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Turkish Airlines Introduces Exciting New Dishes to Its In-Flight Menu

The updated menus will include a selection of locally-inspired dishes as well as international favorites

by Fergus Cole

May 17, 2023

Photo: Courtesy of Turkish Airlines.

Turkish Airlines is refreshing its famed in-flight menu in all cabins on both domestic and international flights to incorporate more local flavors and ingredients.

Türkiye’s flag carrier is already well-regarded for its catering, serving meze (appetizer) dishes at the start of each meal and impressing business class customers on long-haul flights with restaurant-quality meals prepared by a “Flying Chef.”

Photo: Courtesy of Turkish Airlines.

That’s why the airline bagged the world’s best Business Class catering prize in the 2022 Skytrax World Airline Awards and was named Europe’s best airline for food and beverage by APEX that same year.

Foodies and frequent flyers will be relieved to hear that Turkish Airlines isn’t scrapping its famous menu, just expanding it with new offerings.

Photo: Courtesy of Turkish Airlines.

The carrier is a little light on the specifics of the “renewed” menu but has teased dishes such as a dana kebab with begendi-smoked eggplant puree, homemade mezzelune pasta, and “hidden Turkish taste gems” like nohutlu icli kofte (stuffed meatballs, also known as kibbeh, with chickpeas) and lahmacun (a flatbread topped with minced meat and vegetables, sometimes described as Turkish pizza).

Business Class passengers now have the choice of three main course breakfast options instead of two and can liven up their early morning with other new additions such as pancakes, crepes, French toast, and healthier breakfast items.

Later in the day, premium travelers can choose between a hand-minced, charcoal-grilled Adana kebab, grilled fish, homemade pasta, dumplings, or spaghetti—all served with regional appetizers. Non-alcohol “mocktails” and detox drinks will also be made fresh and served in the premium cabin.

Photo: Courtesy of Turkish Airlines.

Further back in Economy Class, early birds can nosh on egg dishes, homemade muesli, and cheese—all fresh arrivals to the breakfast menu. Regional appetizers will be served alongside freshly-made pasta and grilled dishes for lunch and dinner.

The Do & Co catering company has prepared the dishes using boutique culinary methods designed for cooking large volumes of high-quality food. Eighty percent of the ingredients used are from local supplies, including Rize tea, a black tea from the Rize province on the Black Sea; Afyon kaymak, a clotted cream made from buffalo’s milk, produced in the Afyonkarahisar Province in Türkiye’s Aegean region; and Erzincan honeycomb, sourced from the highlands of eastern Türkiye.

“We have prepared a menu that features traces of both traditional Turkish cuisine and world cuisines,” Turkish Airlines chairman Ahmed Bolat said.

Photo: Courtesy of Turkish Airlines.

The airline and Do & Co showed off these new dishes at a “food fashion show” in Istanbul earlier this month, presenting the meals as they would be served at 30,000 feet. And there were no plastic forks in sight: instead, guests were given reusable porcelain crockery and stainless-steel cutlery.

To avoid waste, Turkish Airlines will also swap out paper menu cards for a digital menu—a change that might be more sustainable but will likely irk diners weary of Covid-era QR menus.

Photo: Courtesy of Turkish Airlines.

Bolat said the digital menus and other tweaks, like “reducing plastic use and packaging waste,” conform to the airline’s “sustainability principle.”