The 10 Dishes You Must Try in Turkey

By Kimi Huang | Updated Nov. 9, 2021

Turkey has beautiful scenery, incredible beaches, and fascinating history. Besides these, the way to truly immerse yourself in this country is to experiment with the local cuisine. Turkish cuisine originated in East Asia and developed in Anatolia. In a sense, it is a transition between cuisine from the Far East and the Mediterranean. Meat, vegetables, and beans form the main part of Turkish cuisine. To assist you in selecting your dishes from unfamiliar menus, we have listed 10 popular Turkish foods you should try during your Turkey trip.

1. Turkish Delight

Turkish delight looks like a gummy. It's made with cornstarch, water, and sugar, then dusted with icing sugar once it's cooled. It has a variety of flavors to choose from, such as rose, pistachio, and mint. Even those who believe they don't like Turkish delight are pleasantly surprised when they visit Turkey and try the authentic version.

Please note that there are a lot of imitation versions of Turkish delight so don't be fooled by them.

2. Manti

Manti is an extraordinary dish from Turkey, which includes minced beef or lamb enclosed in a small square (or triangle) of fresh pasta. It can be boiled or fried and then topped with a yogurt sauce. You'll rarely find it in tourist restaurants — this is a traditional Turkish dish that's only available in a few restaurants.

Manti has a special place in Turkish people's hearts. It's part of both the traditional and modern cultures and is a must-try when visiting Turkey.

3. Baklava

Baklava is Turkey's most famous national dessert. It is a sticky, sweet filo pastry that consists of several pastry layers filled with chopped nuts and held neatly in place together with syrup or honey. As the dish is so popular, you are sure to have the opportunity to try it during your trip and it is served in most restaurants.

4. Doner Kebab

Turkey has a variety of delicious grilled meats and kebabs — the doner kebab is the most outstanding among them. Doner kebab translates to 'rotating meat'. It is traditionally made of pieces of lamb or beef skewered on a spit and grilled vertically on a rotisserie. The thinly sliced meat is topped with fresh vegetables, which are placed into a pita and doused in sauce. It is one of the most satisfying meals that you can get anywhere in Turkey.

5. Meze

Meze comprises small quantities of food served at the start of a meal or it can make for a pleasant light lunch. The selection of food typically consists of hummus, yogurt, and perhaps various other dips, fresh bread, meatballs, and eggplant salad, among other tasty local favorites.

6. Kokorec

Kokorec is a flavorsome dish in Turkey. Once you have experienced the mouthwatering taste and texture of this marinated meat dish, you will no doubt be happy that you tried it.

Kokorec is made with either lamb or goat intestines that are then wrapped around seasoned offal. It can be easily found in a lot of bustling market places in towns and city centers. This dish comes in a couple of forms so you can enjoy it as part of a sandwich or simply as meat without any bread.

7. Kofte

Kofte is a common sight in meze platters and can be considered a staple part of the Turkish diet. It consists of balls or patties of ground beef or lamb with an exotic blend of spices. You can find kofte in delicious casseroles, eat them raw, or have them coated in egg and then fried, among many other options.

The different variations of kofte available have different levels of spice, different ingredient blends, and come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.

8. Lahmacun

Lahmacun is a popular street food dish that is widely available in Turkey. It is a crispy flatbread that is usually topped with minced meat, salad, and lemon juice to taste. If you're having a busy day sightseeing and you want to grab a quick, delicious snack, lahmacun is a great option.

9. Borek

Typically filled with meat, potato, cheese, or spinach, borek is a stuffed pastry that is essentially Turkey's answer to a pie. This hearty delicacy can be found in the majority of bakeries around the country although you will also find dedicated borek shops where the quality is notably better.

10. Turkish Coffee

Turkish coffee is known for its unusual taste, which is derived from a unique method of preparation. It is considered to have the most "original" coffee taste.

Turkish coffee uses the original method to make it, which includes baked beans (high-quality coffee beans from Latin America) that are ground into powder. Then, a copper coffee spoon with a long handle is used to cook it on the stove. After that, the boiled coffee is poured into a cup and you just wait for the sediment to slowly settle on the bottom.

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