14 Delicious Things To Eat in Turkey
Turkey is a land that embraces its local cuisine and sells it in style, a visit here is not complete without experiencing the wonders of the street food, whether it be the cute Simit (more on this below) stands or the fruit vendors selling gigantic portions of watermelon, or the exceptionally chewy corn on the cob.
The food journey in Turkey is full of surprises. One can find great food in places where it is least expected, and sometimes the best rated restaurants may turn out to be a huge let down. This is also due to the fact that most of those high ratings would be attributable to the reviews submitted by locals, and as a traveler from India or perhaps some other parts of the world, our palettes may not necessarily match! When in doubt, just fill in your stomach with their lovely bread baskets and the abundant supply of fries provided with every dish. Do not forget to stock yourself up with fruits and nuts so you do not end up on a hunger strike if the food is not palatable.
Nevertheless, there are certain types of food that will not disappoint you on your visit to “Turkiye”:
Turkey Food # 1 – Menemen
A traditional egg dish that finds a place in all the breakfast menus, it is the gravy and tomato (I just made up these words :p) version of the Indian “Egg bhurji”. Eat this with bread like every other dish in Turkey :P.
Turkey Food # 2 – Simit
The Turkish answer to bagel and cheese, I personally love the taste of the toasted sesame seeds on top. You will find a Simit stand in possibly all corners of Istanbul.
Turkey Food # 3 – Kumpir
All you potato lovers will fall heads over heels in love with this one. They use a giant (I mean it, it’s humongous) baked potato and split it open and mix up the insides real well with oodles of butter and cheese, after this the real fun begins, as you can choose your own fillings/toppings which include choices like olives, mushrooms, cut up sausages, yoghurt, corn.
Turkey Food # 4 – Waffles
I know its not Belgium, but waffles are one of the most popular street foods in Istanbul and they are absolutely delicious, just like the Kumpir you can choose from a variety of toppings to go on your hot toasty waffles, all kinds of chocolate ganache (dark, milk and white), strawberries, bananas, nuts. The best place to eat Kumpir and Waffles is at Ortakoy close to the Bosphorus river, they are sold at numerous outlets and you will see each person here gorging on atleast one or both of these items.
Turkey Food # 5 – Balık, i.e. Fish
Turkey is home to some great quality fish (perks of being surrounded by such beautiful water bodies), so if you are a “fish” person, there are a number of specialty restaurants here to choose from, my favourite was Denize in Izmir, the chef made sure he catered to our palette by making the fish super spicy and also serving oodles of garlic infused sauce on the side. You can also find some great fish restaurants at Nevizade street in Istanbul.
Turkey Food # 6 – Lamb
Okay! So when one gets to Turkey, most of the non-vegetarians get on a mission to eat the best lamb of their lives! Well, your wish can definitely come true, but in our case, there were lots of hits and misses. Listing out the ones we loved:
- Top Deck, Cappadocia: This is the best restaurant in the little town of Goreme and I would recommend each and every dish on their menu, the chef happens to be from South Africa and boy, does she know her food!
- Seten, Goreme, Cappadocia – This restaurant was a part of the hotel we stayed at (Sultan Cave Suites: highly recommended), it is one of the best rated on trip advisor and it is advisable to reserve a table here and at Top Deck in advance. We tried our hands at their delectable lamb chops.
- Ciya Kebap – I can write essays on just how amazing their kebabs were, this restaurant is located on the Asian side of Istanbul (yeah this amazing city is split into 2 continents which makes it all the more interesting) at Kadikoy.
They also serve an amazing complimentary bread with their meals which looks like a big fat version of the Indian “naan”.
– Cafe Lokum: Tucked in the lanes of Sultanhamet, it has some great lamb based main dishes to offer, probably one of our best food experiences in Turkey.
P.s. their breakfast menu also looked highly tempting!
Turkey Food # 7 – Ice Cream
If you love the Indian Kulfi, you can’t leave Istanbul without trying the Pistachio ice cream – all the ice cream servers here are dressed in traditional Turkish clothes and also show you some cute and hilarious tricks while serving 😛
Turkey Food # 8 – Olives.
I know that Spain and Italy is where you go to for olives, but when you come from India (considering our tiny sized preservative filled olives), the experience of biting into the giant pickle filled fresh olives served at all breakfast buffets all over Turkey can change your life forever.
Turkey Food # 9 – Pizza
Turkey has it very own style of making pizza. Sadly I did not get to experience the Turkish version, but pizzas all over Istanbul were brilliant. My favourites were at Café Journey and House Café.
Turkey Food # 10 – Dolma
This is a traditional dish made by rolling rice mixture in vine leaves (eaten cold), served with dip. It may not be something that everyone will appreciate, but it is definitely worth a try.
Turkey Food # 11 – Murmure sauce
This sauce is a life saver in situations where you are stuck with bland food and that happens a lot (not in Istanbul though:)). Made from red chillies and some other spices, it gives your food the kick it needs!
Turkey Food # 12 – Veg Mezze Platter:
Turkish people are blessed with some amazing quality fresh produce. You may not end up ordering a lot of vegetarian food here, but when you do, the freshness and the flavor of their veggies will take you by surprise. Mezze Aubergine at Top Deck in Cappadocia was one such wonderful experience, and you will find this dish in many of the Istanbul restaurants. Also try the Veg Kebab at Mosaic Restaurant at Sultanhamet
Turkey Food # 13 – Cherries
Another thing Turkey is blessed with are their wonderful giant sized cherries, I could just not get enough of these, we even got some packed to eat on the flight back :P.
Turkey Food # 14 – Turkish Tea
Tea lovers, enthusiasts, addicts, Turkey is your place. Everywhere you go you will find people sipping the beautiful looking Turkish tea in the adorable Turkish tea glasses. Usually served without milk and sugar, but they will be happy to provide it on the side.
I hope you liked this article, and would love to hear your feedback! If you wish to read a little more how to travel in Turkey, Turkey best restaurants and clubs..
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