Turkish Food Recommendations

Turkish food is amazing mixture of Mediterranean styles, traditional spices, and exotic flavors. There is so much more to experience than just kebab! If you are visiting Turkey, don’t be afraid of the menu. Here are some of my favorite traditional dishes and sides.

turkish food

turkish food

For breakfast:

Turkish Breakfast – a traditional Turkish breakfast consists of Turkish bread, a very light and airy white loaf served with honey or jam, fresh tomatoes, fresh cucumbers, cheese slices, olives, Turkish sauasage, and possibly an over easy egg or a baked potato. Simple, healthy, and oh so delicious made with their local products.

Menemen – eggs, tomatoes, red bell peppers, spices, cooked into a delicious soft porridge.

To drink: 

Cay (pronounced chai but very different from Indian chai)– traditional tea. It is a hot and strong black tea. Served in small class cups. Add lots of sugar as the Turks do. This is served wherever you go and it’s considered rude to refuse. Whether it’s a shop owner, a friend, or a random person on the street who’s befriended you.

Ayran – ayran, though not my favorite, is drunk with almost all meals. It is a salty, watery yogurt drink. It definitely helps if you have a spicy drink!

Raki – the alcohol of Turkey can definitely make you three sheets to the wind before you know it. With a strong flavor of anise and is drank with water. Raki is a clear alcohol but when water is added turns a milky white. It is typically drunk with fish dishes or for a night out.

As an appetizer:

Chorba – lentil soup. Spiced with bay, herb, and other delicious spices. It is perfect in winter to warm you up. Or after a night of too much raki.

As a main dish:

Kofte – a meatball of beef, pork, chicken or lamb spiced with onions and spices. Often served on skewers, with rice, or in tomato sauce.

Kokorec – for the more adventurous eaters. Kokorec is fried lamb intestines, outlawed in most European country because it can be toxic if not cooked correctly. It is usually sold out of street side carts and is meat sliced off and served in a sandwich. If you are brave enough to try it, it is a delicious, flavorful, and spicy mouthful.

Lamajun – My favorite dish is the Turkish pizza. It is a large flatbread topped with meats, spices, veggies, and or cheese. When it arrives sprinkle salad and a squeeze of lemon and roll the slices to eat dunked in yogurt sauce.

Pide – similar to lamajun, pide is a thicker bread in a long diamond shape.

For dessert:

Baklava – layers of thin dough, honey, and pistachios. Sweet, sticky and delicious!

Kunefe- a very cheesy popular dessert. Yes, cheesy. A special cheese made only in the Hatay region, baked in crispy and thinly spun dough and heavily soaked in sweet syrup.

Enjoy the culinary adventure of Turkish food! There is so much goodness to taste there!