We conducted a case-control study to assess risk factors for typhoid fever in Diyarbakir, Turkey, a region where transmission of Salmonella typhi is endemic. We prospectively identified febrile patients from Diyarbakir and the surrounding area who were admitted to hospital. Cases were defined as patients who had S. typhi isolated from at least one blood culture. Sixty-four cases with blood culture-confirmed S. typhi were identified between May 2001 and May 2003. In total, 128 age- and sex-matched controls selected from neighbourhoods as cases were enrolled. We hypothesized that consumption of raw vegetables contaminated with sewage would be associated with an increased risk of typhoid fever. Conditional logistic regression modelling revealed that living in a crowded household (OR 3·31, 95% CI 1·58–6·92, P=0·002), eating cig kofte (a traditional raw food) (OR 5·29, 95% CI 2·20–12·69, P=0·000) and lettuce salad (OR 3·55, 95% CI 1·52–8·28, P=0·003) in the 15 days prior to symptoms onset was independently associated with typhoid fever. We conclude that living in a crowded household and consumption of raw vegetables outside the home increase the risk of typhoid fever in this region.