Discover the delicious world of Turkish cuisine with our guide to the top 20 dishes you must try. From savory pastries to slow-roasted lamb, indulge in the rich flavors and spices of Turkey. Our blog post includes information on popular dishes like Adana Kebab, Pide, Menemen, and Baklava. Don’t miss out on the traditional Turkish breakfast or the famous Turkish coffee. Get a taste of the Mediterranean and explore the diverse and delightful flavors of Turkish cuisine.
Discovering Turkish Cuisine
Turkey is a country that spans two continents and has been shaped by a rich history and diverse cultures. As such, its cuisine reflects a unique blend of flavors and influences that have been refined over centuries. From the sizzling kebabs to the savory pastries, Turkish cuisine has something for everyone.
In this article, we will introduce you to some of the most popular Turkish dishes that you absolutely must try. Whether you are a foodie or just someone who loves to explore different cultures through their cuisine, Turkish food is sure to delight your taste buds.
So sit back, relax, and get ready to discover the wonderful world of Turkish cuisine.
Adana Kebab: A Spicy Delight from the South
Adana kebab is a popular Turkish dish that originated from the city of Adana in southern Turkey. This flavorful kebab is made with ground lamb or beef that is mixed with spices and shaped around a skewer. The kebab is then grilled over an open flame, resulting in a juicy and tender meat with a slightly crispy exterior.
What sets Adana kebab apart from other kebabs is the special blend of spices that is used to season the meat. The traditional Adana kebab seasoning includes a mix of hot paprika, cumin, and other spices, which gives the meat its distinctive spicy flavor. The kebab is typically served with a side of bulgur pilaf or grilled vegetables, and is often accompanied by a cool yogurt sauce to balance out the heat.
Adana kebab is a must-try dish for anyone visiting Turkey, and is sure to satisfy those who love spicy and flavorful food.
Pide: Turkish Pizza That Will Leave You Craving More
Pide is a traditional Turkish dish that is often referred to as “Turkish pizza.” Similar to Italian pizza, pide is made with a thin, crispy crust and is topped with various ingredients such as meat, cheese, vegetables, and herbs.
What sets pide apart from traditional pizza is its unique boat-shaped form. The edges of the crust are curled upwards to create a small rim, which helps to hold the toppings in place. Pide can be served as a main dish or as an appetizer, and is often shared among a group of people.
One of the most popular types of pide is called “lahmacun pide,” which is topped with a spicy tomato sauce, ground beef or lamb, onions, and parsley. Another popular variety is “sucuklu pide,” which is topped with spicy Turkish sausage, cheese, and tomatoes.
Whether you prefer your pide spicy or mild, vegetarian or meaty, there is a pide out there for everyone. Once you try this delicious Turkish dish, you’re sure to be craving more.
Börek: A Savory Pastry That’s Perfect Any Time of Day
Börek is a savory pastry that is popular throughout Turkey and the surrounding regions. It is made with layers of thin dough, typically phyllo dough or yufka, that are filled with various ingredients such as cheese, spinach, meat, or potatoes.
Börek can be served as a main dish or as a snack, and is often enjoyed as a breakfast food or as a mid-day snack. It can be eaten hot or cold, and is a popular item to take on picnics or to serve at parties.
What sets börek apart from other savory pastries is the variety of fillings that can be used. Some popular varieties include “sigara böreği,” which is a cigar-shaped pastry filled with cheese and parsley, and “ıspanaklı börek,” which is filled with spinach, onions, and feta cheese.
Börek is a versatile and delicious pastry that is perfect any time of day. Whether you’re in the mood for a quick snack or a filling meal, börek is sure to satisfy your cravings.
Lahmacun: The Turkish Answer to Pizza
Lahmacun is a popular Turkish dish that is often referred to as the “Turkish answer to pizza.” It is made with a thin, crispy dough that is topped with a spicy mixture of ground meat, tomatoes, onions, and herbs.
Lahmacun is typically served as an appetizer or snack, and is often eaten on the go. It is rolled up and eaten like a wrap, and can be topped with additional ingredients such as fresh herbs, lemon juice, or pickles.
One of the reasons why lahmacun is so popular in Turkey is because of its affordability and convenience. It is often sold at street vendors and can be found at nearly any restaurant that serves Turkish cuisine.
Lahmacun is a delicious and satisfying dish that is perfect for those who love bold, spicy flavors. Whether you’re in Turkey or abroad, be sure to give this Turkish answer to pizza a try.
Turkish Breakfast: A Feast for the Senses
Turkish breakfast, or “kahvaltı,” is a meal that is truly a feast for the senses. It is typically served on a large platter and features a variety of savory and sweet items that are meant to be shared.
One of the staples of Turkish breakfast is bread, which is often freshly baked and served warm. It is accompanied by a variety of spreads such as butter, honey, jam, and cheese.
Other common items found on a Turkish breakfast platter include olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and boiled eggs. There may also be a selection of cured meats such as sucuk (Turkish sausage) or pastırma (cured beef).
One of the standout items of Turkish breakfast is “menemen,” a dish made with scrambled eggs, tomatoes, peppers, and onions. It is cooked in a skillet and served hot, often with a sprinkle of fresh herbs on top.
In addition to the delicious food, Turkish breakfast is also known for its relaxed and communal atmosphere. It is meant to be enjoyed slowly, with friends and family, and can often last for hours.
Overall, Turkish breakfast is a truly special experience that offers a range of flavors and textures that will leave your taste buds satisfied and your senses delighted.
Şiş Kebab: A Grilled Meat Delight
Şiş kebab is a popular Turkish dish that consists of skewered and grilled meat. It is a simple but flavorful dish that is perfect for meat lovers.
The meat used for şiş kebab can vary, but it is often made with lamb, beef, or chicken. The meat is marinated in a mixture of spices, garlic, and oil, which helps to tenderize it and infuse it with flavor.
Once the meat has been marinated, it is threaded onto skewers and grilled over an open flame. The result is a juicy and flavorful piece of meat that is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
Şiş kebab is typically served with a variety of side dishes such as rice, salad, and grilled vegetables. It is often eaten with flatbread, which is used to wrap the meat and create a delicious sandwich.
Overall, şiş kebab is a delicious and satisfying dish that is perfect for those who love grilled meat. Whether you’re in Turkey or abroad, be sure to give this grilled meat delight a try.
Menemen: A Hearty Breakfast Dish with a Turkish Twist
Menemen is a traditional Turkish breakfast dish that consists of scrambled eggs cooked with tomatoes, peppers, and onions. It is a hearty and flavorful dish that is perfect for starting the day off right.
To make menemen, the vegetables are sautéed in olive oil until they are soft and tender. Then, the eggs are beaten and added to the pan, where they are cooked with the vegetables until they are scrambled and fully cooked.
Menemen is often served with crusty bread, which is used to scoop up the eggs and vegetables. Some variations of the dish also include feta cheese or sucuk, a type of Turkish sausage.
What sets menemen apart from other egg dishes is the unique combination of flavors and spices. The peppers and onions add a sweet and savory flavor, while the tomatoes bring a tangy and acidic taste to the dish. It is a delicious and nutritious breakfast option that is sure to leave you feeling satisfied and energized.
In Turkey, menemen is often enjoyed as a breakfast dish, but it can also be eaten for lunch or dinner. Give this Turkish twist on scrambled eggs a try and experience the flavors of Turkey in your own kitchen.
Mantı: Turkish Dumplings That Will Melt in Your Mouth
Mantı is a beloved Turkish dish that consists of small, handmade dumplings filled with ground meat, typically lamb or beef. The dumplings are boiled and then served with a variety of toppings, such as yogurt, tomato sauce, and melted butter with red pepper flakes.
Making mantı is a time-consuming process, as the dough for the dumplings must be rolled out and cut into small squares, then filled with the meat mixture and shaped into small balls. However, the effort is well worth it, as the result is a delicious and comforting dish that is sure to satisfy.
Mantı is often served as a main course for special occasions or family gatherings, and it is a popular street food in Turkey as well. Its rich and savory flavor, combined with the tangy yogurt and zesty tomato sauce, make it a truly irresistible dish that will leave you wanting more.
If you are looking to try a truly authentic Turkish dish, then mantı is a must-try. Whether you make it at home or try it from a street vendor in Turkey, you are sure to be delighted by its melt-in-your-mouth texture and flavorful taste.
Turkish Coffee: A Rich and Flavorful Tradition
Turkish coffee is a traditional drink that has been a part of Turkish culture for centuries. It is made by boiling finely ground coffee beans and water together in a small copper or brass pot called a cezve. The coffee is usually brewed with sugar, and is served unfiltered in small cups.
Turkish coffee is more than just a simple beverage, it is a cultural symbol that represents hospitality, friendship, and tradition. It is often served to guests as a sign of respect and generosity, and is an essential part of social gatherings in Turkey.
What makes Turkish coffee unique is its rich and robust flavor, as well as its thick and velvety texture. The coffee is brewed slowly over low heat, allowing the flavors to develop and intensify. The end result is a strong and flavorful drink that is truly unlike any other.
If you want to experience the rich tradition of Turkish coffee, there are many cafes and shops in Turkey where you can enjoy this delicious beverage. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try making Turkish coffee at home with a cezve and some finely ground coffee beans. So sit back, relax, and savor the rich and flavorful taste of Turkish coffee.
İmam Bayıldı: A Flavorful Eggplant Dish
Imam bayildi is a traditional Turkish dish that is made with eggplant, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and a variety of herbs and spices. The name of the dish translates to “the imam fainted”, and according to legend, the imam fainted when he tasted how delicious the dish was.
Imam bayildi is a vegetarian dish that is typically served as a main course, although it can also be served as an appetizer or a side dish. The eggplant is usually stuffed with a flavorful mixture of sautéed onions, garlic, tomatoes, and parsley, and then baked in the oven until it is soft and tender.
What makes imam bayildi so delicious is the combination of flavors and textures. The eggplant is soft and creamy, while the filling is savory and flavorful. The dish is also quite healthy, as it is low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals.
If you want to try imam bayildi, there are many Turkish restaurants that serve this delicious dish. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try making it at home with some fresh eggplant and a few simple ingredients. So why not give it a try and experience the rich flavors and traditions of Turkish cuisine?
Köfte: A Versatile and Delicious Meatball
Köfte is a classic Turkish dish made from ground meat, typically beef or lamb, mixed with spices and herbs. The mixture is shaped into small balls or patties and cooked in various ways, such as grilled, baked, or fried. Köfte is a versatile dish and can be served as a main course or as an appetizer.
It is often accompanied by rice, salad, and yogurt sauce. There are many variations of köfte, depending on the region and personal preference. Some popular types of köfte include İzmir köfte, İnegöl köfte, and Adana köfte.
Baklava: A Sweet and Decadent Pastry
Baklava is a sweet and decadent pastry that is a staple of Turkish cuisine. It is made of layers of phyllo dough filled with chopped nuts, such as pistachios, walnuts, or almonds, and sweetened with syrup or honey. Baklava is a dessert that requires skill and patience to prepare, as the phyllo dough can be fragile and difficult to work with.
Baklava is often served during special occasions, such as weddings and religious festivals, and it is also enjoyed as a treat with tea or coffee. There are many regional variations of baklava throughout Turkey, and each region has its own unique twist on this beloved dessert.
Döner: A Turkish Classic with a Global Following
Döner is a classic Turkish dish that has gained popularity worldwide, especially in Europe and the Middle East. The dish consists of meat that is stacked in a cone shape and then roasted on a vertical spit. The meat can be beef, lamb, or chicken, and it is seasoned with a blend of spices that can vary depending on the region.
As the spit turns, the meat is sliced thinly and served in a variety of ways, such as in a wrap or sandwich. Döner is often accompanied by a variety of toppings, such as vegetables, sauces, and pickles. It is a popular street food in Turkey and is also enjoyed in restaurants and fast food chains around the world.
Tavuk Güveç: A Comforting Chicken Casserole
Tavuk Güveç is a traditional Turkish casserole dish that features tender chicken pieces cooked with vegetables and aromatic spices. The chicken and vegetables are layered in a deep dish and then baked to perfection in the oven. Tavuk Güveç is a comforting and hearty dish that’s perfect for cooler months or when you’re in the mood for a satisfying home-cooked meal.
The dish is typically served with crusty bread or rice on the side, and is a popular choice for family dinners or special occasions. With its rich and complex flavors, Tavuk Güveç is sure to become a favorite in your recipe collection.
Kısır: A Healthy and Nutritious Bulgur Salad
Kısır is a traditional Turkish dish made with fine bulgur wheat, tomatoes, onions, parsley, and a variety of herbs and spices. It is typically served as a meze, or appetizer, but can also be eaten as a main dish. Kısır is a popular dish during the summer months because it is refreshing and light.
The dish is typically seasoned with lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, and olive oil, giving it a tangy and slightly sweet flavor. It is also commonly served with lettuce leaves, which are used to wrap the kısır like a taco. Kısır is a healthy and nutritious dish, as bulgur wheat is high in fiber and protein, and is a great source of vitamins and minerals.
Kuzu Tandır: A Slow-Roasted Lamb Dish with a Turkish Twist
Kuzu Tandır is a traditional Turkish lamb dish that is slow-roasted to perfection. The lamb is marinated in a blend of flavorful spices and herbs, including garlic, paprika, cumin, and oregano, before being slow-cooked until tender and juicy. The result is a dish with a crispy exterior and a melt-in-your-mouth interior that is sure to impress any meat lover. Kuzu Tandır is often served with rice or bread and a side of grilled vegetables, making it a hearty and satisfying meal.
Turkish Meze: A Delicious Assortment of Appetizers
Turkish Meze is a spread of small, flavorful dishes served as appetizers or snacks. It’s typically served before the main course and can be enjoyed with friends and family over a glass of Turkish Rakı or a cold beer.
The assortment of dishes can vary, but some common meze dishes include stuffed grape leaves (dolma), grilled eggplant salad (patlıcan salatası), hummus, baba ghanoush, tzatziki, fried calamari (kalamar tava), and Turkish-style meatballs (köfte). Turkish meze is a great way to sample a variety of flavors and textures and to share the experience of Turkish cuisine with others.
Turkish Delight: A Sweet Treat with a Long History
Turkish Delight, or “lokum” in Turkish, is a sweet confectionery made with starch, sugar, and flavorings like rosewater, lemon, or mastic gum. It is believed to have originated in the Ottoman Empire, where it was enjoyed by sultans and their courts.
The exact origins of Turkish Delight are unclear, but it is said that it was first created in the late 1700s in Istanbul. It quickly became popular among the Ottoman elites and was often served at the end of a meal, along with coffee.
Turkish Delight is made by dissolving sugar in water and then adding cornstarch or potato starch. The mixture is heated and stirred until it thickens and forms a jelly-like consistency. Flavorings and food coloring are added before the mixture is poured into molds and left to set.
Turkish Delight comes in a variety of flavors, from traditional rosewater to more modern variations like pistachio, hazelnut, and chocolate. It is often dusted with powdered sugar or coconut flakes and served with tea or coffee.
Today, Turkish Delight is a popular sweet treat not just in Turkey, but all over the world. Its sweet, chewy texture and unique flavors continue to captivate people of all ages and backgrounds, making it a beloved dessert with a rich history.
Conclusion: The Delightful World of Turkish Cuisine
Turkish cuisine is a delightful and diverse world of flavors, colors, and textures. From the rich and savory dishes like Adana kebab and kuzu tandır to the sweet and decadent desserts like baklava and Turkish delight, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Turkish cuisine is known for its use of fresh ingredients, aromatic herbs and spices, and unique cooking techniques like grilling and slow-roasting. It is also heavily influenced by the country’s rich cultural history and geography, with flavors and ingredients from the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Central Asia all coming together to create a unique culinary identity.
Whether you are a meat lover, vegetarian, or have a sweet tooth, Turkish cuisine has something to offer. So why not take a culinary journey through the diverse and delicious world of Turkish cuisine and discover your new favorite dish?