Out of all my travels thus far, I think Turkish food really takes the top most spot on my list of favorite cuisine. In my recent trip to Turkey, I got to try some amazing Turkish food influenced by its rick history and culture. This what to eat and drink in Turkey post covers everything you need to try in Turkey! I have also included Turkish desserts because, would it even be a post about food without dessert?
In my honest option, every meal should start with a meze. Meze simply means apptitizers. You can order mezes in a few different ways in Turkey.
Pick individual dishes – hummus, ezme (usually tomato and pepper based but means anything “crushed”), yogurt based dips, egg plant based dishes like baba ganoush, grape leaves, olives, fried cheese
Order a mixed meze – already pre-determined by the restaurant but usually contains the above
Some places have their appetizers displayed so you pick anything you want and they bring portions to the table
Mezes come with bread. Each place in Turkey had different types of bread. From flat bread or pita, to toasted slices and soft bread
Iskender Kebab – This dish consists of thinly cut grilled meat topped with tomato sauce over pieces of pita bread which absorbs all the richness of the meat and tomatoes. Yogurt usually accompanies this dish and in my opinion cuts off the richness of it
Sheesh Kebab – Skewered and grilled cubes of meat
Doner Kebab – Meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie. Super fun to watch them thinly slice the meat using massive knives as the meat rotates around. Usually served in a pita or bun with tomatoes and other accompaniments
Testi Kebab – A must try in Turkey! Your choice of meats and vegetables are cooked until tender and is a sealed off clay pot.The pot is then broken and its delicious contents are poured out right at the table.
Sea Food – The region of Antalya, along the turquoise coast is famous for its seafood. Istanbul also has its fair share of seafood restaurants
Meatballs – Turkish meatballs are a great appetizer or full meal
Gözleme – Unleavened flatbread with delicious stuffing inside. The filling can be meat (lamb, chicken) or vegetables (spinach, potatoes) and cheese
Pide – Turkish version of pizza, pide is a flat bread filled with various toppings and usually baked in a stone oven
Manti – Turkish dumplings served with meats and cheese. Best resembles pasta
Karniyarik – Eggplant stuffed with a mix of meat, onions peppers and tomatoes. Highly recommend it if you like eggplant
Simit – Famous in the Ottoman empire. Simit is a circular bread with a sesame seed crust. To me it looked like a mix between a bagel in shape and a pretzel in color
Turkish Breakfast – They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day and the Turks really take this very seriously. Turkish breakfast is no quick grab and go and there’s hardly room on your plate or table for all the breads, cheeses, jams, fruits, cold cuts and vegetables. Make sure you come in very hungry!
Turkish Coffee – Very black and very strong
Turkish Tea – There’s usually 2 common types. 1. Black tea 2. Apple tea. However, Turks love their tea and there’s literally hundreds of varieties of tea from pomegranate to eucalyptus. There’s also teas for “relaxation” and “love”. Some restaurants service Turkish tea at the end of the meal free of charge.
Orange Juice /Lemonade – Not sure what it is about oranges that grow in the Mediterranean but there’s nothing like a freshly squeezed orange juice from this region. Lemonade or mint limonada is also a popular choice to beat the Turkish summer heat
I love all things sweet so naturally I had to add a dessert section to this what to eat and drink in Turkey post!
Turkish Delight – I always thought that Turkish delight were little colorful squares dusted with icing sugar but turns out Turkish delight comes in so many different varieties. Shop owners are usually more than happy to let you sample as many flavors and as many times as you want!
Baklava – flaky, buttery, crunchy and simply delicious! Baklava is a famous dessert from the Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean region. Made out of filo pastry with layers of nuts, honey and syrup in between, this sweet treat is a must try in Turkey.
Katmer – a.k.a pancake heaven! Katmer is a crisp filo pastry dessert filled with crunchy pistachios and clotted cream. So so good!
Kadayif – Another filo pastry dessert where the pastry is shredded in to tiny bits and then bound together with sweet syrup. A dessert lovers heaven!
Ice Cream – Having a cone of Turkish ice cream is very entertaining! This ice cream is very elastic in nature and therefore does not drop like regular ice cream. Be prepared to be entertained by some “magic tricks” by the ice cream sellers when they are dishing you a cone or cup.
Tres Leches – Turkish take on the Mexican Tres leches, this sponge cake soaked in 3 different kinds of milk variations is a perfect blend of sweet and moist cake.
Did you find this post useful? Please let me know by liking/commenting below or sharing this post on social media! Thank you!!
Pin this what to eat and drink in Turkey guide for later!
Turkey and Greece are close neighbors separated by the Aegean sea and it’s not unusually for most people to plan a trip to Turkey and Greece together. If you are going to Greece and to Santorini, check out my tips on Santorini HERE