Top Turkish Food And Drink You Don’t Want To Miss
Turkish cuisine is a fascinating blend of various cooking styles. Situated between Asia and Europe, Turkey’s cuisine is a unique and exotic fusion that has influences from several countries.
Since the time of the Ottoman empire, Turkey has been a center of trade, particularly in spices, and Ottoman chefs borrowed, adapted, and perfected dishes from various other kitchens. The results of this culinary blending have spread far beyond its borders. Turkish-style pastries, such as the ever-popular baklava, made with filo pastry and nuts, are now enjoyed in many neighboring countries.
The Turkish use of spices in many dishes and the traditional method of grilling food, especially meat, over charcoal, has also spread to neighboring nations and beyond.
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Discover the Best Turkish Foods: A List of Must-Try Dishes
1. Şiş Kebap
If you’re a fan of classic shish kebab, you’re in for a treat with the Turkish version, known as şiş kebab. This popular dish originated in Turkey and features chunks of marinated lamb, chicken, or fish placed on a wooden or metal skewer and grilled over a coal fire until they are perfectly cooked. Unlike other versions of kebab, Turkish şiş kebab is typically served without vegetables, allowing the flavor of the meat to take center stage. The result is always tender, savory, and delicious, and is often served with bread on the side.
Köfte is one of the most beloved dishes in traditional Turkish cuisine. These meatballs made from ground beef or lamb are seasoned with onion, herbs, and spices, and can be served in a variety of ways. Köfte can be stewed, served in sandwiches, over salads, or simply with yogurt on the side. The versatility of köfte has made it a staple in Turkish cuisine, and it’s not hard to see why – the combination of flavorful meat and spices is truly delicious. So, whether you’re looking for a quick snack or a hearty meal, köfte is definitely worth trying when you visit Turkey.
This traditional Turkish breakfast specialty is called Menemen. It is a delicious and hearty dish made with eggs cooked in a mixture of sautéed vegetables including green peppers, onions, and tomatoes, and seasoned with spices such as salt, pepper, and oregano. The dish is served hot with fresh bread to dip, spread or scoop up the savory mixture. Menemen is a popular breakfast choice among locals and tourists alike, and it’s not hard to see why. The combination of fresh ingredients and bold flavors make for a satisfying and flavorful start to the day.
4. Turkish Pilav
Pilav is a beloved dish in Turkish cuisine, consisting of rice cooked in a seasoned broth. The rice is buttery and toasted, with a golden color achieved by lightly sautéing it in corn oil before adding the broth. Pilav is often served with a side of yogurt, which complements the dish perfectly. This flavorful and versatile dish is a staple of Turkish dining tables, enjoyed at both lunch and dinner. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor this delicious and traditional Turkish dish!
One of the most well-known Turkish foods is Manti. At first glance, it may remind you of ravioli, but once you take a bite, you will discover that this traditional Turkish dish has a unique taste and texture. Small beef or lamb dumplings are boiled or fried and served with yogurt or butter, and often accompanied by a variety of different spices. There is a wide variety of Turkish Manti to choose from, and each one is delicious.
6. Turkish Dolma
Dolma is a popular Turkish dish consisting of stuffed grape leaves. It has its roots in the former Ottoman Empire and is also found in neighboring regions such as the Caucasus, Russia, Central Asia, and the Middle East.
In Turkish cuisine, dolma can refer to any vegetable stuffed with a rice-based mixture, which may include a small amount of ground meat. The stuffing is seasoned with a variety of spices, with lemon salt being a particularly important one.
This unique seasoning gives dolma its aromatic taste, which cannot be replicated with a simple combination of lemon juice and table salt.
7. Mercimek Çorbası (lentil soup)
Mercimek Çorbası, also known as lentil soup, is a beloved Turkish dish that is perfect for warming up on a chilly winter day. With a cumin mixture and just the right amount of spices, it is both filling and comforting. In Turkey, it is common to have soup for breakfast, as well as for lunch and dinner, and Mercimek Çorbası is a popular choice any time of day.
8. İmam Bayıldı
This stuffed eggplant is one of the most celebrated Turkish dishes, and it is delicious, hearty, and versatile.
The eggplant is typically filled with a mixture of rice, meat (usually lamb or beef), herbs, and spices, and then smothered in oil and butter before being cooked on the stovetop or baked in the oven. This dish, known as “Karniyarik,” is a popular main course in Turkish cuisine and is often served with yogurt or salad on the side.
9. İskender KebabI
One of my favorite Turkish dishes is İskender Kebab. This dish is a popular order at any kebab house and consists of long strips of lamb cooked in a special tomato sauce, served with rice and pita bread alongside yogurt. Personally, I love the combination of flavors and textures in İskender Kebab, and it’s a must-try for anyone visiting Turkey.
10. Künefe (Kunafa)
While its origins can be traced back to Arab cuisine, Turkish Künefe is a unique and delicious dessert that is a must-try for any foodie. It consists of cheese baked with shredded pastry dough and is topped with pistachios.
Künefe is a popular choice for special occasions or a night out, as it can be difficult to make at home.
11. Döner kebab
Döner kebab is a popular Turkish dish consisting of meat that is cooked on a vertical rotisserie. The meat is typically served with vegetables, spices, and garlic yogurt.
This dish can be found at many takeaways and is similar to dishes found in other cultures, such as the Greek gyro, Arab shawarma, and Mexican al pastor, all of which are also cooked on a vertical rotisserie.
This is something you will see everywhere while walking around Istanbul. Simit is one of the most popular snacks on the go or light meals, and it is available throughout the day. It is a circular-shaped piece of bread topped with sesame seeds. Literally, everywhere you go in Istanbul, you will see street vendors selling simit from their carts.
13. Tavuk göğsü
Tavuk göğsü, or chicken breast pudding, is a unique Turkish dessert made with shredded chicken breast meat, milk, and sugar, flavored with cinnamon. Despite its unusual combination of ingredients, it is surprisingly delicious and has become one of Turkey’s signature dishes. It was even served to the Ottoman sultans in the Topkapı Palace.
14. Kuru fasulye
Kuru fasulye is a delicious stewed bean dish that is a staple of Turkish cuisine. It is typically made with white beans and stewed with meat, along with olive oil, onion, and tomato sauce. The tomato gravy used in the dish has many fans, who can even tell which chef (called “usta” in Turkish) cooked it just by tasting it. Kuru fasulye can be found in many restaurants and eateries throughout the country, and is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.
15. Balık ekmek
Balık ekmek is a popular Turkish fish sandwich, often served as street food along with various vegetables, inside a Turkish pide bread. Whether you’re enjoying the seaside in Antalya or walking along the Bosphorus in Istanbul, it’s common to see floating fish restaurants docked at the shore serving balık ekmek. Don’t miss the opportunity to try it out for a delicious and unique dining experience.
The moment I tasted Turkish pide, I knew it was something special. Often called Turkish pizza, this bread is stuffed with beef, cheese, minced meat, or vegetables in the center. It is traditionally cooked in clay or stone ovens and shaped in an oval boat or round shape. Pide is usually served cut up with a wedge of lemon. In addition to street vendors, there are also pideci, or Turkish pide shops, that solely bake and serve these flatbreads, often with a side of shepherd’s salad, creating a delicious flavor combination.
17. Baklalı Enginar
Peeled artichokes dressed with olive oil and lemon juice are a delicious Turkish appetizer. The inner pod is filled with fresh broad beans and dill, which adds a unique touch to the artichoke dish. This appetizer is served cold with beans and fresh parsley, making it light and perfect for a summer meal.
Kuzu Tandır is one of the most beloved lamb dishes in Turkish cuisine. It’s a popular traditional dish that features lamb slowly cooked until it falls away from the bone and melts in your mouth like cotton candy. It’s often served with rice or potatoes and yogurt, making for a filling and satisfying meal.
18. Su Böreği
Turkish pickles are usually made with a vinegar and salt brine, and can be flavored with spices like dill, garlic, and bay leaves. They are a great way to add flavor and texture to a meal, and are also believed to aid in digestion.
22. Turkish Delight (Lokum)
These delightful treats come in a variety of flavors and fillings and are typically shaped into small cubes and topped with powdered sugar. While pre-packaged versions are available, it’s best to enjoy Lokum when it’s fresh, as pre-packaged varieties can be light on fillings and heavy on sugar.
23. Maraş Dondurma
24. Ayran (Turkish yogurt drink)
25. Turkish coffee
26. Mozaik Pasta
It gets its name from its mosaic-like appearance when sliced. Mozaik pasta is a favorite dessert to serve at parties or gatherings, and it’s easy to make at home with simple ingredients.
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