If you’re trying to eat fewer carbohydrates or want to get in shape for the beach, Turkey might not be the best place to visit. It can be hard to resist the delicious Turkish food that makes your mouth water. The food you will eat in Turkey is strongly influenced by the cooking traditions of the Ottoman Empire, which include flavors from Central Asia, the Balkans, and the Caucasus.
Besides the irresistible Turkish sweet treats and tasty grilled meats on skewers, the country has an abundance of other delicious dishes that you should definitely try. Turkish food combines tradition, history, and a variety of regional specialties in a harmonious way. In this article, we will take you on a tantalizing adventure through Turkey’s vibrant food scene as we explore the top local dishes to savor.
- Kebabs: A Meat Lover’s Paradise
When talking about Turkish food, we can’t forget to mention kebabs. These juicy meat skewers are cooked perfectly on an open flame and come in different types. Doner kebab is a popular street food made with thinly sliced seasoned lamb or chicken. Adana kebab, which comes from the city of Adana, is a spicy minced meat mixed with herbs and grilled just right. If you want a unique taste, try Iskender kebab. It includes sliced lamb served on bread soaked in tomato sauce and topped with melted butter and yogurt. Kebabs are often served with freshly baked flatbread, fragrant rice pilaf, and zesty sumac onions.
- Meze: A Gastronomic Tapestry
Meze, a collection of small dishes, is a significant part of Turkish cuisine. These appetizers are meant to be shared and enjoyed with friends and family. Treat yourself to a variety of flavors and textures, like haydari (a creamy yogurt dip), hummus (a spread made from chickpeas), patlıcan salatası (a smoky eggplant salad), and dolma (grape leaves stuffed with tasty fillings). Other popular meze choices include cacık (a refreshing dip made with cucumber and yogurt) and sigara böreği (crispy pastries filled with cheese). Meze is best enjoyed with a glass of rakı, which is Turkey’s traditional alcoholic drink with a hint of anise flavor and one of the the best food to eat in Turkey.
- Lahmacun: Turkish Pizza
Lahmacun, sometimes called Turkish pizza, is a popular food you can find on the street. It’s made of a thin and crunchy dough covered with a tasty mix of ground lamb or beef, tomatoes, onions, and herbs. Just add some lemon juice on top, roll it up, and savor the burst of flavors in every mouthful. It’s common to see people in the area enjoying lahmacun as a fast and delightful meal or snack to eat in Turkey.
- Pide: Turkish Flat-Bread
Pide is a kind of Turkish flatbread, like pizza but with its own special style. It usually has an oval shape and is covered with different toppings. You can taste the traditional pide with Turkish sausage, cheese, and egg, or discover different types like the Black Sea pide, which has anchovies and cornmeal on top. The bread is soft, and the toppings are spread generously, making a delicious combination of tastes to eat in Turkey.
- Manti: Turkish Dumplings
Manti, also known as “Turkish ravioli,” is a well-liked dish that reflects influences from Central Asia. These small, handmade dumplings are stuffed with seasoned ground meat, like lamb or beef, and typically come with melted butter, yogurt, paprika, and mint on top. The soft dumplings burst with flavor, and the mix of the creamy sauce and tangy yogurt creates a perfect balance of tastes in your mouth.
- Baklava A Sweet Layer Of Delight
A trip to Turkey wouldn’t be complete without treating yourself to baklava, a divine dessert made of thin, flaky pastry layers filled with finely chopped nuts like pistachios or walnuts, and soaked in sweet syrup. Baklava is a masterpiece of Turkish sweets, representing the ultimate indulgence. The delicate layers of pastry, generously covered with crushed nuts and syrup, create a perfect combination of textures and flavors. Every bite is a delightful blend of sweetness and nuttiness, making it a truly luxurious treat.
- Turkish Tea And Coffee
In Turkey, tea and coffee are not just drinks; they are an important part of social life. Turkish tea, also called çay, is a black tea made using a special teapot called a çaydanlık. It is served in small glasses shaped like tulips and is a symbol of welcoming hospitality. You’ll often see locals enjoying lively conversations while savoring their tea. Turkish coffee, on the other hand, is a strong and flavorful brew made by boiling finely ground coffee beans. It is traditionally served in small cups, accompanied by a glass of water. Drinking Turkish tea or coffee is a cultural experience that you shouldn’t miss.
- Turkish Delight
Enjoy the delicious pleasure of Turkish candy! Believe us when we tell you that trying this classic dessert to eat in Turkey is really enjoyable. If you haven’t had the opportunity to go to Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, it’s a great place to start discovering the many choices you have. Turkish candy comes in different types, often containing chopped dates, pistachios, and walnuts. The flavors vary from rosewater, lemon, mastic, to orange, and each piece has a delicate sprinkle of powdered sugar on top.
- Balik Ekmek: Turkish Sandwich
If you’re a fan of seafood, you absolutely have to try Balık Ekmek, a special dish in Turkey. This tasty street food comes from Istanbul and includes grilled or fried fish, usually, mackerel or sea bass, served in a crunchy bread roll. The fish is cooked perfectly and served with fresh veggies like lettuce, onions, and tomatoes. A squeeze of lemon and a little salt enhances the flavors, making it a refreshing and fulfilling choice, especially when enjoyed by the water’s edge.
- Iskenderun, künefe: Sweet Cheese Delight
Hailing from the city of Iskenderun, künefe is a rich dessert consisting of shredded pastry, filled with melted cheese, and soaked in sweet syrup. The cheese used is usually a white, unsalted kind that adds a mild salty taste, balancing the sweetness of the syrup. The dish is baked until the cheese melts and the pastry turns golden and crispy. Served hot, künefe is often garnished with a sprinkle of pistachios or enjoyed with a scoop of creamy ice cream, resulting in a heavenly blend of flavors.
Turkey’s food scene is full of delicious flavors, combining influences from different cultures and regions. From tasty kebabs and flavorful appetizers to the sweet treats of baklava and künefe, Turkish cuisine provides a wide variety of dishes that will excite your taste buds and make you want more. Exploring the local food in Turkey is not only a culinary journey but also a chance to experience the country’s rich history and traditions. So, when you visit Turkey, make sure to go on a food adventure and enjoy the delicious local cuisine this fascinating country has to offer.