Turkish cuisine is the continuation of Ottoman cuisine which has borrowed many elements from Greek, Central Asian, Caucasian, Sephardi Jewish cuisine, Middle Eastern and Balkan cuisine. It has also influenced other neighboring cuisines such as Central Western Europe’s cuisine. It varies across the country with a lighter use of spices, preference of rice over bulgur, koftes, vegetable stew, eggplant, stuffed dolmas and fish. The cuisine is famous for its kababs, mezes and dough based deserts. These dishes are majorly cooked in olive oil that enhances the health and taste of the food. This cuisine has dishes rich in vegetables and meat and also has a sweeter side.
Below are certain Turkish dishes you should never miss eating while in a Turkish restaurant:
- Menemen- Scrambled eggs cooked in sautéed vegetables and served hot with bread is a perfect traditional Turkish breakfast.
- Kӧfte- Balls or patties of ground beef or lamb, served stewed in sandwiches, over salads or plain with yoghurt is a perfect Turkish staple food.
- Manti- Small beef or lamb dumplings boiled or fried and served with yoghurt or butter and accompanied by various spices.
- Kuzu Tandir- A traditional and popular dish in which the lamb meat is hung and slowly roasted whole and is often served with rice or potatoes and yoghurt.
- Lahmacun- A flat and crispy bread topped traditionally with minced meat, salad and lemon juice is a perfect light lunch or snacks and is very cheap and available at every street corner.
- Baklava- A nutty, syrupy, pastry dessert topped with ground pistachios is a sweet and unique to eat.
- Pide- Pide is a boat shaped flat bread often called as Turkish pizza is served with a variety of toppings like minced meat, spinach or cheese.
- Gullac- A traditional dessert served during Ramadan is made from dough, milk, rosewater, nuts, and pomegranate seed is unique and sweet.
- Meze- Choices of bean dishes, salads and spreads on small dishes to eat with bread or drinks or in place of full meal is an appetizer.
- Dolma- Stuffed vine leaves with varieties of vegetables and meat is a perfect Turkish snacks to relish upon.
- Kayisi Tatlisi-A signature Turkish dessert made from tasty morsels of apricot stuffed with cream and nuts will blow your mind.
- Mercimek Koftesi- Vegetarian meat balls made from lentils, bulgur, and chopped vegetables are a common appetizer.
Next time, when you visit a Turkish restaurant don’t forget to try these dishes.