30 Traditional Turkish Foods In Turkey To Try

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If you’re looking for a culinary adventure while in Turkey, you’re in luck. This country is home to one of the most delicious and unique cuisines in the world. Foods in Turkey range from savory dishes like kebabs and turkish pizza, to sweet treats like baklava and Turkish coffee, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Here are some of the most popular traditional Turkish foods that you need to try while in Turkey. So read on, and get ready to indulge!

What’s Special About Turkish foods?

For starters, Turkish cuisine is heavily influenced by both Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors. This results in a diverse range of delicious dishes with unique tastes that are sure to please all palates. Turkish food is also typically cooked using fresh and high-quality ingredients, so it’s sure to be both tasty and nutritious.

If you’re looking for a taste of the exotic while in Turkey, make sure to try some of the country’s traditional Turkish foods! Here are some of popular foods in Turkey.

Most Important Food From Turkey To Know


Mezze is a term used in Turkish cuisine for a variety of small dishes. Why is this the most important Turkish dish to know? Because you get to try a variety from traditional Turkish side dishes in just a Mezze platter.

Mezze plates are often served as part of a larger meal, or as an appetizer. The word mezze is derived from the Arabic word مزة (maza), meaning “taste, palate, dish, delicacy”. Mezze dishes are generally served at room temperature.

The history of mezze dates back to the ancient times. It is a culinary tradition that originated from the eastern Mediterranean region. Mezze is considered to be a very important aspect of Turkish cuisine.

It is a large assortment of small dishes that are served as appetizers. The main purpose of mezze is to provide a wide variety of flavors and textures to the palate. Mezze also helps to stimulate the appetite.

The name mezze is derived from the Arabic word “maza”. This word means “to enjoy”. The history of mezze can be traced back to the Byzantine Empire. The empire was known for its great wealth of culinary traditions. Mezze was introduced to Turkey by the Arabs

Most Famous Traditional Food In Turkey

Turkish Kebabs


The most famous Turkish dish has to be the kebab. This is a pretty international food that you can find in many countries overseas now.

Turkish kebabs are usually made up of meat that has been grilled or barbecued, and they can be served either as a main course or as an appetizer.

There are many different types of kebabs, but some of the most popular varieties include chicken, lamb kebabs and beef kebabs. Kebabs are usually served with a side of rice or salad, and they’re a great way to sample some of the best of Turkish cuisine.

Most of the signature foods in Turkey are often also available either as quick and fast to-go foods, or they are also sold by street food vendors. This is what makes Turkey cuisine interesting.

You might get to experience a different take on a certain dish from a street vendor vs a restaurant.



Börek is one of the most popular foods in Turkey. It is a savory pastry that can be filled with cheese, minced meat, or spinach. There are multiple flavors catering to different palettes.

The dough can be rolled up and baked in the oven, or it can be fried. Börek can be eaten as a snack or even as a main course.

This is essentially the same Burek in Balkan cuisine, that you find in the foods of Serbia, Croatia and more.



Simit is a Turkish bread which is round and about 10 centimeters in diameter. It’s crusty on the outside and soft on the inside, but it tastes similar to pretzels or bismarks.

Simit is crunchy with a delightful caramelized milk layer between its crust and center. You can find them in any neighborhood bakery across Turkey and Istanbul at street corners or markets for around 1 Dollar.

Simits are often eaten as a breakfast item with butter, cheese, biber salamı (a spicy tomato paste), jam – typically apricot, honey, cheese spread  and of course tea!



Döner is a Turkish dish made of meat cooked on a vertical spit. The most common type of döner is from lamb, beef, or chicken. Döner is usually served as a sandwich with tomatoes, lettuce, onion, and sauce.

Turkish subs are very popular in Turkey and are made with different meats and vegetables. The most common meats used in Turkish subs are beef, lamb, chicken, and falafel. It can also include cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, onions, and sauces.

In addition to Turkish Kebab, this is one of the common foods of Turkey. You can usually find both options in the same food place.

Gözleme, Turkish Flatbread


Gözleme is a traditional Turkish food which is made from flatbread dough that is filled with either cheese, meat or vegetables. The dough is then rolled out and then cooked on a griddle.

Gözleme can be eaten either hot or cold and are often served as a snack or as part of a meal. This is one Turkish food that you can pack and carry around if you belong to the bring your lunch type traveler.



Durum wraps are one of the traditional foods in Turkey that are made with a flatbread. The durum wrap is a type of sandwich that is popular in the country and is made with different ingredients.

This dish is similar to the burrito, but it is wrapped in a flatbread instead of a tortilla. The wrap can be filled with different meats, vegetables, and sauces. It can be either grilled or baked and is a popular street food in Turkey.

Kumpir, Turkish Baked Potato


Kumpir is a Turkish dish made of baked potatoes. It is a popular street food in Turkey and is often sold by vendors on the side of the road. Kumpir is also a common dish that is served in Turkish restaurants.

The dish consists of a baked potato that is hollowed out and then filled with various toppings such as cheese, ham, vegetables, and sauces. Kumpir can be either savory or sweet and can be customized to fit the individual’s taste. This is one of the more filling yet still versatile foods in Turkey.

Lahmacun, Turkish Pizza


Lahmacun is basically Turkish’s take on pizza. This unique pizza variation is made with a thin dough crust that is topped with a variety of different ingredients, including ground beef, onions, tomatoes, herbs and green peppers.

Turkish pizza is then baked in a wood-fired oven, resulting in a crispy and delicious crust. If you’re looking for something different to try while in Turkey, be sure to give Turkish pizza a go.

Balik Ekmek

Balik Ekmek is a Turkish dish that is made of grilled fish on a loaf of bread. It is one of the most popular dishes in Turkey and can be found all over the country.

The fish is usually caught fresh from the Mediterranean or Black Sea, but there are also many restaurants that serve frozen fish. The bread is usually a Turkish baguette, but any type of bread will do.

The toppings vary, but usually include lettuce, onion, tomatoes, and a sauce made of olive oil and lemon juice. Some people also add mayonnaise or a spicy sauce such as harissa.

Balik Ekmek is a very simple dish to make and can be enjoyed by both locals and tourists alike.



Pide is a Turkish food that is made of dough and filled with cheese, ground beef or lamb.

It is a popular dish that is often eaten during breakfast or lunch. It is a rectangular, thin crust pizza that is topped with cheese and meat. The dough for pide is made with flour, water, salt and yeast. The dough is then rolled out into a thin rectangle and the cheese and meat are added.

The pide is then folded in half and the edges are sealed. It is then baked in an oven until it is crispy and golden brown. This is certainly one of the most tasty foods in Turkey.


Other Savory Turkish Foods In Turkey

Manti, Turkish Ravioli


Manti is a Turkish ravioli dish. It is a type of dumpling that is filled with minced meat and served with yogurt, garlic sauce, and butter. The dish is believed to have originated from the Central Asian Turkic people.

Manti are typically made with ground lamb or beef, but can also be made with chicken, turkey, or vegetables. There is a lot of flexibility in Turkish dishes.

Köfte, Turkish Meatballs


Another popular Turkish food is Köfte. Köfte is made from ground beef or lamb that is mixed with spices and then rolled into balls or patties. It is essentially meatballs in Turkish cuisine.

They are often cooked on a grill, but can also be pan-fried. Köfte is usually served with rice and a salad for a full Turkish meal.

Iskender Kebab


Iskender kebab is another famous traditional Turkish dish. It is made from lamb or beef that is slow roasted on a skewer then thinly sliced. The meat is served on a pita bread and covered in a tomato sauce and melted butter. It is then topped with either hot or cold diced tomatoes, peppers, and onions.

Karniyarik, Turkish Stuffed Eggplant


Karniyarik is a Turkish dish made of eggplant that is stuffed with beef and onion. The dish is often served as a main course and is a popular dish in Turkish cuisine.

Karniyarik is made by cutting the top off of an eggplant and then removing the insides. It is then filled with ground beef and onions, and the top is replaced. Finally, the eggplant is baked or fried until it is cooked through.

Karniyarik can be served with a variety of sauces, such as tomato sauce or garlic yogurt sauce. This is one turkish dish that gives you a burst of flavors.

Corba, Turkish Soup


One of the most popular Turkish soups is Corba. It is a soup that is made with vegetables and meat. The name of the soup literally means “soup” in Turkish. It is a popular Turkish dish that is often eaten by locals.

The soup can be made with beef, lamb, chicken or fish. It is a hearty soup that is perfect for cold weather.

The dish is believed to originate in Central Asia, and first introduced to Turkey by the Mongols. The soup is very popular in Turkey and there are many variations of it. It can work as a starter dish or a main course.

Corba is usually made with onion, garlic, carrots, green beans, potatoes and beef or lamb. The soup can also be made with different types of meat such as chicken or fish. It is usually served with a dollop of yoghurt on top. Yoghurt is a common ingredient in Turkish cuisine.

Kuzu Tandir

Kuzu Tandir is a Turkish dish that is made of lamb. The meat is cooked in a clay oven that is called a tandir. The lamb is marinated with yogurt, garlic and red pepper before it is cooked.

The dish is usually served with rice or bread. Kuzu Tandir is one of the most popular foods of Turkey and you can find it in most restaurants.



Pilav is a Turkish dish that is made with rice, chicken, and peas. The rice is cooked in chicken broth, which gives it a delicious flavor. The chicken and peas add a touch of sweetness to the dish, while the sautéed onions provide a bit of crunch.

The mixture is then placed in a baking dish and baked until the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through. Pilav can be served with a variety of toppings, including butter, yogurt, or sautéed onions.

Pilav is a one of the most hearty and filling foods in Turkey that is sure to satisfy your hunger. It is available at most restaurants and is also a common dish at home.

If you are visiting Turkey, be sure to try pilav and experience the delicious flavors of this traditional Turkish dish.

Testi Kebap


Testi Kebap is a Turkish dish made of minced meat and vegetables cooked in an earthenware pot. It is one of the most interesting foods in Turkey. The name Testi Kebap comes from the pot it is cooked in. Traditionally, you have to break the pot to eat the goodness inside.

The ingredients used to make Testi Kebap include lamb, beef or chicken, onions, tomatoes, green peppers, parsley, black pepper and allspice. Olive oil is also used. The meat and vegetables are cooked until tender and then served with rice or bulgur.



Menemen is a Turkish egg delicacy that is enjoyed in the morning. It is made with tomatoes, green peppers, onions, and eggs. The vegetables are cooked until they are soft and then the eggs are added.

The mixture is cooked until the eggs are cooked through. Menemen can be served with bread or it can be eaten as it is. One of the most tasty breakfast foods in Turkey.

Imam Bayıldı


Imam Bayıldı is a Turkish dish which is prepared using fried eggplants, tomatoes and onions. The dish is usually cooked in olive oil and served with rice, but can also be eaten as a main course. Imam Bayıldı can be found throughout Turkey and is considered to be a national dish.

İmam Bayıldı is a spicy dish, but there are many variations of it. Some recipes call for garlic, while others include ground beef or lamb. This dish is very popular in Turkey and can be found in most restaurants.

Desserts And Sweet Foods In Turkey



Baklava is a very popular Turkish dessert that you won’t want to miss. This sweet pastry is made with layers of filo dough that are filled with chopped nuts and honey.

Baklava is then baked until it is golden brown and crispy, resulting in a delicious and decadent dessert. This is commonly available as a dessert option in restaurants.



Halva is a sweet, dense and usually dry dessert that is made out of flour, sugar, butter, nuts, and sometimes sesame. It is popular in the Middle East, Central Asia, India, Pakistan, North Africa and some parts of Europe. The word halva is derived from the Arabic word “ḥalw” which means “sweet”.

Halva has a very long history and there are many different variants of it. In Turkey, halva is usually made with flour, sugar, butter and nuts. Sesame is also sometimes added for flavor and texture. There are many different ways to make halva in Turkey. One popular way is to cook it in a large pot on the stove top.

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Dondurma is a Turkish ice cream that is made with milk, sugar, cream, and corn flour. It is a type of ice cream that is especially popular in Turkey. Most of the time, it comes with a fun entertainment show from the vendor when you buy it on the street.

It is often described as chewy or elastic because it contains salep, which is a flour made from the tubers of the wild orchid. The dondurma recipe was first created by an Ottoman palace chef in the year 1844.



Güllaç is a Turkish dessert made of thin layers of dough filled with either milk or nuts and spices. The word “güllaç” comes from the Arabic word “ghalāj”, which means “milk”.

It is a popular dessert in Turkey, and is usually served during the iftar (the evening meal when Muslims break their fast during Ramadan).

The dessert is made by first boiling water and sugar together until a thick syrup is formed. The syrup is then cooled to room temperature.

Wheat flour, milk, eggs, and butter are then mixed together to form a dough. The dough is then rolled out very thin and placed into a bowl.

The syrup is poured over the dough, and then the bowl is quickly turned upside down so the syrup coats the dough. Nuts and spices are then added, and the güllaç is served cold. This is one of the sweetest foods of Turkey.

Traditional Drinks In Turkey

Turkish coffee


If you’re looking for a caffeine fix while in Turkey, be sure to try Turkish coffee. This unique coffee variation is made with finely ground coffee beans that are boiled in water and then served with sugar.

Turkish coffee is known for its strong and distinctive flavor, and it’s a great way to start your day or enjoy an afternoon pick-me-up.



Şerbet is a Turkish drink that is made from fruit juice and sugar. It is similar to a syrup, and is often served with Turkish desserts.

The most popular type of şerbet is a sour cherry şerbet, which is made from tart cherries that are boiled with sugar and water until a thick syrup is formed. Other types of şerbet include pomegranate, grape, apricot, and strawberry.

Trying Out Traditional Foods In Turkey

Sampling some of the traditional foods in Turkey is a great way to get a taste of the local culture and cuisine. Turkish cuisine is sure to delight your taste buds. These are just some of a wide selection of food that Turkey have to offer, be sure to explore all your options!



Book Your Flight

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Find Your Accommodation

Booking.com is my usual platform for finding accommodation options as they have one of the largest selections. Hostelworld is great for booking hostels. For more private or long term accommodation, Airbnb is my go-to platform.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is important for to protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances. I usually look at a few insurance companies depending on my travel needs.
  • SafetyWings for Travel Health Insurance
  • IMG Global for added Insurance when doing activities outside of usual coverage
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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.


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