The best Turkish dishes
Perhaps the most exciting, most loved, and most impatient moment of the journey is experimenting with the cuisine of that country. One of the memories you will remember and talk about every time you return from the trip and even many years later will be the unusual, different, and exciting cuisine of that country whether you liked it or not. Every new taste is a unique and different experience. Therefore, I think it is worth trying and experimenting with new flavours, no matter how weird and unfamiliar they are. Thinking about how many countries there are in the world and they have their national cuisine, the person gets more excited and wants to taste all of them as soon as possible. By eating these dishes, you can get to know the taste of the local people of those countries, step closer to their culture, and build closer and more intimate relationships with people.
Of course, some people have a particular interest in the cuisine of some countries and love it. For example, I am sure that tasting East Asian cuisine for many people is something that they are very sophisticated and fearful about. Still, some people find this cuisine delicious and enjoyable. Some often travel to European countries for their love for European cuisine. Of course, it varies from person to person, and each person has his or her tastes and choices. After all, tastes are colourful and varied. However, according to research, there are countries in the world that are most popular and loved for their cuisine. This list begins with the most popular and enjoyable Italian cuisine. It continues with the French cuisine, the most modern and famous in the world, the Mexican cuisine with its mixed and spicier foods, Spanish cuisine outstanding with its variety of meals, and the spicy Indian cuisine.
However, there is a cuisine that has won many people's love with its delicious dishes and famous sweets, no matter what country they come from. It is Turkish cuisine, known as the heritage of the great Ottoman Empire. Turkish cuisine is the one we love most, and never get tired of trying because of its proximity and similarity to Azerbaijani cuisine. Are you wondering what are traditional Turkish dishes? Well, by getting to know these dishes more closely and understanding each region's specifics, you will be more experienced when travelling to Turkey, and you will know which cities you should visit.
Menemen (spicy Turkish omelet)
Although it is considered a breakfast meal, rich in assortment, it is the meal that Turkish people eat during breakfast, lunch, and dinner as it is easy to prepare and very tasty. Menemen is a Turkish national dish made with egg, tomato, green pepper, black and red pepper, and cooked in olive or sunflower oil. Some add onions to it, and some love it without onions. One of the most controversial issues is that the Turks have been arguing about and are not able to agree on is eating Menemen with or without onion. What can we say let anyone eat, as they like, Bon appetite!
Manti (Turkish ravioli)
The favourite pastry meal that the Turks love very much and are happy to eat. No matter how hard it is to prepare, and maybe it will take all day, it is still their favourite, most desired, most distinctive meal. One of the exciting aspects of this meal, based in Kayseri, Turkey, is that 40 dumplings have to fit in one tablespoon. Although the manti has different preparation and cooking rules, everyone’s favourite is the classic one. These are small dough filled with meat and served with garlic yoghurt and special creamy butter sauce. It also adds flavour to the taste!
I am sure that Lahmacun is one of the best Turkish dishes everyone likes from the first bite. How not to love? You have to eat something for lunch, but you do not have time. Lahmacun. In the evening, you have many guests for dinner, but you do not have anything to serve next to the main meal? Lahmacun! It is cheap, affordable, and suitable for every family and every budget. It is tasty, nutritious, and healthy. Although it is considered the Turks' national fast-food, you can see it at a dinner table as well. When presented at the table, some vegetables and lemons are the musts. While eating, you can either put the vegetables on Lahmacun, squeeze the lemon juice, then wrap and eat, or cut it into pieces. It depends on your choice and taste. Lahmacun, known as Turkish Pizza, has different types: only with meat, cheese, mixed, etc.
Borek (Mince pie)
Borek (mince pie) is one of the favourite best Turkish dishes of breakfast, having many types. However, it is also eaten anytime during the day, not only during breakfast. In general, it will be fair to say that pastry Turkish foods have a special place in Turkish cuisine. The years may take centuries, but the love of the Turks to borek remains unchanged. It is made in layers of very thin dough called yufka (phyllo dough). The most popular and famous types are those made with meat or spinach and cheese.
Along with famous Eskishehir cigh borek, achma borek, long and thin borek, su boregi (pastry with feta cheese filling), there are many other types. The most favourite and most difficult among them is the pastry with feta cheese filling. Each of the dough is boiled separately, and then the cheese and greens are laid out in layers. The real pastry with feta cheese filling must be ten layers, and the secret of its flavour is butter. This troublesome and special dish is considered the source of Turkish cuisine's pride for its complexity of the cooking process.
Is there anyone who does not like doner and ayran (diluted salted yoghurt drink)? The food is loved by everyone, no matter what country it is originated from. However, when mentioned, everyone thinks of the Turks. It is possible to find a Doner restaurant in every city and every street in Turkey. Many countries, especially Europe and Asia, have different Turkish doner restaurants. A dish made with chicken, lamb, or beef and served with vegetables, spices, and various sauces. The secret is in the quality of meat and the sauce, it contains. It could win the hearts for being affordable, can be gulped, and is nutritious.
Yaprak Sarma (stuffed grape leaves)
Yaprak sarma is the king, the indispensable of the Turkish cuisine, the savior of every occasion, and is well-known to us. This dish combines Azerbaijani cuisine with Turkish and loved by both nations. While preparing and cooking takes a whole day, eating takes a few minutes. However, it is worth the effort. It is wrapped as thin as a finger and can be served cold or hot as a main and side meal. They mostly cook in with olive oil and, while serving, put the slice of lemon next to it. Besides, it is the meal that Turkish women show off their skills and are proud of the thinness of dolma.
Mucver (Vegetable patty)
Mucver is one of the best Turkish vegetarian dishes. It is the meal prepared from the pumpkin, and if to believe in Turks, it is one of the meals that make Turks love the pumpkin. However, it is prepared from pumpkin and greens, potatoes, carrots, and celery as desired. However, there are points to consider when making. The oil must be preheated to avoid too much fat, the vegetables must be fresh, and the juice of the chopped vegetables should be squeezed. There is also a stove-cooked type for those who do not like fried or avoid it. Finally, it is served with yoghurt, which makes the meal tastier. Everyone, especially the vegetarians, loves the meal as it meets the taste of the palate. We present a meal that will make you happy to see as a snack at the side of the main meal, and you will enjoy it. Bon appetite!
Iskandar is a mouthwatering and delicious meal only by mentioning its name. It is one of the first things to come to mind to order in any kebab restaurant. The city of Bursa is particularly popular with its Iskandar kebab. Although the meat in Iskandar is the same as in doner, a special beef used in Iskandar kebab is what makes it famous and distinguished. Moreover, butter added over, yoghurt served at the side, tomato sauce, rice, and the fried bread underneath makes Iskandar special. How can the tourists not love a meal with different and tasty garnish?
Let’s continue with kebab if we already talked about Iskandar. Kebab is the masterpieces of dishes requiring much trouble to prepare, the first main meal of invitations and feasts, in both Azerbaijani cuisine and Turkish cuisine. It is one of the typical dishes that both nations are not tired of eating. Kebab, mainly cooked with mutton and beef on the brazier, is served with tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes, and eggplants, also prepared on the brazier. Forget all the flavours you know; everything cooked on the brazier has a distinctive and exceptional taste that is far more perfect and tastier. Sometimes we even see that chicken and fish are prepared on a brazier. In Turkey, the first thing that comes to mind when you say kebab is the Adana kebab. Although it is the most popular and favourite meal in Adana cuisine, it is the same for the rest of the Turkish cities. The use of onions, garlic, and herbs in the preparation and delivery is one of the main features of the Adana kebab.
Chig kofte (stick tartar a la Turca)
Probably, chigh kofte is one of the best Turkish foods that most people would risk to taste. The dish is hardly understood by strangers, no matter how much Turks like it. Chigh kofte, popular in Sanliurfa, can be prepared with both meat and veggies. It is made without cooking by adding minced meat, peppers, cracked wheat, tomato sauce, onions, parsley, and various spices. Once kneaded sufficiently, it is turned downward in the pot, and if it is not spilt, then it is ready to eat. It is prepared in cities such as Adana, Adiyaman, Gaziantep, Diyarbakir, Mardin, Elazig, and Malatya, along with Sanliurfa. They are taken in small pieces and shaped in hand. It is served with lettuce and lemon. You can eat it by putting in the salad and squeezing lemon over it.
Hamsi Tava (fried cornbread anchovies)
Hamsi Tava is mostly eaten in every house and found on every table during the winter months when it is the season of anchovies. It is easily prepared and is known as one of the healthy meals. Moreover, being affordable than other fishes and available in markets makes this meal a mostly prepared and loved one. The ingredients are anchovies, flour, cornflour, salt, and butter. It is served with onions, shepherd salad, and many other supplements. This dish, which looks like a work of art with its neat appearance while served, belongs to the Black Sea region.
Karniyarik (eggplant with minced meat)
Everyone is well aware of the love of Turks to the eggplants. They love it so much that a table without eggplant is considered deficient. The eggplant is used in many Turkish dishes. However, karniyarik is one of the most favourite Turkish eggplant dishes and has a special place on the table. It is served with rice and tzatziki. Let’s see how karniyarik is prepared. For those who are unaware, let us briefly note that tzatziki is a tasty dish made with buttermilk or cucumber and chopped herbs or garlic, mint, pepper, and some olive oil added diluted yoghurt and is served as a side meal.
Although karniyarik are often mistaken for imambayildi, their main difference is the addition of meat to the karniyarik. Imambayildi is also known as vegetarian karniyarik. It is very similar to Azerbaijani eggplant dolma. The only difference is that cherry tomatoes and peppers are added, cooked in the oven.
Besides, as mentioned above, it is served with tzatziki and Pilaf.
Dry bean & tzatziki & pilaf
Trinity of dry bean & tzatziki & pilaf is cooked in every house and is loved by everyone regardless of age. You are already familiar with tzatziki and Pilaf, the best and most loved garnishes available at any meal. This time they accompany the dry bean. Dry bean is a meal, which can be cooked with both sliced meat and sausage, and is much tastier with onions and pickles on the side.
Finally, it is time to present sweets. Let's start with baklava, the king of sweets and pearl of Turkish cuisine, which is rich in a wide assortment of desserts. The baklava, which dates back to pre-Ottoman times, is one of the most beloved and most essential flavours in Turkish cuisine for centuries. Baklava is especially famous in Gaziantep. Depending on the location, it is prepared by adding Gaziantep peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, or almonds between the thin layers of dough. It owes its perfect taste to the sugar syrup.
Kanafeh originated from Antakya, i.e., Hatay is another type of delicious sweets made with syrup. Tel kadayifs are soaked into the butter, and then they are fried with the sugar-based syrup to be a crunch. Antakya cheese, as a unique cheese, is one of the main ingredients to prepare this sweet. Gaziantep peanuts, nuts, hazelnuts, dried coconut can be added to the ready kanafeh. The most common of these are Gaziantep peanuts. It is often served with ice-cream. It is up to you to eat kanafeh with either tea or water.
One more syrup-based sweet, and Turkish dishes again! While saying dolma, you think of a meal rather than the sweet, is not it? However, this is the name of the sweets. Kadayif dolma, popular in Erzurum, is prepared from tel kadayif, egg, nuts or walnut, and melted butter. Tel kadayifs are filled with walnut, and then fried and served with the ready syrup. Syrup consists of sugar powder, water, and lemon juice. Although previously only served during the month of Ramadan, it can be prepared and eaten any day in our modern times.
Gullac (Rose pudding)
Gullac means the month of Ramadan for the Turks. The sale of rose petals in the markets is already a herald of Ramadan. No matter what you cook this month, nothing can be as tasty as Gullac eaten at the end as a dessert. Given that Ramadan is mostly during hot seasons, these light and quick-cooked sweets also bring some coolness. Thus, it is the favorite, most wanted, and most eaten sweet of Ramadan's month. Therefore, you can always see rose petals in every house and Gullaj on every table. In addition to rose petals, it is made with milk, sugar, vanilla, and, if desired, many walnuts and nuts can be added. Pomegranates, strawberries, cherries, mint leaves, Gaziantep peanuts, and many more different, exciting, and colourful ways can be found for the dressing.
Lokum (Turkish delight)
It has so many types that I would say more than you could shake a stick at. This type of sweets, which are almost always served with Turkish coffee, nowadays have simple, hazelnut, Gaziantep peanut, walnut, almond, coconut, orange, flower petal, strawberry, lemon, sour cream, mint, vanilla, and ginger types.
After being acquainted with so many types of best Turkish dishes and sweets in dishes, you wanted to taste all of them, do not you? I am sure you look forward to trying these delicious Turkish foods. We hope that when you get to Turkey, you will have the opportunity to eat every meal in their city and taste the authenticity. Bon Appetite!
Nargiz loves sharing. Gradually, she learnt to direct this feeling by sharing what she experienced and read with her readers. Nargiz started her career way by writing short stories and articles and aims to publish her book in the future. She believes that by writing we express ourselves and leave memories for future generations. Her favourite gift is a book. She wants everyone to contribute to her future library. She is very interested in art and learning new languages. If she expressed herself in one sentence, that sentence would be: "I am a 12-year-old Madridista who wants to watch a REAL MADRID game at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium while being in Madrid during the world trip I dream of one day."