Food allergies are
a problem for many people, including
some who travel to Turkey. In some
cases allergies can be a dangerous—even fatal—problem.
Did you know that some people
can die just from
eating a peanut? One peanut!
Or even a small part of
one peanut. Or a mushroom. Or a squirt of lemon juice.
My daughter tested positive for peanut
allergy when she was a few years old,
so I know the problem. The doctor said
that if she were seriously allergic,
even licking a peanut might send her
into anaphylactic shock and
Although she now tests negative to
this allergy and eats peanuts without
incident, I will never forget those
days of checking every single thing
she ate for peanuts (they're in all
sorts of things you'd never
So I have heartfelt sympathy for travelers
with food allergies who go to Turkey. Read
this about awareness
of food allergies in Turkey.
By the way, the Neyzade Restaurant in the Sirkeci Mansion Hotel in Istanbul is sensitive to food allergies, and always has gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan choices available. More...
If you have food allergies, the pages
described below may help you. I ask
that you also help me to improve them.
If you have a food allergy, send
me a message so that I can help
you and other travelers avoid problems. After
you return from your trip, send
me a message telling me about your
experience so that I can improve these
pages, and the safety and happiness
of future travelers.
Avocado is not an ingredient in traditional Turkish cuisine, having been introduced to the country only a few decades ago, but it may be used in Turkish nouvelle cuisine, so you must watch out for it. More...
Green beans (French beans, string beans, Fine beans; in Turkish fasulya = singular, fasulye = plural), varieties of Phaseolus vulgaris, are popular in Turkey. More...
Broccoli (brokoli, Brassica oleracea) is not a part of traditional Turkish cuisine, having been introduced to Turkish cooks only in the years after 2000. Broccoli allergy may not be a big problem during your trip to Turkey. More...
Capsicum peppers—green, bell, sweet, hot/spicy—are common foods in Turkey. If you're allergic to them, you must be on your guard, but you'll still dine well. More...
Most citrus fruits—oranges, grapefruits, lemons—are visually identifiable, but Turkish chefs use lemon juice early and often. Here's how to find and avoid citrus fruits during your trip to Turkey. More...
Corn (maize, mısır in Turkish)
is not a big part of the Turkish diet,
but it is used, and you should be on
the lookout for it. More...
Eggs (yumurta) are not uncommon
in Turkish cooking, but they are not
in everything. Most of the time you
can see them, sometimes they are hidden. More...
Seafood is among the glories
of Turkish cuisine,
but it should not be difficult to enjoy
wonderful Turkish food while avoiding
fish (balık) and seafood (deniz
If you have this inherited enzyme
deficiency, you must not eat Fava beans
(broad beans). More...
Wheat is a popular ingredient in the
Turkish diet, but there are many gluten-free
foods and treats. More...
If you are allergic
to lamb and mutton, you may
have to take extreme caution while
in Turkey. Lamb/mutton is the "national
meat" and is used in all sorts
of dishes. More...
Different from tree nuts, legumes are a very common part of the Turkish diet, so you must be very careful. More...
Dairy products play an important part
in the Turkish diet, but Turkey is
not a "dairy country" like
Denmark or Holland. More...
Mushrooms (mantar) are not
widely used, but you will encounter
them, so you must be careful. More...
Mustard (hardal) is used in Turkey, but
it's not common. You should be able
to avoid it easily, and enjoy Turkish
There is a danger from tree nuts, but for most travelers
it is small and manageable. More...
Turkey produces lots of olives and olive oil, and these have been a basis of Anatolian cuisine for millennia. Here's what you need to know to dine well and safely, traveling with olive allergy in Turkey. More...
Many Turkish recipes begin "Chop six
large onions...," but you can
still dine well and healthily on your
trip to Turkey. More...
Turkey produces lots of citrus fruit,
but oranges are used mostly for juice,
fresh fruit and garnishes. More...
Peanuts are eaten mostly as a snack, but other legumes are very important and common in the Turkish diet. More...
Turkey's national street snack is the simit, a bread roll covered in sesame seeds—easily avoided. But sesame seeds and oil may show up in other foods as well. More...
Turkey raises a lot of sunflowers,
mostly for snacks and cooking oil. More...
If your allergy is to some
me, give me details,
and I'll offer whatever help I can.
—by Tom Brosnahan