A melting pot of cultures, colours, and flavours, Turkey will enchant you as soon as you touch down on its soil. It is only fitting that this blend translates into the amazing food you will find here. The Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Central Asian, and Balkan cuisines all meet here in a perfect combination of tastes and recipes.
From the spices to the mouth-watering kebabs and all the way to the heavenly desserts, we have compiled a list of all our favourite foods to try out while in Turkey. Read on!
Mezze is an assortment of small dishes usually served as an appetizer. In Turkey, they would commonly consist of yoghurt, hummus, aubergine salad, dolmas, or kofte. Dolmas are vine leaves stuffed with a rice mixture of spices, nuts, dried fruits and vegetables. Kofte, on the other hand, are meatballs with various spices, usually served with lettuce or flatbread.
No breakfast is complete without menemen. The Turkish take on scrambled eggs adds a vegetable broth to the mix. The eggs are mixed with a tomato, onion or pepper stew to create a gooey heaven. Your breakfasts will never be the same!
This popular dish found its way well beyond the borders of Turkey. You can easily find the doner kebab in any European capital. However, the true, authentic kebab belongs to Turkey. In the little kebab houses in Istanbul, you will find it in all shapes and forms. From the popular shish kebab, skewered grilled meat, to the İskender kebab, thinly sliced lamb drenched in tomato sauce and yogurt, you will be able to find it with various spices and seasonings.
Mezze (left) and shish kebab (right)
To simply put it, this is the Turkish ravioli. The manti are little dumplings filled generously with ground meat. There is also a vegetarian option, where the meat is swapped by coal-grilled aubergine, equally delicious. The piece of resistance is, of course, a spoonful of creamy yogurt sauce.
The manti isn’t the only Turkish take on the Italian cuisine. Cue the Turkish pizza, otherwise known as pide. A combination between a pie and flatbread, pide can consist of any kind of an assortment of meat and seasonings, vegetables, and cheese.
The börek is a thin pastry stuffed with various fillings. It can either be savory, made with meat, spinach or cheese, or served sweet, with cheese, fruits and powdered sugar.
Spinach borek (left) and pide (right)
Dipping into the dessert territory, the baklava is not to be missed. This sweet dish is a pastry made out of flaky layers, all soaked in syrup. The filling is usually as nutty as it can get. Sprinkle it with pistachio and we got a winner!
The star of the show is undoubtedly the Turkish delight. These square-shaped delights are a chewy treat, sweet and toothsome. The flavours vary from nuts such as pistachio, hazelnuts, or walnuts, to rosewater, lemon or mastic. The consistency can also vary based on the type, and the icing can range from powdered sugar to tartar cream or dried coconut. They’re quite impossible to miss, but you will want to stock up on boxes upon boxes before you leave!
Baklava (left) and rows of Turkish delight (right)
There is every guarantee that you will fall in love with Turkish food – the flavour is quite addictive! While you’re at it, why won’t you have a look at our Hot Air Ballooning Experience to pair up the culinary experience and a once-in-a-lifetime-adventure.
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