Turkey’s cuisine is vast and varied and not only because it represents a rich history but also because of the country’s many regions that all have their own set of ingredients and recipes. Here is a look at some of those delicious dishes that entice visitors to come to Turkey.
Everyone knows about döner, that giant piece of meat that rotates on a spit and is then sliced thin. This particular döner dish is said to hail from Bursa and includes buttery lavas bread topped with döner, tomato sauce, melted butter, and yogurt. The result is absolutely heavenly.
Çiğ köfte used to be made with raw meat, but nowadays (and to the delight of vegetarians), it’s composed entirely of bulghur and lentils. Hand-kneaded and made with tomato and pepper paste and plenty of herbs, this dish is as filling as it is delicious.
Visiting Turkey would never be complete without eating a whole selection of meze. Traditional meze varieties include everything from fava (broad bean puree) and patlıcan salatası (eggplant salad) to deniz börülcesi (samphire) and levrek marin (sea bass with sauce).
Speaking of meze, a visit to Turkey’s Aegean or Mediterranean coast would also not be complete without some fresh grilled fish. Depending on the season, you’ll always get excellent fish on the coast for a taste you’ll never forget.
Turkey would not be Turkey without its many kebab varieties, and the long and spicy Adana kebab is certainly one of the most famous. Served with thin lavas bread and plenty of onions, this dish is a true classic.
Of course, Turkey is also famous for its desserts, but unlike extremely sweet options such as baklava, the milk desserts are a bit more toned down yet equally excellent. Muhallebi is a milk pudding that’s traditionally made with sakız (mastic), giving it a wonderful taste.
Usually referred to as Turkish Pizza, lahmacun is much more than this simple description. Thin dough is hand-kneaded and topped with a mixture of minced meat and spices and then baked to crispy perfection. Before you roll up your lahmacun, add some fresh parsley and a spritz of lemon.
Another heavenly dish, the beauty of Hünkar Beğendi is the eggplant puree that has a perfectly smoky taste and thick consistency due to the use of melted cheese. Cubes of beef prepared in a tomato sauce top the eggplant.
Another classic, these small hand-kneaded dumplings filled with minced meat are boiled and then served with a tomato sauce with plenty of garlic yogurt and red pepper flakes. Delicious!
Turkey’s baked goods are also fantastic, with icons such as the simit or poğaça. However, börek (thin baked dough with various fillings) is one of the best things you can eat at any time of the day. Because of its soft, moist texture, due to the addition of water, and plenty of parsley that really brings out the flavor of the cheese, su böreği is a popular choice.
This dish is made from slow-cooked lamb shank that melts in your mouth. Complemented with a tomato sauce and sometimes wrapped in aubergine slices, Kuzu İncik goes best with a bowl of buttery white rice.