Food & Drink

Turkish Cuisine Week – An International Celebration of Türkiye’s Ancient and Sustainable Culinary Tradition

H.E Emir Salim Yüksel, Ambassador of Türkiye to Kuala Lumpur

I am so honoured to be invited to the exclusive dinner event held by Ambassador Emir Salim Yüksel for Malaysian chefs and members of the media last Friday in conjunction with Turkiye Cuisine Week (21-27 May 2023).

One with H.E Emir Salim Yüksel, Ambassador of Türkiye to Kuala Lumpur

I had the opportunity to sample the regional cuisine of Hatay, one of the cities in the gastronomy field of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, during the dinner event last Friday, which was held at the Ambassador’s official residence here, through a demonstration session by renowned Turkish chef, Chef Turgay Gündodu.

H.E Emir Salim Yüksel, Ambassador of Türkiye to Kuala Lumpur is in a conversation with Members of the Media

The annual Turkish Cuisine Week, which takes place from May 21 to 27, is an international celebration of Turkish cuisine, which has traces of many different civilizations and is fueled by a fertile geography and a rich history. The regional cuisine of Hatay, which has been named the “26th Gastronomy City of the World” by the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, will receive special attention during the second edition of Turkish Cuisine Week. The Turkish Cuisine Week will also highlight Turkish food culture’s commitment to sustainable and zero-waste production practices.

Turkish Cuisine Week is coordinated by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Türkiye. The diplomatic missions of Türkiye throughout the world organised a variety of events and social media campaigns to highlight the distinctive flavours of Hatay cuisine.

The international events for Turkish Cuisine Week this year include a special menu featuring flavours from Hatay cuisine. One of the Turkish cities that stands out for its unique cuisine is Hatay, which is a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in the culinary arts. High-quality olive oil, grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, native herbs, and spices are all combined in Hatay cuisine, which is characterised by its fertile soils and Mediterranean climate.

From left – Raja Syahiran (Malaysian Singer), Chef Ismail, Uyaina Arshad (Host and Actress) and H.E Emir Salim Yüksel, Ambassador of Türkiye to Kuala Lumpur

Turkish Cuisine Week began in Malaysia with an exclusive dinner hosted by His Excellency (H.E.) Emir Salim Yüksel, the Turkish Ambassador to Kuala Lumpur. This was followed by an online activity with Chef Maximilian J. W. Thomae and a Turkish Cuisine demonstration workshop with 29 students from Le Cordon Bleu Malaysia featuring ksr (fine bulgur salad) and Sini Kebab/Tepsi Kebab.

Turkish chef, Chef Turgay Gündodu demonstrating kisir, a fine bulgur salad with tomatoes and fresh herbs

Türkiye Embassy in Malaysia Kick-Started the Turkish Cuisine Week
The Turkish Ambassador to Kuala Lumpur, H.E. Emir Salim Yüksel, organised an exclusive dinner as part of Turkish Cuisine Week to unveil this year’s special menu, which featured regional dishes from Hatay cuisine.

Through the week-long Turkish Cuisine Week, the healthy, traditional, waste-free and sustainable nature of the deep-rooted Turkish cuisine is promoted on an international scale. Türkiye is among the top five countries with the most intangible heritage values inscribed on UNESCO’s list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Among these, we also have traditional recipes from Turkish cuisine, such as flatbread, as well as keşkek, a Turkish dish with meat and wheat; and mesir paste, consisting of 41 herbs and spices. Turkish coffee is also part of the UNESCO Intangible Heritage List, symbolising not only a special brewing technique but also a rich communal traditional culture and history.

said H.E Emir Salim Yüksel, Ambassador of Türkiye to Kuala Lumpur
Welcome Remarks by H.E Emir Salim Yüksel, Ambassador of Türkiye to Kuala Lumpur

H.E. Emir Salim Yüksel also said that cultural heritage, as defined by UNESCO, goes far beyond just monuments and artefacts; it actually includes customs, rituals, skills, and recipes that we pass down from our ancestors to our descendants. The dishes we prepared for the guests today are from Hatay, one of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network cities in the gastronomy field.

At the dinner, renowned Turkish chef Turgay Gündodu demonstrated how to make “stuffed grape leaves with meat” and kisir while serving the Hatay menu, which included biberli ekmek (flatbread with red pepper paste), olive salad, hummus, kisir, and “kunefe” (a kadayif dessert with cheese).

Chef Turgay Gündodu demonstrated the dishes to the Le Cordon Bleu Malaysia students

Ancient, Sustainable, Zero-Waste, Healthy and Timeless Traditions of Turkish Cuisine
A live online cooking demonstration by Chef Maximilian J. W. Thomae using regional ingredients and traditional cooking methods provided attendees of the Turkish Cuisine Week event with a comprehensive overview of traditional and sustainable Turkish cuisine. Those who were invited to watch the live streaming had the chance to learn about the diverse and rich Turkish cuisine, as well as about its capacity and willingness to adapt to changing eating and drinking trends. Participants got a hands-on introduction to the sustainable and waste-free cooking techniques used in Turkish cuisine. Turkish eating and drinking rituals, which were built around emotions of unity, togetherness, and cultural sustainability, brought participants together around healthy and time-tested recipes.

Chef Turgay Gündodu (front, second from left) with culinary students from Le Cordon Bleu Malaysia

Hatay a Table of Civilisations
Chef Turgay Gündodu also conducted a demonstration class for 29 culinary students from Le Cordon Bleu Malaysia as part of his efforts to promote the city’s culinary heritage, which has been influenced by the fact that it has historically been home to a variety of civilisations. The students had the chance to get their hands on some kisir and Sini/Tepsi kebabs during the demonstration.

Interesting isn’t it? Get more information on Turkish Cuisine Week from this website:

One for the Blog

About Türkiye
Located in the Mediterranean Sea and connecting the Asian and European continents that are separated by the famous Bosphorus, Türkiye is a unique destination and a hub for cultural interaction. In addition to its perfect climate, Türkiye inspires visitors with its history, nature and gastronomy, all of which reflect the diversity of civilisations from over many centuries. Located at the crossroads of cultures, Türkiye has a distinctive understanding of art and fashion which is the synthesis of tradition and modernity, and its dynamic shopping and entertainment life also attracts visitors from all over the world. For more information about Türkiye please visit:

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