Turkish Foods You must Try in Turkey

Turkish Foods You must Try in Turkey


A Turkish classic that has also become a bit of a national dish in Germany, döner kebap comes in many forms including dürüm (döner wrapped in lavaş bread) and iskender kebap (döner on a bed of pide bread with yogurt, tomato sauce, and butter).

İçli Köfte

Köfte (meatball) is a standard yet delicious Turkish dish and içli köfte has a delicious crispy shell made from bulgur filled with seasoned minced meat, onions, parsley, and pine nuts.


Often wrongfully referred to as a ‘Turkish pizza’, lahmacun has nothing to do with the Italian classic. A thin and crispy round of dough is topped with minced seasoned meat, which is complimented with a squeeze of lemon and parsley before it’s rolled up and ready to eat.


There are many varieties of kebap including Adana and Urfa (spicy and non-spicy hand kneaded seasoned lamb meat grilled on skewers), Beyti (ground beef or lamb grilled on skewer, wrapped in lavaş bread and topped with yogurt and tomato sauce), and şiş (skewered and grilled seasoned cubes of lamb or chicken meat).


Small handmade dumplings filled with minced meat are boiled and then served with yogurt and a sauce made with oil, paprika, mint, and garlic.


Delicious boat shaped baked dough filled with many different ingredients from minced meat to spinach, eggs and sucuk (spicy Turkish sausage) and kuşbaşı (small cubes of seasoned veal meat).

Yaprak Sarma

Grape, cabbage, or chard leaves are cooked and then filled with either minced meat or rice with pine nuts and currants and then wrapped up tight.

Su Böreği

Börek is made from layers of thin dough with various fillings such as spinach, minced meat, or seasoned potatoes that are all baked to crispy deliciousness. With su böreği the layers of dough are boiled so that the börek is moist after it has been baked.



This humble snack traces its roots to the 16th century. Caravan travelers to and from Istanbul would load up on the bread rings in the nearby town of İzmit, which lent its name to this early example of fast food. Today the sesame-encrusted simit is both a breakfast staple and a popular street food.


Turks adore their yogurt, spooning up more than 2 million tons of the white stuff each year. Originating a millennium ago in Central Asia, its longevity served a nomadic culture well. Today it’s eaten plain or serves as a base for soups and salads like cacık. A favorite beverage is the cool, salty ayran.


This dessert actually hails from Central Asia and spread from there throughout the Ottoman world. It eventually made its way to Europe, where the Viennese modified it as strudel. Today, the indisputable baklava capital is the city of Gaziantep, where the sweet stacks of fine filo pastry, drenched in milky honey and covered in pistachio nuts, are an art form.

Maraş Dondurma

Turkish ice cream is like no other you’ve had. For a start, it has the distinctly smoky taste of natural mastic, and second, the texture is far chewier than its soft Italian cousin. The thickness comes from salep, made from the root of the Orchis mascula, and the cool treat is now so popular scientists have warned it may endanger this rare orchid.

Buying a cone of maraş dondurma from a vendor dressed in a regional Maraş costume invariably comes with a not-to-be-missed sleight-of-hand performance. Just watch.

Turkish Delight

Turks call these delicate cubes of jelly lokum, which derives from the Arabic word for “morsels.” The confection comes in a dazzling variety of flavors, shapes, and colors and is dusted with icing sugar or coconut and sold by the handful in picturesque boxes.

They’re also frequently served alongside Turkish coffee at the end of a meal. And while we’re on the subject, we couldn’t end this list without mentioning coffee (kahve). First appearing in the imperial capital of Istanbul in the 16th century, coffee has been part of the fabric of life here ever since, lending its name to breakfast (kahvaltı, or “before coffee”) and even the color brown (kahverengi).

Turkish coffee is a method, not a flavor, and it takes a truly skilled barista to keep the brew hot enough to cook each cup with a head of foam and fine grounds at the bottom. Once you’re finished, a good Turkish host will turn your cup upside down and study the grounds to divine your fortune.


Rest assured, you probably won’t leave Turkey without being served Mezze, which is a small selection of dishes commonly served with drinks or before a meal. Turkish Mezze often consists of yogurt with herbs, hummus, rice-stuffed vine leaves (dolmas), meatballs (kofte), eggplant salad, white cheese and of course, delicious, warm pide. Could there be a better way to start a meal?

Turkish Apple Tea

Apple Tea is possibly the most delightful tea that will ever tickle your tastebuds. Luckily for you, there is no shortage of this warm, sweet nectar of the Gods. You will find it in virtually every café, restaurant and house you go to. Tea (or çay) is a very big part of Turkish hospitality. You will find that even shop owners sit down for a cup of tea with their customers. Now there’s a good sales technique.


A Turkish staple, köfte is balls or patties of ground beef or lamb, and can be served stewed, in sandwiches, over salads, or plain with yogurt.



This unique Turkish dessert, made from cheese baked with shredded pastry dough and topped with pistachio, is a common treat for nights out as it’s difficult to make at home.

Turkish Coffee

True Turkish coffee is strong, thick, and best served with a fresh piece of Turkish Delight, baklava, or a slice of mozaik cake to take the bitter aftertaste away.



Categories: What to Eat in Turkey

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