 2008, the museum reflects the city’s rich culinary culture including exhibitions that explore traditional cooking methods, table designs where meals were served, and hospitality. You’ll also be able to find traditional cutlery and copper items, as well as displays with information about local products, beverages, and native dishes. You’ll soon realize how multicultural the Gaziantep cuisine really is, including meat and vegetable dishes as well as baked goods from the other regions of Turkey and nearby Syria.
Having witnessed the rise and fall of many civilizations over the centuries, Hatay is another Turkish city that has an eclectic culinary culture due to its rich history. The Antakya Culinary Museum’s exhibitions display authentic culinary creations as well as kitchen tools that have gained their legitimacy over the centuries. Expressing how the city’s culinary culture developed through French, Arab, and Turkish influences, the museum explores the origin of such famous dishes as the hot and cold meze varieties like hummus and Zahter salad. With 650 different kinds of foods as well as kitchen accessories, there’s lots to see at this particular museum.
Also located in an old abandoned mansion, the Şanlıurfa Culinary Museum, in the southeastern Şanlıurfa province, exhibits the food culture of the southeastern region of Turkey with around 1,000 monthly visitors. You’ll find displays that show recreations of the local family kitchen, and village women preparing dishes for the winter. The museum also hosts classes for women six days a week where students learn basics of the traditional culinary culture through the instruction of senior chefs. Some of the region’s most well known dishes include lahmacun (a thin crispy dough topped with minced meat and spices) and Kazan Kebab, which is made with eggplant and tomato.