You have in your mind the idea that you will eat a lot of kebab, drink a lot of tea or try a chickpea stew to feel like a real Turkish, because Turkish cuisine is that and much more, discover in this entry the main typical dishes of Turkey, its desserts and drinks, where to eat and some tips for you to enjoy this culinary adventure.
TYPICAL TURKISH DISHES
This is like a pre-lunch snack, these can be:
- Hummus, a kind of mash made with chickpeas, cumin and oil.
- Paprika with cheese, small paprika balls, paprika, filled with cheese ball.
The most distinguished food in Turkey, you can eat it all the time and they sell it to you on the street or in restaurants. Kebabs are made with chicken or beef. There are three types of kebabs, and they vary in how they are served:
- Ekmek, with regular bread.
- Doner, with round bread.
- Durum, rolled up.
But there are also dishes that are served with kebabs:
- Testi kebab, which is cooked with a pot on the fire and results in a stew.
- Iskender, is similar to a tomato stew and is served with a yogurt spoon.
Similar to a stuffed pasta, such as ravioli or dumplings, they are filled with lamb meat and boiled or fried. A yogurt sauce is added to this pasta. The mixture of flavors may be strange but it is very much loved by tourists.
It’s a mackerel sandwich, very famous in the port of Eminonu. These are offered to you on the sea, as they are bright and flashy boats. Lettuce, onion, salt and lemon are added. Its price ranges from 3 euros.
Similar to a pizza, it is spread with ragout (red sauce) seasoned with minced meat, onions and tomatoes.
Which consist of lemon and fried mussels, which you can find on the streets. Some are battered and fried, others are steamed with lemon. These are served on a skewer and can cost you from two euros. Some positions charge you for mussels.
Made from a paste of pistachios and nuts, it is bathed in syrup or honey syrup. There are versions with hazelnuts and almonds, among other nuts.
They are like starch and sugar jellies, but their texture is firmer or denser, comes with nuts like hazelnuts, pistachios or walnuts and impalpable sugar or coconut on the outside.
It is made with cheese, butter and puff pastry dough, noodles or semolina, this preparation is bathed with pistachio powder and syrup. It does not look very succulent but tastes particularly delicious.
You will find stalls offering freshly squeezed orange or pomegranate juice in every corner of the Turkish capital, Istanbul. Each juice can cost you 1 euro or less.
It is the Turkish coffee, which is a little strong for the taste, or for those who are not very coffee consumers, but it is ideal to accompany it with the Turkish desserts, which can be very sweet.
Or Turkish tea, widely consumed in the country, is a black tea that has a slight reddish color. There are alternatives such as herbal or apple teas. They are usually served in clear glass cups and are ideal for drinking after breakfast or afternoon snack.
Historical restaurant in Istanbul, offers you quality and has a menu organized according to the tradition in which Turkey food is eat, starting with soup, pilav rice, meat, vegetables, some garnish, cold dishes with vegetables, among other proposals.
Tarihi Sultanahmet Koftecisi
This other proposal is usually frequented by Turkish customers, and is one of the most visited in Istanbul. Unlike the previous alternative, here you will only find kofte, which are grilled meatballs and are accompanied by pilav rice and piyaz. Another specialty is a sweet called Irmik Helvasi, which is made with semolina, butter, sugar, milk and nuts. It’s also a historic place, almost 100 years old.
Prices do not exceed 15 euros and there are alternatives to the grill. Its portions are generous and it is located in a bustle-free zone. This restaurant is also a hotel. It has air conditioning in the tables inside in case you go in the hot season.
Located in Sultanahmet (old town), this restaurant also has options for Middle Eastern and fusion cuisine. Their dishes have excellent presentations and with fair portions. It has both vegan and gluten-free options.
Sur Balik Sarayburnu
It is located in Eminonu and stands out for its marine options, which include seafood, as well as sections for soups and Mediterranean food. There you can have lunch, dinner and brunch. Fish dishes are very popular with diners.
A plus of this establishment is that it serves late. The establishment is pleasant and well decorated, noted for its preparations in marine dishes with octopus, roast beef and samphire (sea fennel) goat cheese.
TIPS AND PRECAUTIONS
- If you want to eat in a good restaurant in Turkey, the ideal is to look for it in the areas far from the tourist places.
- A good restaurant is usually frequented by Turks, keep that in mind.
- If you don’t want to take any chances with exotic dishes, go to a fast food stand and order a kebab or an order (the Turkish pizza). These are affordable options and they come in fair rations for what they cost.
- Some restaurants do not serve alcohol, so you should check well which establishments do. This does not exempt Istanbul, and Turkey, from having fine wines, which you can drink in certain restaurants.
- Three good eating areas are Sultanhamet Square, near the church/mosque of St Sophia, the Galata Bridge, where you will find a large number of restaurants offering fish, and Taskim Square, where you will find affordable options.
More tips for travel to Turkey