Local Foods To Try When Visiting Turkey

Published on September 25, 2020
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Turkish food is not only delicious, but dates back to the days that the Ottoman Empire was in power. As it expanded, many different cultures began to come together, and thus new and delectable foods came into existence. You can still enjoy these traditional tasty foods that combine flavors from the Middle East, Central Asia, the Balkans, and Eastern Europe.

While dining in Turkey, you’ll come across many meat dishes as well as dishes with an emphasis on eggplants, pistachios, and our favorite: garlic. Here are some delicious dishes you absolutely have to try out when you visit Turkey.

Turkish Market

Turkish Market

Baklava

For those with a sweet tooth, Baklava is the way to go. While it can be found in other countries in the region, Turkish baklava is not to miss. It is truly a work of art in addition to a dessert.

You can find different versions with either pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts, or a combination of the three. Drizzled on top is a syrup that is often scented with either orange blossom or rose water and really elevates this dessert to the next level.

Baklava

Baklava

Kanafe

While in some countries you will find a cheese platter for dessert, in Turkey you’ll find an incredible dessert that incorporates the cheese right into the dessert. That’s right! If that sounds strange to you, then you’ve clearly never tried Kanafe before.

The cheese pasty is made with delicate fried shredded fillo dough and stuffed with ooey-gooey melted cheese. Finally, the whole thing is coated in a sugary syrup that brings everything together, and a generous sprinkling of pistachios to finish it off.

Kanafe

Kanafe

Kofta

Kofta kebabs are popular all around the Middle East, India, Central Asia, the Balkans, and also the Caucasus area. There are so many varieties, with an estimated 291 variations! These are a must have when you’re in Turkey. For those who are trying to avoid eating meat, there are also vegan and vegetarian options. Çiğ köfte is made with lentils instead and is just as delicious.

Kofta

Kofta

Simit

Simit could be described as something like a cross between a bagel and a pretzel. This delicious bready ring usually comes covered in sesame seeds and can be enjoyed on their own but are also often cut open and made into delicious sandwiches. These make for a perfect midday snack when you’re craving some delicious carb-y goodness.

Simit

Simit

Lokum – Turkish Delight

You may have only heard of it while reading The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, but Turkish delight, or Lukum as it is called locally, is very much a real confection. The traditional treat is a gel made of starch and sugar.

The classic flavors are rosewater, Bergamot, orange, and lemon, but nowadays you’ll find it in a wide variety of flavors. The lokum is typically covered in icing sugar or coconut. Enjoy it with your afternoon tea for a wonderful mid-day break.

Turkish Delight

Lokum – Turkish Delight