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The Definitive List of Turkish Food You Must Try Once!

Turkish dishes are world-renown especially most of them being the legacy of the Ottoman Empire, while sharing spices and ingredients from the regions around it. Aegean, Middle-Eastern, Black Sea, and the Mediterranean cuisine all share some taste with Turkish food, but can hardly reach the taste. They are quite different yet mouth-watering. We have listed some of the Turkish dishes that you should try. While you can certainly try to make them at home, we recommend visiting an authentic Turkish restaurant to achieve the ultimate taste.




İskender Kebap is one of the most popular dishes in Turkey. The best Kebab is made in the city of Bursa. The small pieces of a special type of bread are topped with some thinly sliced meat. The dish is served with tomato sauce and melted butter poured on top. It is served with some Turkish yogurt, tomato slices, and green pepper.



Lahmacun is made of thin dough cooked until it is crispy in a stone oven with seasoned meat and tomato sauce on top, resembling a pizza. However, when it comes to eating lahmacun, the dough is filled with salad, and then it is rolled like a burrito. 



Dürüm is one of the most popular foods in Turkey. It is similar to a wrap or burrito. Chicken or meat along with some tomatoes are wrapped with thin bread. Sometimes the dürüm may include green pepper, onion as well as pickles depending on where you are eating it. In Istanbul, the best place where you can eat dürüm is, no doubt, Dürümcü Baba located in Yeşilköy which is a popular stop for many celebrities when it comes to eating traditional Turkish food. 



Ayran Aşı Çorbası is a soup that is drunk cold. It sounds strange but it is a great dish to eat during the summertime. Ayran Aşı includes chickpeas, wheat, yogurt as well as some refreshing spices such as mint. Even though the chickpeas and wheat are cooked, they are added into the cold yogurt after chilling. Some olive oil and mint added to the mixture before serving it. It is a very refreshing soup that tastes best on hot days. 



Dolma is a dish that can be eaten both cold and hot depending on the making style. It is a stuffing made of many different vegetables such as bell pepper, tomato, eggplant, zucchini, and cabbage. If the dolma is stuffed with meat, it is served warm with some yogurt on the side. However, if the dolma is stuffed with rice, then it is usually served cold and made with olive oil. 


Midye Dolma

Midye Dolma is mussel stuffed with seasoned rice (garlic, salt, pepper, currants) and served in their shells with a slice of lemon. They’re the true street food in Istanbul, usually offered from little black and yellow wagons on the busiest streets. Midye Dolma is the most popular food among Istanbulites after Kokoreç and Dürüm, especially at night, when only the exquisite, bite-size snacks can fix the hunger while creating more cravings for itself (try to stop at just a few pieces). If you are concerned about eating shellfish on the street, there are plenty of restaurants offering plates of this ridiculously delicious street food.



These two dishes look the same which is why we are mentioning them together. They are mainly made of eggplant that is sliced open like a little boat. Inside the eggplant, onion, pepper, tomato and minced meat are added. If the dish includes meat, it is served warm and it is called karnıyarık. However, if the dish does not include meat, it is served cold and it is called imam bayıldı. 



Mücver is made of grated zucchini mixed with whipped eggs, flavor, spices, spring onion, dill, and parsley. When the mixture is ready, some oil is added to the pan and the mixture is added one spoonful at a time and fried. You can eat it while it is warm or cold, depending on your preference. 


Turkish desserts are also very famous and different from the desserts found in the rest of the world. Some of them are mixed with cheese or legumes, leaving the foreigners confused. 



Aşure is made during a special time in the year and the mixture is quite interesting. You will see why in a second. Aşure is made of wheat, rice, chickpeas, dried beans, apricot, dried grapes, hazelnut, milk, and sugar. Making aşure takes a long time however it tastes amazing. Some also prefer to add rose water into it. It is topped with nuts and sometimes with pomegranate.



Güllaç is eaten during the month of Ramadan. It is made of thin cornstarch leaves, dipped in warm milk mixed with sugar and rose water. The dipped cornstarch leaves are added on top of each other layer by layer. And in between a few layers, either pistachio, hazelnut or walnut is added. It is topped with nuts and cherries. 



Sütlaç is rice pudding, made of rice, milk, and sugar. It takes a bit of time to prepare as it requires slow cooking. Even though it could be left as it is in small cups, it can also be baked by adding some egg yolk on top to give it a roasted look.



Künefe is made with shredded wheat filled with cheese and topped with pistachios. It is served hot for the cheese to be soft. Even though cheese may be confusing in a dessert, it balances the sweet flavor beautifully without making it salty.

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