Top 10 Traditional Turkish Dishes You'll Have to Try on Your Next Trip

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Scarlett Goldstein

Scarlett Goldstein

Last updated:  2021-11-24 09:25:07

It might surprise you, but the oriental part of the world has the best food ever. The eastern culture attaches much significance to food, and they prepare it as deliciously as possible. Turkey is not a stranger to spicy and meaty dishes, but they're also pioneers with dough and pies. When you visit the country on your next vacation, or simply go to a local Turkish restaurant, use this list of 10 unique dishes as your guide!

10. Adana Kebab

This is one of the most beloved spicy dishes from Turkey

If you prefer it spicy, Adana is the perfect kebab you're searching for. Turkish traditional restaurants serve it with french fries and salad like any other kebab. Still, watch out because this one has the spice on the bottom! In conclusion, you'll enjoy that taste whenever you get to this long and delicious meat piece.

The deep red color and the red chili say enough about how this one makes you feel, and its name explains the kebab's origin. Adana is the fifth biggest city in Turkey, and it's the original place of this meal. Know that in Adana, they call it "kiyma" instead of "Adana," in case you stumble upon this city one day!

9. Döner Kebab

You'll miss this one after returning to Turkey, so… Find a solution!

The funny thing about kebabs is that it will take you a whole vacation to try every version. Still, you probably won't remember all of their authentic characteristics. However, we believe that every waiter suggested you Döner, a rich piece of meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie. Hence, it has a different shape that will stay on your mind!

This one is presumably the most popular dish you'll stumble upon on this list. Actually, it makes sense because if you're not a huge fan of exploring and discovering the tastes, Döner is something everyone likes anyway. If you play it safe here, you'll get more than a great dinner, and you'll come for Döner again!

8. Yaprak Sarma

Sarma is actually the healthiest option on this list

Turkish cuisine loves stuffed food much more than you do! Once you try it, you'll become obsessed, just like the whole Balkans area and the east, since sarma is very popular there! The beloved Turkish version of sarma is Yaprak sarma, made of vine leaves, highly beneficial to your health.

Of course, sarma means "wrap," so it has various ingredients inside, as there are no strict rules. Nevertheless, a usual mix in Yaprak sarma is pork, ham, rice, egg, and garlic powder. If you're a fan of the spicy taste, chili and paprika are no strangers to sarma!

7. The Turkish Çorba

This soup is unmatched, and you'll wish no other!

A dinner or lunch without a çorba in southeastern Europe makes no sense. This is how they do it almost every day, so you definitely should give it a try! Of course, you can prepare it in many ways, but the most famous version is the Turkish red lentil soup (which isn't necessarily red)!

This delicious treat can be done in 30 minutes, and it's a perfect intro for the main meal. Before meatballs, a lentil soup works like a pro, and people eat it this way for ages, in various regions. When something has such a strong connection between many nations, you know it's fantastic. 

6. Mantı

Try the Turkish pasta, and you'll surprisingly prefer it!

If the name of this dish rings the bell, you probably thought of India first, since they eat mantı as if it's their most immense pride. Still, this delicious treat is actually Turkish.

To be honest, this bowl full of lamb or beef dumplings looks very Italian. However, it's still exotic and authentic for the east. The spiced ground meat and plenty of tomato sauce make this one stand out – it's like spicy pasta, and if you make it at home, you can have any topping you wish!

5. Köfte

The Turkish way, the best way

When you see a title as exotic as this one, you may think that this is something extraordinary. Yet, these are only incredibly delicious meatballs! While you're arguing whether the authentic meatballs originate from Italy or Sweden, we'll have to show you the Turkish version, which is obviously one of the oldest! 

You'll be obsessed by how Turkey makes this treat, usually consisting of beef or lamb, even though they vary in many regions. This ground beef dish is usually served with onion and garlic, and it might get spicy as well if you wish! We also highly recommend tomato sauce with them, especially if you're experimenting with the recipes at home.

4. Hünkar Beğendi 

If you liked all the kebabs, this one has everything you want at once

When we say "Sultan's delight," you already smell a royal plate that you'll enjoy to the fullest. The best thing about Turkish cuisine is that food plays a massive role in their lives, so they kept their traditional dishes from the past as a historical gem. Hünkar Beğendi is precisely that, with the lamb and cheese sauce you'll wish you could take home with you!

Furthermore, this is definitely one of the oldest recipes you'll find on this list. There are no sultans in Turkey anymore, but their impact will never be forgotten. The way they enjoyed the food and the finer things in life will stay forever. Eat like a sultan!

3. Börek

Beef, lamb, feta cheese, spinach… There are many options!

This Turkish dish is spread all over the Balkan region, so it's not authentic for Turkey anymore, but it's still the best in the east. Meat, cheese, or any other taste... You'll literally like all of it! When discussing the best options for breakfast while staying in Turkey, everyone will recommend this crispy pastry so greasy that it turns into a guilty pleasure.

Furthermore, Börek isn't anything strange or exotic since it will remind you of a regular pie or pastry. Nevertheless, this one has a better taste, more filling, and it's very smooth and cut in small slices. It's rich in fats, though, so don't eat it too often. Anyway, don't ever avoid it if you come to Turkey!

2. Pide

They weren't kidding in the title – this is better than pizza

Pizza is something that people all around the world are used to. There is not a single person that has never tried it, and people mostly enjoy it in all varieties. The Turkish alternative, named pide, might impress you even more if you try it in an authentic restaurant!

Pide can be thinner compared to other pizza types, and its ingredients are usually blended way better. Order meat and eggs on your pide, and... You'll get a flat pizza layer with both being so well mixed together that this could become your regular breakfast in Turkey and the orient. You'll catch yourself trying all the flavors, as they all look very promising!

1. İskender Kebab

It's a serious challenge, though!

When you come to a Turkish tavern for the first time, chances are that they'll recommend you to try Iskender. Yet, there is a genuine reason behind that! Imagine meat being spread all over the bread, with a sauce next to it. Moreover, the sauce is not spicy, so this one should do the job for everyone - you'll want to order this one again and again! 

If you want to have the best taste of this one, have a bite of bread and meat at the same time and drip it in the sauce or yogurt. This masterpiece of Bursa will steal your heart. While we hope you'll discover other tastes, we understand the Iskender obsession!

Of course, Turkish culture has so many delicious treats that you would have to spend weeks trying them all, so this is not everything you should check. Desserts are a must, too! However, if you've never been to Turkey before and you're learning the ropes, we're sure you'll be happy with what we recommended. Don't hesitate, because knowing a country obviously requires trying all the delicious foods over there!

Do you have a favorite Turkish dish? Would you try all of these delicious pieces on our list? Let us know in the comments section!

Photo: Suad Kamardeen on Unsplash


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