Turkish Food: 15 Traditional Dishes to Try in Turkey


Turkey is known for therefore many issues, together with historical past, seashores, nature, and its traditions, however I’ll allow you to in on a secret—the meals in Turkey is like nowhere else on earth. If you’re a foodie, you’ve simply discovered your match: each area is known for one thing, and the highest dishes are well-loved for an excellent motive. Traditional dishes to attempt in Turkey are plentiful.

I lived in Turkey for a number of years, and I nonetheless go to steadily now. My husband is Turkish and if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have opened my culinary thoughts and tried as many scrumptious kinds of Turkish meals as I’ve. This is arms down probably the greatest locations to attempt one thing new, and even when you’re a choosy eater, you’re positive to be tempted to give new dishes a go merely due to how wonderful they give the impression of being and scent.

15 Best Foods to Try in Turkey

There’s a lot well-known meals in Turkey, that you simply would possibly wrestle to know the place to begin—that’s the place this checklist comes in. The first time I visited, I didn’t perceive lots when it got here to the meals, and as ashamed as I’m to admit this now, I caught with the common worldwide fare. Don’t make the identical mistake; there’s far an excessive amount of deliciousness to get caught in a culinary rut.

In this checklist, you’ll discover 15 of the tastiest and most well-known meals to attempt throughout your go to to Turkey. It doesn’t matter the place you’re visiting in Turkey, or what area, as you’ll discover these meals in every single place, and so they’re all fairly affordable in phrases of value too. You would possibly acknowledge a few of them, however even when you don’t, be courageous and pattern them anyway: I promise you received’t be dissatisfied.

1. Döner Kebab
(Most Famous Food to Try in Turkey Overall)

When you consider Turkish meals, you in all probability consider the döner kebab first. Now, I ought to level out that that is nothing just like the dry or greasy kebab you get on an evening out after the membership again residence; it is a juicy, scrumptious, and downright mouth-watering deal with. You don’t have to smother this in ketchup and mayonnaise to make it style good – it does all that by itself.

Döner kebab is usually both beef (mostly) or hen, and it’s cooked on a big rotisserie. The server slices items off the vertical “skewer” and layers them in your wrap, bread, or pitta, together with salad and sometimes fries. You can inform them when you don’t need any particular elements added, and notably with hen, a yogurt sauce could also be added.

As far as Turkish avenue meals goes, that is essentially the most well-known of all of them, and also you’ll discover distributors promoting it in every single place. However, the perfect döner I’ve ever tried was from Karadeniz Döner Asım Usta in Beşiktaş, Istanbul. The meat is all the time juicy, and the queue ought to let you know how good it’s—get there early as a result of as soon as it’s gone, they shut for the day.

Karadeniz Döner Asım Usta Information

Address: Sinanpaşa, Mumcu Bakkal Sokağı No:6, 34353 Beşiktaş/İstanbul
Phone: +90 212 261 7693
Operating Hours: Monday – Saturday, 10.30 am – 5.30 pm, closed on Sundays
Average Cost of the Dish: 150TL/$5

2. Turkish Breakfast (Including Menemen)

Traditional Turkish dish. Fried vegetables with scrambled eggs in a cast iron frying pan on a wooden table.

I’m going to cheat a bit of right here and add an entire meal slightly than a selected meals: if I listed the whole lot in a Turkish breakfast, I’d be right here all day. Breakfast is essentially the most well-known meal of the day in Turkey, and it’s recognized regionally as ‘kahvaltı’. You could have seen photos of a desk crammed with small plates containing varied meals, corresponding to cheese, tomatoes, cucumber, chilly meats, eggs, jam, honey, and far more – nicely, that’s a Turkish breakfast.

A typical breakfast in Turkey goes on for hours, and also you merely spend time speaking, sipping çay (tea), and nibbling on the whole lot on the desk. My favourite factor a couple of Turkish breakfast is menemen – a sizzling breakfast dish consisting of peppers, typically onions, tomatoes, tomato paste, and eggs. It’s blended collectively, and also you eat it with bread—wonderful.

For essentially the most epic Turkish breakfast, head to Van Kahvaltı Evi in Beyoğlu, shut to Taksim, Istanbul. If you’re visiting on the weekend, get there early because it’s extraordinarily widespread with locals. However, I all the time suppose that’s the perfect mark of high quality, and this place hasn’t dissatisfied me as soon as (and I’ve been many occasions).

Van Kahvaltı Evi Information

Address: Kılıçali Paşa, Defterdar Ykş. 52/A, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
Phone: +90 212 293 6437
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday, 8 am – 5 pm
Average Cost of the Dish: 400TL/$14

3. Lahmacun

Grind meat on a layer of pita and tomato with green leaves on the top—a side dish of vegetables, lime, and mayonnaise.

Another well-known dish of Turkey is lahmacun, usually referred to as Turkish pizza, though I don’t suppose it’s something like pizza in any respect. Lahmacun is a skinny and crispy flatbread that’s topped with minced lamb, tomatoes, and spices after which cooked in a wood-fired oven. It’s then eaten rolled up with onions, greens, and tomatoes inside, smothered in lemon juice.

Gaziantep is known for lahmacun, and that is the place you’ll discover the spiciest of all of them. The server will ask you if you’d like it acılı (spicy) or acısiz (not spicy), so select in accordance to your preferences. I all the time go for the non-spicy choice as a result of in Turkey, after they say spicy, they actually do imply spicy!

You’ll discover lahmacun very simply throughout your complete nation, and the perfect I had was at Düveroğlu Kebap Salonu in Ankara, famed amongst locals as the perfect in the realm. In some locations, the lahmacun is usually a little soggy, however right here was the crispiest and tastiest; I extremely suggest stopping in to attempt it for your self when you’re in the realm.

Düveroğlu Kebap Salonu Information

Address: Mutlukent Mahallesi, 2432. Cadde & 1924 Sk. 117-119-121, 06810 Ümitköy/Çankaya/Ankara
Phone: +90 031 223 51111
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday, 11 am – 10 pm
Average Cost of the Dish: 90TL/$3
Website: https://duveroglu.com.tr

4. Pide

Turkish pides with vegetables on wooden cutting board.

One of the preferred meals in Turkey is definitely pide. Just like lahmacun, you’ll discover this positively in every single place, and it comes in differing kinds. Pide is a flatbread, however it is a little thicker than lahmacun and formed like a ship, with an open filling in the center.

The commonest filings embody mince meat (kıyma), cheese, cheese and spinach, meat, and peppers (kuşbaşılı), and typically you’ll discover it with a fried egg on high. This is an inexpensive meals in Turkey and is usually served with salad on the facet. It’s historically from the Black Sea coast, notably Trabzon; when you occur to be in the realm, it’s the perfect place to attempt it.

I had the perfect kıymalı pide from Terminal Pide Trabzon, and I stumbled upon it by chance, just because there appeared to be a queue forming outdoors, so I figured it could be good. I wasn’t flawed. However, it doesn’t matter what metropolis or area you’re in, pide is a meals that’s very straightforward to discover.

Terminal Pide Trabzon Information

Address: Sanayi, Terminal Sk. No:4, 61100 Ortahisar/Trabzon
Phone: +90 462 325 0436
Operating Hours: Monday – Saturday, 8 am – 7 pm, Sunday 8 am – 6 pm
Average Cost of the Dish: 200TL/$7

5. Gözleme

on a wooden table, there is a pancake Gözleme with cheese and herbs. A cherry tomato, tea, and a fork and bread knife

Another of my favourite meals, and one which historically goes with breakfast. Gözleme is one other sort of flatbread, however this one is barely completely different because it’s created from both selfmade bread or yufka, which is filo pastry. It’s filled with quite a lot of completely different fillings, together with potato, cheese, and spinach, or minced meat and onion.

Gözleme is usually cooked on a sac griddle, which is a big, domed pan over a excessive warmth. Watching gözleme being made in the standard method in a village is sort of hypnotic, and also you’ll possible need to give it a go your self after witnessing it. It’s a conventional native meals in Turkey, and it can be eaten as a avenue meals.

My favourite filling is potato, however you too can discover candy variations, corresponding to Nutella by itself or with banana, or tahini. Gözleme is a typical meals in Turkey to take pleasure in with a sizzling glass of çay (tea), and I cherished the one I had in Ankara at Sevgi Anne Gözleme. This is a meals well-known from the central Anatolian area and making an attempt it from the place it originated offers you the tastiest outcomes.

Sevgi Anne Gözleme Information

Address: Üniversiteler, Şht. Jnd. Astğmn. Mustafa Tayyarcan Cd. No:129, 06800 Çankaya/Ankara
Phone: +90 312 227 0201
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday, 9 am – 7 pm
Average Cost of the Dish: 100TL/$3.50

6. Mantı

Traditional Turkish food. Dough stuffed with meat and onions serving with garlic yogurt topping.

If you’ve ever been to Cappadocia or finished any analysis into it, you’ll in all probability know that mantı is a well-known meals from this lovely area, however total, it’s a must-eat in Turkey no matter the place you’re. It’s troublesome to put into phrases what this dish really is, however the closest description is a sort of ravioli or dumpling that’s crammed with meat or cheese, after which both boiled or fried (çıtır mantı). It’s normally served with yogurt and garlic.

This is a well-liked dish everywhere in the nation, however when you’re in Cappadocia or the central a part of the nation, you’ll discover the tastiest mantı. I attempted it for the primary time at CANCAN Cafe & Restaurant in Cappadocia, and it’s an important spot to go when you’re touring with youngsters; the costs are actually affordable, and it’s a laid-back spot to take pleasure in your meal. The mantı was actually flavorful, and you’ll select between the fried or boiled/steamed variations.

You’ll in all probability hear mantı referred to as Turkish ravioli, particularly on worldwide menus, so when you do see that, they’re one and the identical.

CANCAN Cafe & Restaurant Information

Address: Avcılar Mahallesi, No.27, 50180 Göreme/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir
Phone: +90 038 427 12440
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday, 11 am – 11 pm
Average Cost of the Dish: 250TL/$8.50

7. Güveç

A mix vegetables on casserole and a wood spoon on the top.

If you need to attempt really genuine Turkish meals, you may have to give güveç a attempt; in truth, when you’ve had it, you’ll be hooked, and also you’ll need it again and again – belief me. You can eat this scrumptious meal any time of the yr, however I feel it really works rather well in the winter months if you’re after one thing heat and hearty to fill you up.

Güveç is among the most conventional dishes in Turkey, and it’s a stew-style meal that’s made with slow-boiled meat, normally beef. The meat is left to cook dinner for a number of hours, so it falls aside and melts in your mouth. Peppers, onions, tomatoes, and garlic are added, together with pepper salça, which is a sort of tomato paste, and it’s left to cook dinner till the whole lot melts into each other.

This dish is normally served with rice, however don’t be afraid to seize some recent crusty bread and use it to mop up that scrumptious tomato gravy on the finish. Güveç is one in every of my favourite conventional dishes and when you’re in the Istanbul space, head to Nişantaşı Güveç for an unforgettable model of this well-known meal.

Nişantaşı Güveç Information

Address: Teşvikiye, Akkavak Sk. No:36, 34365 Şişli/İstanbul
Phone: +90 212 224 2464
Operating Hours: Monday – Saturday, 8 am – 8 pm, closed on Sundays
Average Cost of the Dish: 200TL/$7

8. Cağ Kebabı

A large amount of meat cooked on a steel stick in a wood oven.

The first time I visited Istanbul my husband insisted that we go to a small restaurant in Fatih referred to as Şehzade Cağ Kebap. I had no concept what I used to be it was, however as soon as we arrived, the place was packed; I figured it have to be good. I wasn’t flawed; cağ kebabı is among the high must-try dishes in Turkey, and when you love lamb, you’ll adore this well-known avenue meals.

Rather than cooking the meat on a vertical rotisserie like döner, cağ kebabı is cooked on a horizontal spit with layers of marinated lamb that’s so juicy, you received’t fairly imagine it. I ought to clarify that I don’t like lamb once I’m in the UK, however this lamb is one thing very particular certainly. It’s served on a big kebab stick, and also you eat it with recent lavaş, onions, and tomatoes.

I loved the meal I had at Şehzade Cağ Kebap a lot, and I’m reliably knowledgeable that that is the perfect one, although the dish really hails from Erzurum. I’ve returned a number of occasions since, and when you occur to be in the realm, I extremely suggest you seize a desk right here.

Şehzade Cağ Kebap Information

Address: Hoca Paşa, Hoca Paşa Sk. No:6 D:4, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul
Phone: +90 212 520 3361
Operating Hours: Monday – Saturday, 10.30 am – 10.30 pm, closed on Sundays
Average Cost of the Dish: 170TL/$7

9. Köfte

A meatballs and green leaf garnished and a fork on the side.

One of essentially the most well-known and simply discovered kinds of meals in Turkey is köfte, which is basically a sort of grilled or barbecued meatball. There are various kinds of köfte, together with Muğla köfte and Izmir köfte to point out simply two, and the distinction comes down to its form and the spices used. However, I feel Izmir köfte is the tastiest of all of them, and when you’re in the town, that is one thing you have to attempt. You’ll discover common köfte completely in every single place.

Köfte might be served on a plate with potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, and rice as a predominant meal, or it may be loved as a avenue meals in both a wrap or on bread. Either method, it’s scrumptious and is a well-known dish in Turkey, thanks to its versatility. You’ll additionally discover köfte in a sauce or a stew.

If you’re strolling round Istanbul or Izmir in specific, you’ll discover avenue distributors cooking köfte in entrance of you and the scent is certain to make your mouth water. It’s fairly a problem to stroll previous with out giving in. I had the perfect köfte at a small spot in Izmir referred to as Köfteci Turgay; the köfte was so juicy, and I loved it a lot, that I went again once more the very subsequent day.

Köfteci Turgay Information

Address: Alsancak, 1456. Sk. No:92/B, 35280 Konak/İzmir
Phone: +90 232 404 0033
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday, 11 am – 9 pm
Average Cost of the Dish: 200TL/$7

10. Adana Kebab

A meat shape on long, two grilled green peppers, grilled tomato, and scrambled egg on a white plate.

As the identify suggests, Adana kebab is a sort of Turkish delicacies that hails from the southern metropolis of Adana. If you want spice, you’re going to take pleasure in this one, however you too can ask for it to be made barely much less spicy in case your tastebuds can’t fairly deal with the warmth. Either method, it’s a really well-known and simply discovered dish, though the perfect ones are definitely discovered in its namesake metropolis.

Adana kebab is fabricated from minced lamb and spices that are mixed collectively and formed over a protracted kebab skewer. It’s then cooked over an open hearth to guarantee a slight crunch on the skin and loads of juiciness in the center. The skewer is eliminated earlier than dishing up, and it’s sometimes loved with lavaş, tomatoes, and onions, and served alongside rice or bulgur.

You may get Adana kebab in a wrap, which is a well-known sort of avenue meals you’ll be able to seize on the go. Either method, when you’re in Adana itself, ensure you add this to your must-try checklist; I can extremely suggest Adana Ege Kebap Salonu, as can the various locals who flock there, particularly at weekends.

Adana Ege Kebap Salonu Information

Address: Cemalpaşa, Ege Taksi içi, Kapalı Spor Salonu Karşısı, 63014. Sk. No:2, 01120 Seyhan/Adana
Phone: +90 543 457 3628
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday, 9 am – 11 pm
Average Cost of the Dish: 200TL/$7

11. Dolma

A rolled green vegetable on a wooden bowl.

Dolma is a standard meals in Turkey and in addition across the Balkans, courting again to Ottoman occasions. There are various kinds of dolma, however essentially the most well-known is vine leaves filled with rice and spices. You may discover dolma containing minced meat, or fish, nonetheless, the seafood model is much less widespread.

The dolma is wrapped up right into a cigar-like form after which boiled in liquid till it’s all absorbed and served whereas nonetheless heat. You’ll normally discover dolma served with lemon slices, and I like to drench mine for a very zingy style. The beauty of this dish is which you can eat it sizzling or chilly, so when you’ve got any left, merely put them in the fridge and luxuriate in them afterward.

Dolma is discovered everywhere in the nation, and it’s a brilliant conventional dish that almost all households will make sooner or later by any given week. I had actually scrumptious dolma in Kadıköy on the Asian facet of Istanbul, in a small restaurant referred to as Çiya Sofrası; the flavors burst in my mouth, and that’s the place I discovered my love for this well-known dish.

Çiya Sofrası Information

Address: Caferağa, Güneşli Bahçe Sok, 34710 Kadıköy/İstanbul
Phone: +90 216 418 5115
Operating Hours: Monday – Thursday & Sunday, 11.30 am – 10 pm, Friday & Saturday, 11.30 am – 10.30 pm
Average Cost of the Dish: 170TL/$6

12. Iskender Kebab

Traditional Turkish Iskender Kebab with Roasted Vegetables

You’ll in all probability have come to notice by now that there are numerous kinds of kebab to attempt, and imagine me, I’ve solely launched you to a small handful; there are numerous extra. However, Iskender kebab is among the most well-known and conventional meals in Turkey. The dish hails from Bursa, however as with most of those dishes, you’ll discover it very simply irrespective of the place you’re in the nation.

Here, sliced döner meat is served on high of chopped pitta bread, and is then lined in yogurt and a sizzling tomato and butter sauce. You’ll discover this dish in eating places and small takeaways, though you’d typically eat it inside, as it may be fairly messy! What I like about Iskender is that it’s not dry like another grilled meat kebabs might be, and the bread completely soaks up the yogurt and tomato sauce.

In phrases of what to eat in Turkey, this dish could be very well-known, and even when you’re not Bursa, it’s another choice you’ll discover in every single place. However, it’s all the time greatest in its residence place, and I’d extremely suggest Uludağ Kebapçısı Cemal & Cemil Usta in the Osmangazi space of Bursa for a really conventional model.

Uludağ Kebapçısı Cemal & Cemil Usta Information

Address: Ulu Mahalle, Uluyol Caddesi, 16. Şirin Sk. No:12, 16220 Osmangazi/Bursa
Phone: +90 224 254 7264
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday, 11 am – 7 pm
Average Cost of the Dish: 250TL/$8.50
Website: uludagkebapcisi.com

13. Baklava

Baklava with Ground Pistachios on a white plate.

When visiting Turkey, you should attempt baklava, whether or not it’s your first time or not. This is a type of meals that vacationers love, and locals take pleasure in on particular events, and it’s well-known throughout the nation. You’ll discover baklava in most high-end eating places as a dessert and in native patisseries (bakeries) to purchase by weight.

Baklava is a type of meals in Turkey that you simply solely want a really small quantity of it, as a result of it’s fairly wealthy and candy, however there are differing kinds so you’ll find your favourite model. I like the unique sort essentially the most, which is fabricated from layers of filo pastry with honey syrup and pistachio filling – it’s scrumptious with ice cream too.

I feel baklava makes an important reward for family and friends again residence, and Köşkeroğlu Baklava Tophane is a high spot to purchase it. The selection on supply is big, and so they reward wrap it in a tin to make it look actually fancy. Of course, it won’t make it that far – I wouldn’t blame you for consuming it your self earlier than your return residence…

Köşkeroğlu Baklava Tophane Information

Address: Hacımimi, Kemeraltı Cd. No:46, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
Phone: +90 053 097 74821
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday, 8 am – 12 pm
Average Cost of the Dish: Varies relying on weight
Website: koskeroglu.com.tr

14. Kuru Fasulye

Turkish cuisine; Lamb and beans in tomato sauce and onions.

Kuru fasulye is arguably the staple meals of Turkey and it’s a conventional home-cooked meals that almost all households take pleasure in at the very least as soon as every week. You’ll additionally discover it in most residence meals eating places across the nation, generally known as ‘ev yemek,’ and it’s fairly affordable in phrases of value and is straightforward to make.

Put merely, kuru fasulye means ‘dry beans,’ however the dish in normal is a white bean stew in a tomato sauce. It’s sometimes served with rice and bread and sometimes comes as the principle course after soup and salad. The dish might be made with a small quantity of meat (normally beef), or it may be vegetarian.

This is a typical Turkish meals that’s cooked all year long and is discovered completely in every single place, nonetheless, the tastiest home-cooked meals like that is discovered in the southeast, with an entire host of scrumptious spices to make the dishes much more scrumptious. İspir Fasülyeci Diyarbakır is very advisable by many locals as a high place to do this conventional meals.

İspir Fasülyeci Diyarbakır Information

Address: Yenişehir, Lise 5. Sk. No:6, 21100 Yenişehir/Diyarbakır
Phone: +90 412 999 4720
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday, 9 am – 10 pm
Average Cost of the Dish: 100TL/$3.50

15. Çiğ Köfte

A raw meatball in Turkish with lettuce, tomato, pickle, and lemon, hot çiğköfte

When you first see çiğ köfte you’ll surprise what on earth it’s, however seems might be very deceiving and you’ve got to give it a attempt. This is a really wholesome and flavorful meals of Turkey and one that you simply’ll discover in many small vendor shops across the nation. The different plus level is that it’s tremendous low-cost so it’s an important avenue meals choice when you’re on a funds.

Çiğ köfte hails initially from the southeast of Turkey, notably the Urfa and Adıyaman space. It’s a mix of bulgur wheat, tomato paste, and spices which are kneaded collectively till extraordinarily easy and served both in lettuce with pomegranate and lemon juice or in a wrap with no matter salad elements you want. You may ask for a spicy or non-spicy model.

There are massive firms that make this well-known dish, corresponding to Komagene and Oses, however there are small distributors too, and also you usually discover the tastiest variations from locations like that. Çiğ köfte everywhere in the nation however if you’d like to attempt essentially the most conventional model, head to Adıyaman and take a look at Yeni Nesil Adıyaman Çiğköfte Kenan Usta, a favourite amongst locals.

Yeni Nesil Adıyaman Çiğköfte Kenan Usta Information

Address: Kapcami, Eski Kahta Cd. No:10, 02100 Adıyaman Merkez/Adıyaman
Phone: +90 416 216 0282
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday, 10 am – 12 pm
Average Cost of the Dish: 100TL/$3.50

Must-Try Foods in Turkey: FAQs

Here are some solutions to essentially the most generally requested questions on must-try meals in Turkey:

What are essentially the most conventional meals in Turkey?

A typical meal in Turkey includes soup to begin, rice, meat, greens, and salad. The most well-known conventional meals are subsequently güveç and kuru fasulye. However, kebabs are additionally widespread, with an enormous vary out there, together with Adana kebab, Urfa kebab, and Iskender.

What is the nationwide meals of Turkey?

Turkish delicacies is extraordinarily diversified, however the kebab is undoubtedly the nation’s most well-known dish. You’ll discover numerous various kinds of kebabs with diversified meats. Doner kebab might be essentially the most well-known of all of them, and also you’ll discover a lot of these eating places all through your complete nation.

What’s the preferred meals in Turkey?

The hottest meals in Turkey is tough to pinpoint, however doner kebab is extraordinarily widespread, together with lahmacun and pide.

Which space is greatest for meals in Turkey?

Every a part of Turkey is known for a selected delicacies, with Izmir well-known for köfte, Cappadocia famed for its mantı, and Adana for its Adana kebab. However, for a diversified mixture of dishes, you’ll be able to’t beat Istanbul; you’ll discover the whole lot you’re on the lookout for in this big metropolis.

Is Turkey recognized for avenue meals?

Some of the perfect meals in Turkey falls beneath the road meals umbrella. Doner kebab, börek, pide, çiğ köfte, köfte, and kokoreç are a few of the most well-known kinds of avenue meals on supply.

In Conclusion

Turkish meals is a few of the greatest in the world. Perhaps I’m a bit of biased, however spending massive quantities of time in the nation has opened my palate to fully completely different flavors that I in all probability wouldn’t have dared attempt in any other case. Whether you’re a meat lover, all in regards to the greens, otherwise you’re into super-spicy delicacies, you’ll discover one thing you’ll fall in love with.

Different components of the nation are well-known for particular dishes, however there are some all-rounders, corresponding to lahmacun, pide, and güveç that excel irrespective of the place you’re. And in fact, you’ll be able to’t begin the day with out a full and hearty Turkish breakfast!

So, put together your abdomen for a plethora of scrumptious tastes in your upcoming go to to Turkey—you actually received’t go away hungry.

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