There are so many reasons to visit Turkey, many of which we have referenced in previous blogs. However, one of the main attractions is definitely the food. When I went to Istanbul for just 48 hours, the ONLY tour we did was the cross continent food tour and it was absolutely amazing. As someone who doesn’t care too much about food and typically doesn’t eat that much, I can vouch for Turkey and say, it’s some of the most interesting and delicious food I’ve ever had.
- Kicking off the list of course is the famous Turkish Delight. The look of it is deceiving. Although it looks like sweet candy (and maybe you’ve sampled some US version in the past,) Turkish Delight in Turkey (or Lokum, as the locals call it) is like nothing you’ve ever tried before. Consisting of a combination of chopped dates, pistachios, walnuts or hazelnuts, this treat comes in a range of flavors.
- Menemen is a delicious Turkish style omelet. Roasted onions and peppers are boiled with tomatoes and mixed with eggs, herbs, parsley, pepper and grounded red pepper. A simple, cheap and easy dish to make, yet with an addictive taste. Breakfast is my favorite meal so I tend to have breakfast foods on the top of all of my food lists.
- Don’t leave Turkey without trying one of the most popular meat dishes, the İskender Kebab. This dish consists of thinly sliced lamb served with a warm tomato sauce over pieces of traditional bread. Topped off with generous helpings of yogurt and butter, I’d be surprised if you’re not going back for seconds.
- This next dish you don’t even have to try to order. If you go to a restaurant in Istanbul, you’ll get Mezze. It is a small selection of dishes commonly served with drinks or before a meal. (Similar to tapas in Spain) Turkish Mezze often consists of yogurt with herbs, hummus, rice-stuffed vine leaves (dolmas), meatballs (kofte), eggplant salad, white cheese and of course, delicious, warm pide. It’s the only way to start a meal off right in Turkey and is quite customary eveyr where you’ll go.
Often called Turkish ravioli, Manti is a hot dish served with cold yogurt and garlic. It is similar to dumplings consisting of the dough and its filling. The filling typically contains ground beef or lamb, onion, salt and pepper. Whether mantı is boiled in water, baked with butter, or boiled in tomato sauce, it is served with yogurt, garlic and tomato sauce cooked with butter.
- One of my faves of course is Baklava. It’s one of the first international dishes I ever learned to make when I had to present an international dish to my 6th grade class. Layers of flaky pastry are complemented by finely chopped nuts and held together by syrupy goodness. This dessert can be found on pretty much every street corner in Turkey and we highly recommend you find it.
Künefe is a traditional Arab cheese pastry. The unsalted cheese in between the two layers of very thin dough is what dreams are made of. It is served warm because it is freshly baked and soaked in syrup. Freaking YUM.
- Last but not least is Kumpir. If you know me, you’d know that I’m obsessed with baked potatoes. They’re actually pretty rare to find as a dish in any other country.
You may have had a baked potato before but chances are it won’t have been as epic as a Kumpir in Turkey. The potatoes are prepared the same and then the insides are mixed with a generous helping of butter and a pile of kaşar cheese. You’re then presented with an endless amount of options to put on top of your Kumpir, including yogurt, ketchup, sweet corn, sausage slices, couscous, grated carrot, olives and Italian salads (just to name a few). If you’re craving a little taste of home with a Turkish twist, this your best bet.I could go on and on because the food in Turkey is diverse and delicious but I’ll leave you with this top 8 list for now. If you’re interested in traveling to this amazing country, reach out, or check out our group trip in October!