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Turkish history spans over 4,000 years of migration and multi-cultural mingling. It’s a journey that’s yielded a unique cuisine born of both diversity and adaptability.
No trip to Turkey is complete unless you sample some authentic Turkish cuisine to get a true taste of local culture.
Don’t miss the chance to try these top Turkish dishes on your visit to this fascinating country.
1. Trash Shish
Despite its off-putting name, this delicious dish of tiny roasted lamb strips on a stick is a delicious start to any meal.
It’s awash with the flavors of garlic, tomatoes, oregano, and black pepper. The name comes from the fact that it’s traditionally made with the offcuts from preparing shish kebab.
Get your day off to a great start with this local favorite that’s rarely found on the menus of touristy hotels.
It’s a simple, delicious version of scrambled eggs made with chopped onions, peppers, tomatoes, and seasoning.
Try a pizza-type treat with a difference. Lahmacun consists of a flatbread topped with ground lamb, spices, and tomatoes and then baked in a wood-fired oven.
Add some salad leaves and squeeze of lemon, then roll it up and enjoy this fast-food-with-a-difference.
4. Mercemek Köfte
This is a top choice for vegetarians in Turkey. They look like meatballs, except they’re made from red lentils and bulgar wheat.
Dried onion flakes, red pepper paste, tomato sauce, parsley, green onion, cumin, lemon and salt, and pepper are what takes these no-meat meatballs to the next level.
5. Rolled Sultan Steak
If you’re a meat lover, don’t miss the chance to try this Ottoman specialty.
It’s a simple yet satisfying combination of grilled steak stuffed with cheese and pine nuts.
This is just one of the many types of baked filled pastries you’ll encounter on your travels around Turkey.
It’s made with a thin flaky dough, like phyllo pastry wrapped around snippets of beef, cheese, spinach or other vegetables.
Traditionally, borek’s roasted on a flat skillet over an open fire and then sliced into individual servings.
This is a great alternative to baklava that’s available anywhere nowadays and goes well with a cup of good, strong, Turkish coffee.
They’re a kind of uniced cupcake made from flour, semolina, and powdered sugar. They’re baked until golden and then steeped in a sweet lemony syrup.
Finding the Best Turkish Dishes
If you want to experience the best local cuisine in any country, don’t stop off at the first eatery you see. While upmarket establishments catering to tourists may offer exceptional eats, they don’t always offer the authenticity you crave.
Rather book a food tour with a reputable company like Made in Turkey Tours, Istanbul on Food, or Kensington Tours.
Develop a Taste for Life
You can’t sample the best Turkish dishes unless you get your travel plans in order. Our blog has the best advice for planning a vacation in both hemispheres of the world.
Keep browsing our pages for the best advice about making the most of your days at home and abroad.