Bitlis cuisine is based on meat, fish and bulgur. Edible wild plants of the region are complementary elements of dishes. While büryan (small pieces of lamb or goat meat slowly cooked in deep ovens) is the most famous meat dish of Bitlis, Bitlis kibbeh is also a popular local dish. Temperate effect of Lake Van (Van Gölü), and high mountains surrounding the area makes watery valleys of Bitlis arable. Hazelnut grows in Hizan and walnut grows in Adilcevaz. The province has a developed livestock breeding industry. Cheese making and beekeeping are also widely practiced.
Bitlis is one of the oldest centres of apiculture. The province is renowned for its astragalus and thyme honeys. Bitlis honey is mostly made in industrial hives and cylindrical hives covered with a special mud. Karakovan honey of Bitlis has a nationwide fame for its unique characteristics: it is made from the nectarl of endemic plants that grow at an altitude of 2.500 metres and this gives the natural and additive-free Karakovan honey a very delicious taste and a pleasant smell.