İzmir has been home to various communities throughout history. This variety is also found in İzmir cuisine. The settled or nomadic Turks living in and around Izmir, the Greeks, Levantines, the Sefarats, the ones from the Western Thrace and islands (Crete, Chios, Mytilene), Macedonians, Bosniacs, Albanians and Arabs of African origin form the diversity of this culture.
At first glance, Mediterranean cuisine and vegetables, herbs and fish dishes flavored with olive oil attract attention in İzmir cuisine. The Mediterranean attributes of İzmir cuisine is mostly seen in the coastal areas. You can find the best examples of vegetable and herb dishes flavored with olive oil, and dishes made from fish from the gulf, in the districts of Urla, Karaburun, Seferihisar, Tire, Foça, Çeşme, as well as in central İzmir.
On the other hand, the culinary culture of nomadic life and livestock activities on the basis of meat, milk and wheat can be found in the rural areas of İzmir. Bergama, Kınık, Kiraz, Menemen, Ödemiş, Tire are districts that are examples for these cuisine .
Tire district tandoor ( oven made in a hole in the earth ) , Tire dumplings, all kinds of roasting, scalding, pasty herbs are found in this variety. Stuffed lamb or capricorn, various pastries, sweets, (rice pudding, stripping, curd baklava, etc.), leaf wrapping and zucchini stuffing samples can be found.
Keşkek is the indispensable meal of weddings in almost every district. Together with Keskek, people also serve one of the desserts such as rice pudding, zerde, or höşmerim (called “sündürme” in Karaburun) . Another wedding dish that is considered as important as keskek in Menemen, Ödemiş, Seferihisar-Payamlı and Dikili is “topalak”. In the districts of Ödemiş and Dikili, a dessert called “dibile” is definitely served during weddings and festivals.
İzmir has a wide variety in terms of street tastes. You can find İzmir’s “gevrek and boyoz” in every corner of the city and these are indispensable for breakfasts. Another popular snack “kumru” (a special type of sandwich), cold cut meat, shish kebab and sherbet that cools you in summer are easy to find in almost every part of İzmir, especially in Kemeraltı bazaar.