A Beginners Guide to Turkish Cuisine

Food

Turkish food is always so fresh and delicious that as soon as I get close to arriving in Turkey I get excited butterflies in my stomach. Whether it is something simple like kebab or slow cooked güveç there is always lots of flavour to enjoy. The dishes vary between regions utilising ingredients unique to the area so, like any country, I always try to pick dishes specific to that region. The list of dishes below is obviously not exhaustive but it’s a good introduction to typical Turkish cuisine.

I love Turkey in part because of all the yummy food. Take a look at my favourite places to visit in Turkey.

Döner

The classic döner can come in a variety of forms such as in a wrap or with bread. However, the meat used is always that giant hunk of meat you see being cooked on a spit, which in the UK we associate with a late night drunken snack! In Turkey these are delicious no matter what time of day.

Alinazik

Smoked and spiced eggplant which is grilled, pureed and topped with lamb cubes. It’s usually served with rice and yoghurt with garlic. Alinazik is a speciality of the Gaziantep province of Turkey.

Güveç

Oh I love a good güveç! Güveç is a stew cooked in a clay pot. The stew contains a mixture of vegetables and often contains meat or fish. Karides güveç or shrimp stew is my personal favourite.

Karides güveç at the beach = heaven!

Kebap (kebab)

Kebabs have been cooked around the world for generations so come in many different shapes, sizes and variations. But wherever you find them it’s essentially meat on a stick cooked over coals. Beyti refers to minced meat and şiş is cubed meat. Adana is known is the spicy Turkish kebab.

Kebab is typical Turkish cuisine
Lamb kebap

Köfta

Turkey’s answer to meatballs. A simple recipe of minced meat, onion and herbs. Turkish meatballs are served dry (ie no sauce) on a stick, often with rice and salad.

Pide

Also know as Turkish pizza. This is flatbread oven baked with a variety of toppings, as you might get on a typical pizza, but is more oval in shape.

Pide

Meze

Meze isn’t one dish, rather it is a selection of many small dishes typically served as an appetiser. Typical meze dishes include humus, olive salad, cucumber with yoghurt and eggplant salad all served with a healthy serving of bread.

A messy meze – forgot to take a photo before I got stuck in!

Izgara Balık

Simply grilled fish. A must for any visit to the Turkish coast. Nick swears by the grilled fish at Smiley’s restaurant in Kaş, which is on the Turquoise Coast. For more information on Kaş and my other favourite destinations in Turkey check out this post!

Şakşuka

Finely diced aubergine, potato, zucchini and onion lightly fried in a tomato sauce. Usually cooked in clay dish. Great as a starter.

Testi Kebap

Yes yes have a giggle at the name but this dish is truly delicious. (More giggles) This dish is typical to the Cappadocia region and is basically meat and vegetables slow cooked in a sealed clay pot. The waiter brings the pot to the table whilst it’s on flames and then promptly chops the end off the pot, whilst trying not to get any clay fragments in your food. Magic!

Drinks

Çay

Tea, never served with milk but almost certainly with a cube of sugar. You will literally get asked if you want çay where ever you go. Be prepared for a lot of pee stops!

Kafe

Turkish coffee is unfiltered, so the trick is to give the cup a gentle swirl now and again to remix the grounds with the water.

Ayran

Common in many middle east countries, Ayran is a cold yoghurt based drink mixed with salt. A little sour for my taste but Nick loves it!

Raki

Anise flavoured alcoholic drink similar to Sambuca

You’ll get offered tea where ever you go in Turkey, like here in a shoe repair shop where I was getting my flip flop fixed!

Like it? Pin it for later!

A beginner's guide to Turkish cuisine

Join my Newsletter for all the latest news and free goodies!

Leave a Reply