I’ll be honest, a food review was the last thing I was expecting to do on a 1 hour domestic flight from Istanbul to Kayseri, the closest international airport in Cappadocia.

Turkish Airlines, a carrier well known for great food, has taken some slack in recent months for not bringing back food service as quickly as other major carriers. However, as of earlier this summer the full food service was brought and Turkish Airlines offer is back to what it does best.

I started my trip with a solid meal in Turkish Airlines business class from Newark to Istanbul so my expectations are always high with this airline.

We’ve featured Turkish Airlines before in our list of airlines with the best food but don’t get to fly it often to see if it continues to live up to the hype.

I was booked on a short hop from Istanbul to Cappadocia in October. At a little over 1 hour of flight time I was shocked to see meal service provided, in economy nonethless.

Even though I ate not to long before boarding I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try what Turkish had to offer.

As the plane got to cruising altitude the flight attendants started service.

Turkish Airlines 737 Economy Meal Wrapped

They served each passenger their own “picnic box” that included a sandwich, eggplant, and juice. Water was available on request but there was no dedicated drink service. No big deal as I’m sure they would be cutting the timing close.

Turkish Airlines 737 Economy Meal

I eagerly unwrapped everything and was ready to dive in. On first look, it didn’t look all that great.

A cheese sandwich, eggplant in tomato sauce, and a peach juice. Surely Turkish wouldn’t be serving something bad given their reputation for having great food so I didn’t pay too much time to how it looked.

Turkish Airlines 737 Economy Sandwich 3

A very welcome feature was the default option was vegetarian. It had two pieces of cheese, tomatoes, some lettuce, and cucumbers. Given that Turkish people consume a lot of meat I liked that they made this option include to vegetarians.

Turkish Airlines 737 Economy Sandwich 2

The cheese itself looked just ok and there wasn’t much to the sandwich. However, Turkish cheese is actually excellent and I thought the same with this sandwich despite its looks. It tasted fresh and didn’t have too much flavor but was overall not a bad sandwich.

Turkish Airlines 737 Economy Eggplant

The eggplant actually looked pretty good and it tasted even better. This was easily the highlight of the meal and I found the portion to be just right. The eggplant was soft and well spiced with tomatoes and oil.

I instantly had a great idea that elevated my entire meal. I decided to combine the two by adding eggplant to the sandwich and it took it to a whole other level.

Turkish Airlines 737 Economy Sandwich

The eggplant was the key missing ingredient to take an ok sandwich and make it exponentially better. Without it the sandwich was a bit bland but combining the eggplant with the cheese and veggies made it a great meal.

I easily finished the sandwich and went to the juice that was also a bit refreshing. To no surprise it was sugar filled but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

This was my first time trying Turkish Airlines food in economy and even though short haul it did not disappoint.

Other carriers could learn a lot from Turkish that puts so much value on food and they often hit it out of the park.