If you’re planning a trip to Turkey and want to learn more about Turkish cuisine, you are in the right place. Here, we shall beam the spotlight on 15 delectable traditional Turkish foods.
Whether you intend to make them yourself or order them from a Turkish vendor or restaurant, there is a vast collection of delicacies on this list that even the most selective foodie will enjoy.
Popular Turkish Foods
Turkish cuisine is among the most popular dishes in restaurants. While there are many Turkish delicacies to choose from, we have picked the 15 most popular Turkish foods you should try.
1. Mücver (Zucchini Fritter)
This traditional Turkish dish resembles a veggie pancake or fritter. It’s prepared with zucchini, Turkey’s most popular summer squash.
It’s an exceedingly adaptable recipe because you can add a variety of vegetables to the shredded zucchini batter.
Shredded carrots, potatoes, and onions are frequent additions. In addition to the shredded veggies, the fritter batter also has oil, eggs, flour, and salt.
The batter is fried till golden brown on both sides. It’s accompanied by crusty bread, garlic-infused yogurt, or a green salad. Mücver is a hearty and popular Turkish meal that may also be eaten cold.
2. Mercimek Corbasi (Lentil Soup)
Mercimek Corbasi is a straightforward Turkish dish made with red or orange lentils. The lentil soup is produced by pureeing lentils and seasonings.
It is frequently topped with cilantro, melted butter, and lemon juice, and served with pickled vegetables like cabbage, carrots, and olives on the side.
This delicious soup is usually served with hot pita bread on the side, creating a warm, melting feeling in you.
Kofta, also known as köfte, are walnut-sized fried meatballs made from ground beef or lamb.
It is a famous Turkish meze meal that is frequently served for special occasions and cocktail parties because the meatballs are simple to make and can be eaten with a toothpick.
Köfte comes in a variety of spice levels and styles, ranging from fried kadin budu and egg-coated to Adana kofte from Turkey’s southeast.
The most popular kind in eastern Turkey is called içli köfte, and it is full of taste because of the quantity of butter in the filling.
Sarma is a typical Turkish dish that consists of a filling that is snuggly enveloped by leaves or leafy vegetables.
There are several variations of this meal, but the ingredients commonly include minced beef, rice or bulgur, ground sumac, seasonings, various herbs, paprika, red pepper, or tomato sauce.
While the traditional wrapping consists of cabbage, vine, or sauerkraut leaves, or a variety of leafy veggies like Swiss chard and collard greens.
Sarma, which has its origins in the Ottoman Empire, is also eaten in the Balkans, the South Caucasus, Central Europe, and the Middle East.
Turkish kebabs are renowned worldwide for their succulence and rich flavors.
From Adana kebabs made with minced lamb and spicy seasoning to tender Shish kebabs which have marinated chunks of meat, kebabs are a staple in Turkish cuisine.
Manti is a Turkish dumpling filled with spicy ground pork and onions. The dumplings are most typically served with garlic sauce and yogurt.
The dish’s name is gotten from mantu, which means dumplings. It was brought to Türkiye from Central Asia by nomadic Turkish tribes in the 13th century.
Manti dumplings are now popular in Turkey, as well as in a variety of other countries like Afghanistan, Armenia, and Central Asia.
Baklava is a delectable treat made of layers of thin phyllo dough interwoven with chopped nuts, all soaked in a sweet, viscous syrup.
Baklava’s appeal has long transcended boundaries and ethnic groups to become a meal whose origin is being claimed by a number of countries.
It is most likely of Assyrian origin, dating back to the eighth century, from which it expanded throughout the region all the way to Greece.
The Greeks modified the recipe and created the thin sheets that are now known as phyllo dough, but modern-day baklava is said to be an original Turkish innovation.
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Mehalabiya is a creamy Arabian delicacy that is comparable to blancmange in many aspects. It’s made using a milk and sugar mixture that’s been heated and thickened with rice flour or cornstarch, and it’s frequently flavored with orange blossom or rose water.
It is spread in smaller molds while still hot, allowed to solidify, and then served cold. This simple and tasty dish is consumed in a variety of ways throughout the Arabian Peninsula, the Middle East, and North Africa.
It can be decorated with regional ingredients such as pistachios, shredded coconut, cinnamon, almonds, or raisins, according on the location.
Açma is a type of Turkish pastry with a delicate and flaky texture. The soft dough is usually twisted and rolled into bagel shapes, which can be sweet or savory.
Flour, sugar, yogurt, milk, eggs, salt, yeast, butter, and olive oil are the main ingredients. This pastry is widely available in Turkish bakeries and is frequently topped with sesame seeds.
Dolma is Turkey’s national cuisine, and it refers to any type of vegetable packed with a rice-based concoction.
Grape leaves are packed with rice and ground pork for classic dolma. Stuffed leaves were invented in the early seventh century at the court of King Khusrow II.
Since dolma’s popularity grew across the Muslim world, there are several varieties of the dish. Dolma is classified into two types: olive oil dolma and meatless dolma.
Those made without meat and fried in olive oil are known as yalanci, which translates as imitation.
Lokum are succulent, sweet cubes from Turkey made from starch and sugar gel. Usually, lokum is flavored with lemon, bergamot orange, rose water, mastic, or mint, but the Turkish preference is plain lokum with pistachios.
There are various variations that include dates, hazelnuts, cinnamon, or walnuts. In most Turkish houses, these cubes are served with tea and coffee after breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Bekir Affendi, who arrived in Istanbul from Anatolia in 1777, invented the delicious treat.
12. Adana kebap
Adana kebap is a famous skewered pork dish called after one of the country’s most famous kebab cities, Adana.
This kebab is produced with ground lamb and tail fat, which is kneaded with onion, paprika, garlic, and hot red pepper flakes to give it a spicy flavor and a deep red color.
The entire combination is often skewered on big, flat metal skewers and cooked. When finished, the grilled meat is generally served on a tray with peppers, flatbreads, and tomatoes, or stuffed into pita bread with a parsley and red onion salad.
13. Turkish Coffee (Türk Kahvesi)
In a classic coffee pot called cezve or ibrik, extra finely ground roasted coffee beans are blended with cold water and boiled over low heat until frothy and on the edge of coming to a boil, giving a uniquely robust and rich Turkish coffee.
This way of preparing the beverage separates this coffee from other forms of coffee, and it has been linked to the Turks, hence the name.
Turkish coffee has a black color, thick foam on the surface, a homogeneous consistency, and a strong flavor with bitter undertones when prepared properly.
Ayran, also known as doogh, is a savory yogurt-based drink popular in Iran and Turkey, but it is also popular throughout the Middle East, and similar drinks may be found in India and the Balkans.
The drink has ancient origins, and while its precise origin is unknown, it is probable that it developed concurrently in several parts of the world.
Yogurt, cold water, and salt are combined to make dough. It is usually blended with various herbs and spices, like mint or pepper, and sometimes with fruit or vegetables. It is also prepared as a carbonated beverage on occasion.
Gözleme is a Turkish flatbread made using wheat, yeast, olive oil, water, and yogurt to keep it from becoming too brittle.
The dough is filled with veggies, eggs, meat, various cheeses, or mushrooms before being baked on a sac griddle.
Originally served as breakfast or as a light afternoon snack, gözleme has evolved into a popular fast meal that can be found in the country’s restaurants, food carts, and cafés.
There are several classic Turkish foods that you should sample before leaving Turkey. But if you are unable to visit Turkey, we have brought the 15 most popular Turkish foods to you.
One thing to note is that the majority of the dishes are fairly reasonable, so you won’t have to worry about your money. However, depending on the type of hotel you wish to stay in, your budget may differ.
There are several high-end deluxe hotels with slightly higher pricing, however, traditional Turkish cuisine is often inexpensive for everyone. You should make it a point to try these dishes on your next trip to Turkey.