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What to eat in Turkey? An cheat list!

Turkish delicacies have stuffed the menus of restaurants around the world, rich and delicious but not very spicy. The Ottoman cuisine is a classic Turkish culinary menu known for its meat-filled skewers. Whether it’s the main course, sweets, appetizers, or juices, the Turkish cuisine will tantalize your taste buds so you will be satisfied and crave more.

Visiting Turkey and want to know what to eat? Then this collection of delicious Turkish dishes is a must-try! We’ll go through everything, from traditional Turkish cuisine to street food, kebab, etc. Whatever your taste preferences are, there is something here for you. Even if you can’t pronounce the names of the dishes, you will love their taste.

Checklist to understand a Turkish Menu

Especially outside tourist areas, the menus are often not available in Turkish. To understand a little bit what you are ordering, use this list for easier understanding.

English Turkish
Bread Ekmek
Chicken Tavuk
Beef Sığır eti
Lamb Kuzu
Fish Balık
Meat Et
Vegetables Sebzeler
Fruit Meyve
Rice Pilav
Soup Çorba
Salad Salata
Cheese Peynir
Egg Yumurta
Milk Süt
Water Su
Tea Çay
Coffee Kahve
Juice Meyve suyu
Dessert Tatlı
Ice Cream Dondurma
Honey Bal
Butter Tereyağı
Yogurt Yoğurt
Olives Zeytin
Tomato Domates
Pepper Biber
Onion Soğan
Garlic Sarımsak
Potato Patates
Eggplant Patlıcan
Lentils Mercimek
Beans Fasulye
Chickpeas Nohut
Spinach Ispanak
Doner Döner
Baklava Baklava
Tea Çay

Street Food Prices in Turkey

In Turkey, the prices of street food vary greatly depending on what you’re looking for, where you get it (a street cart or a restaurant), and whether you’re in a tourist area. However, most of the street snacks on this list cost an average of between 1 and 5 euros.

On the other hand, mid-range restaurants ask a higher price for some of the most popular Turkish street meals.

Menemen

Menemen is a mix of scrambled eggs and a vegetable stew, similar to shakshuka. It’s made by cooking tomatoes, onions, and peppers into a flavorful broth, then whisking in eggs to roast in the boiling tomato juice. Additionally, cheese or sucuk, a spicy sausage, is sometimes added to enhance the flavor. But of course, any breakfast goer would be negligent if they didn’t dip and scoop this sticky delight into their toast.

Cag kebab

You might confuse cag kebab with doner meat, but nothing compares, and it’s 10 times better. Unfortunately, Cag kebab is not readily available, so if you come across a place that serves it, give it a try, because it’s excellent.

Cag kebab is simply lamb placed on a rotating skewer; however, instead of vertically stacked doners, cag kebab is stacked horizontally and cooks as it turns over a hot flame. The meat is then finely chopped and put on metal skewers. If you want to make it a bit spicier, throw in some onions. Simply remove the meat from the skewer using lavas (wrap) and eat with your hands.

Lahmacun

Lahmacun is a flat, crispy bread that can be wrapped, folded in half, or torn apart to eat with a topping of minced meat, salad, and lemon juice. The Turkish version of pizza is bursting with flavor. The Mediterranean spices and the minced lamb create a party in your mouth. It’s a popular Turkish street food found all over the country. So, on your next vacation to Turkey, you must try this.

Mercimek çorbasi

In Turkish cuisine, mercimek çorbasi, or lentil soup, is a staple meal. Its delight is matched only by its simplicity. It’s a basic puree of lentils and spices, usually served alongside the soup and topped with cilantro and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Any type of tursu or pickled vegetables, including cabbage, carrots, and olives, can be used as additional garnish. Mercimek çorbasi is an affordable, satisfying, and heartwarming element of almost any menu, from sophisticated dining venues to neighborhood cafeterias, when served with two piping hot pieces of pita bread.

Döner

Döner, Thinly sliced meat (lamb, beef, or chicken) is put in a pita bread or lavash wrap and grilled on an upright rotisserie or vertical spit. The bread is filled with tomatoes, onions, fried potatoes, and lettuce alongside the meat. For the sauce, you may use mayonnaise or ketchup. It’s similar to Greek gyros or Arabic/Iranian shawarma.

The streets of Turkish cities are dotted with excellent kebab vendors. However, the döner is the most famous street food. It can be found on almost every block, making it ideal for a quick bite when you’re hungry!

Borek

Borek, another pastry-type meal, comes in various flavors, with minced meat, cheese, potato, cheese, and spinach being the most typical. Locals enjoy it with tea, but if you’re looking for a sweet treat, go for the simple version sprinkled with sweet pudding sugar on top! Borek is traditionally served for breakfast. However, it may be eaten first.

Manti

Pasta lovers, get ready. Ravioli has its own variant in Turkey! Lamb or beef mince is stuffed into small handmade dumplings and then served with a creamy yogurt sauce. It takes a long time to make Manti, but you’ll find it’s worth the effort after trying a bite.

Simit

Simit is one of Turkey’s most popular dishes. It’s available in the streets of Istanbul in these red street food carts.

Simit is the name given to a sesame seed-encrusted bagel-shaped bread. It’s crispy and chewy, and it’s a fantastic cheap Turkish snack.

Baklava

Baklava is a rich delicacy consisting of layers of filo dough filled with chopped nuts and soaked in syrup. It began in the kitchens of Ottoman palaces and has since become Turkey’s most famous dessert.

If you’re looking for some of the tastiest baklavas in the world, then Turkey is the place to go. Ladies’ lips, nightingale’s nest, and palace baklava are some of the many variations, all delicious but varied flavors according to the nuts and filling used.

Kestane Kebab (Roasted Chestnuts)

It doesn’t get easier than this for a street snack; it’s just chestnuts grilled on a grill with their shell on! Despite the lack of meat, a chestnut kebab is a popular street snack in Turkey. It’s a kind of healthy street cuisine that can be found every day. The streets of Istanbul are bustling with authorized vendors selling roasted hot chestnuts, especially in the fall and winter. Chestnuts are fresher and tastier in the winter. Some might find their taste unappealing, but it’s a traditional Turkish snack that is prepared at home using wood-fired ovens. Additionally, Turkey has many chestnut trees, making chestnuts an abundant food source.

Meze (appetizers)

Meze (appetizers) contains different dips and vegetables, often delivered when you order a meal. Contains different dishes, sometimes salads, well made sauces, and yoghurt.

Nohutlu Pilav

Another staple of Turkish street cuisine is Nohutlu Pilav, or ‘rice with chickpeas,’ exquisite in its simplicity and well-rounded in flavor and nutrients. Layers of rice and chickpeas are piled high with roasted chicken on top so their juices seep through for a delicious taste. Nohutlu pilav is prepared in huge glass boxes on wheels that are insulated to retain heat. Diners can choose rice and chickpeas as a satisfying alternative to a sit-down dinner. For a few extra lira, customers can enhance the quality of their dinner by adding pieces of chicken. Who knew street food could be so healthy?

Siş kebab

In Turkey, Siş kebab is one of the most popular dishes. It’s often made with marinated cubes of lamb, chicken, or beef, roasted on a metal rod over charcoal. They are served with grilled tomatoes, green peppers, and rice pilaf or bulgur pilaf on a plate.

Güllaç (Dessert)

Güllaç is a Ramadan dessert traditionally offered in Turkey. It’s popular because it’s light and easy to make and provides a refreshing treat after a long day of fasting. It’s now available outside of Ramadan at many restaurants and bakeries. Güllaç is made by pouring warm milk and rose water over Güllaç sheets and sandwiching walnuts between them. Usually, 6-10 sheets are used. Güllaç sheets are made in a pan with water, flour, and starch. After they are cooked, they are dried.

Kunefe

A word of warning: don’t take kunefe as a dessert if you’re even slightly full after your dinner! However, it’s ideal as an afternoon snack. What’s the reasoning behind this? Because it’s a large dish that’s still delicious.

Kunefe is a hot delicacy packed with cheese – and we mean PACKED. When you cut into it, the cheese strands are visible. The outer layer is shredded wheat, with pistachios and a hint of cream inside to make it very tasty. It might seem like a disaster, but it’s strangely wonderful, although a bit messy to eat.

Pide

Pide is a favorite dish among Turks, and the Black Sea region produces some of the tastiest. In this cuisine, dough balls are stretched out on an elongated bottom and filled with various fillings. The most well-known is sucuk yumurta, a spicy Turkish combination of sausage and egg with kasar (yellow sheep cheese). Ispanakli kasar, spinach with cheese, on the other hand, is delicious. What makes pide so tasty is the crust. When baked in a wood-fired oven, the high temperature creates a crispy, crunchy base suitable for a wide range of dishes.

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