Traveling is about so much more than seeing things. It is supposed to be a complete experience where you absorb the new environment, its smells and sounds, its culture, and its food. After all, food is a big part of a countries' heritage, and we can honestly say that Turkish food is not only delicious, it is a big deal. If you want to understand what Turkey is all about, you need to try the local food in Turkey. Turkish cuisine is diverse and regional, it is traditional, healthy, and the result of a melting pot of influences due to the geographical situation and the rich history of the country. But most of all, Turkish food will literally give you a taste of what the omnipresent Turkish hospitality is all about. Have a taste of Turkey!
[caption id="attachment_5148" align="alignnone" width="1280"] Food In Turkey[/caption]
Must-try Turkish food
Which Turkish food should be on your list to get a genuine taste of Turkey? We've made a tasty selection of typical and regional food in Turkey that will appeal to sweet teeth and savory lovers. Afiyet Olsun! (Enjoy your meal!)
Must-try sweet food in Turkey
This traditional dessert dates back to Ottoman times and is served either hot or cold. It is a rich dessert composed of layers of filo and chopped nuts, held together with honey or sugar syrup. Make sure to try a few different kinds to determine which one is your favorite version of this scrumptious dessert.
Corn on the cob:
Corn on the cob is a popular street food in Turkey. The corn is grilled to perfection and makes up for a tasty and healthy snack.
Lokum or Turkish delight:
Turkish delight has a rich palette of delicate flavors. If you know it as a sticky sugar-bomb, you've eaten cheap knockoffs. The real stuff contains precious ingredients such as chopped nuts and dates. Yes, it is sweet, but it is meant for you to savor just a piece. It almost melts in your mouth, releasing its combined tastes for a unique experience.
Simit, the Turkish bagel:
Simit is so popular as a street food, we've seen it being sold on road-crossings in the most remote parts of the country. It is an annular bread-type snack topped with sesame seeds that resembles a bagel or a pretzel. You eat it as it is or turn it into a luxury sandwich with cheese or jam.
Künefe is a specialty dessert composed of fresh stretchy cheese and shredded phyllo dough called kadayıf. Künefe is served hot, often in small metal plates. Don't be fooled, after a meal, you can easily share a plate with four people. This dessert is so rich, some prefer to add a touch of freshness in the form of kaymak (clotted cream) or dondurma (ice cream). The city of Antakya is famous for its künefe, but you will find this dessert almost anywhere in Turkey.
Kahramanmaras dondurma or traditional Turkish ice cream:
Turkish ice cream is unlike any other ice cream you may know. It hardly melts and you can easily eat it with a knife and a fork. Its texture and chewy consistency allow the popular ice cream vendors to play tricks with surprised tourists, putting up a spectacular show.
This milk pudding is a real delicacy. It became famous as a favorite to the Ottoman sultans at Topkapı Palace. This Turkish signature dish is made with chicken meat. Don't let this put you off, we promise that you can not taste the chicken. It is delicious!
Must-try savory food in Turkey
Manti or Turkish ravioli:
These small handmade dumplings may look like ravioli, but they taste like Turkey, and that is a good thing! This ground beef or lamb-filled pasta topped with a creamy yogurt sauce is a favorite winter dish. People often add red pepper flakes and olive oil to make it even richer. If you get the chance to taste it at a place where it is homemade, go for it. We've never met anyone who didn't like it.
There's kebab, and there is Iskender Kebab. The special thing about Iskender is the combination of its ingredients and the way it is served. This thinly sliced lamb in tasty warm tomato sauce is put on a layer of traditional flatbread pieces and topped with yogurt and butter. It may sound like a strange combination, but it works like magic. Before you know it, you will have an empty plate in front of you, accompanied by a sense of pure satisfaction.
Kumpir, a baked potato:
What's so special about a baked potato? With Kumpir, that baked potato is merely the package for the other goodies you choose as a topping. Prepare for a pile of yummy! When you order Kumpir, you get a BIG baked potato, mixed with loads of butter and a generous amount of kaşar (Turkish cheese). That in itself would be good to go, but this is only the beginning, after that you get to pick what is put on top. Trust us, the options are virtually endless. Have your pick between olives, carrots, sausage, yogurt, salad, bulgur, sweet corn, or any of the other things on display.
When dining out in Turkey, it is virtually impossible not to have mezze. It's the perfect way to familiarize yourself with the diverse Anatolian and often Mediterranean kitchen. Classic mezze's are composed of small portions of dishes of your choice, usually served before your meal, accompanied by some drinks. Popular choices are yaprak sarma (rice-filled wine leaves), hummus, pide bread, pickled beets, and several eggplant dishes. Beware though, Turkish mezze are so delicious, you may realize you've eaten so much that you are unable to finish your main course. :-)
We've eaten countless gözleme in Turkey, and know that many more will follow. This is a typical village food, and it is delicious! This savory crepe-like flatbread filled with vegetables and herbs, cheese, meat or potatoes is your perfect healthy snack. Sometimes you can even order a sweet version with honey or fruit. The thin hand-rolled dough is filled with a topping of your choice before being baked on a large round griddle. Watch out, the result is flaming hot but totally yummy!
If ever there is classic Turkish food, this is it! You'll have a hard time finding a restaurant that doesn't serve it, and that's a good thing. Şiş means 'on a skewer', so you have different kinds of şiş kebabs, such as grilled beef, lamb or chicken, usually served with some tasty pilav, salad, flatbread and grilled veggies.
Karnıyarık or stuffed aubergine:
If you like rich food that is savory and hearty, you will adore karnıyarık. These oven-baked stuffed eggplants are filled with mincemeat, tomatoes, onions and some ground pepper and parsley. This dish proves you don't need complicated ingredients to make fabulous food.
Testi kebabı or pottery kebab:
Not every restaurant serves pottery kebab or test kebabı, and most of the time, this is a 2-person meal, but ordering pottery kebab will offer you both a tasty meal, and the show that comes with serving it. What's inside? Slow-cooked vegetables and meat, in short, a tasty brew! Your waiter will break the top of the earthware pot at your table, a fascinating moment!
Etli ekmek a sort of Turkish pizza:
If you think Italians are the only ones who know something about pizza, think again! Etli ekmek, may not be called pizza, it sure as hell will please any pizza aficionado. In most places, the Turkish pizza is a Turkish pide, an eye-shaped pizza usually topped with cheese, spinach, or meat. Etli ekmek translated to meat bread and is a typical dish from Konya. It is long, thin, and full of flavor despite the seemingly small amount of meat, peppers, and herbs topping. If you find a place that serves them, promise you'll try one.
When thinking of Turkey, you're probably thinking of beaches or ancient sites. But if you visit, you will also be surprised by the array of delicious food in Turkey. This overview is just a small selection, as we haven't mentioned Helva yet, or Aşure, Güllaç, Lokma and plenty of other delicacies waiting to be eaten. Oh, yes, and Turkish breakfast, or Turkish coffee. Turkish food is a universe on its own, with Ottoman influences, Mediterranean touches and a streetfood culture that would make a lot of cities envious. Turkish cuisine is just as rich and diverse as the country itself, so make sure you try some of this must-try food in Turkey to get a genuine taste of Turkey.