1 - MANTI
Mantı might remind you of ravioli at first sight, but the traditional Turkish dish is completely unique in taste and texture. Small beef or lamb dumplings are boiled or fried and served with yogurt or butter, and often accompanied with a range of spices.
2 - LAHMACUN
This flat and crispy bread is traditionally topped with minced meat, salad, and lemon juice (thought the above is a beetroot vegan option!), and can be wrapped, folded in half, or pulled apart to eat.
Cheap and available on any street corner, it’s the perfect light lunch or snack while touring.
3 - BAKLAVA
Nutty, syrupy, pastry dessert is never better than when served in Turkey. Often topped in ground pistachios, baklava is sweet and unique, and should be eaten fresh!
4 - GÜLLAÇ
A traditional dessert most often served during Ramadan, güllaç is a uniquely textured treat made from dough, milk, rosewater, nuts, and pomegranate seeds. You might find other fruit or chickpeas in some variations.
5 - MEZE
It’s common to have meze, or a range of cold appetisers, with drinks or in place of a full meal. Dinner guests are provided with around 20 choices, bean dishes, salads, and spreads on small dishes to eat with bread.
6 - ŞİŞ KEBAP
Meat on a stick originated in Turkey, wouldn’t you know? Sis Kebab is typically lamb, chicken or fish served on a wooden or metal rod, often with bread. Dip it in yogurt or eat it on its own; it’s always tender, savoury, and delicious.
7 - PİLAV
Turkish rice is simply put, delicious. Buttery and toasted, it can be the tastiest thing on your plate, and that’s not a bad thing. Don’t miss out on smothering your rice in yogurt - it’s actually amazing.
8 - DOLMA
Dolma is often used to refer to stuffed vine leaves, but encompasses any stuffed vegetable. Vine leaves are popular in Turkey, but so are stuffed peppers, courgettes, and aubergine.
9 - SU BÖREĞİ
This variation of börek is a strange and amazing cross between lasagna and pastry. Su böreği (or water börek) is made from dough softened and cooked in milk and eggs. Stuffed with cheese and spinach, it’s a moist and filling snack.
10 - MERCİMEK KÖFTESİ
These vegetarian meat balls made from lentils, bulgur, and chopped vegetables are a common Turkish appetiser.
11 - DÖNER
Döner is a typical slow cooked meat sandwich, made with chicken, lamb, or beef and served with vegetables, spices, and garlic yogurt. Döner is usually available from takeaways, but don’t be fooled, it’s exponentially tastier than McDonalds.
12 - SALEP
A trip to Turkey is not complete without tasting salep, a warm and cozy drink made from orchids and topped with cinnimon. Pure salep is illegal to export due to depleted orchid supply, and so is only consumable within Turkish borders.
13 - KÜNEFE
This unique Turkish dessert, made from cheese baked with shredded pastry dough and topped with pistachio, is a common treat for nights out as it’s difficult to make at home.
14 - MOZAİK PASTA
Chocolate cake made with chocolate sauce and broken biscuits is artful to look at and and delicious to eat. Available in almost any cafe, mozaik cake is also a go-to for Turkish mums, most of whom can whip up a no-bake version in no time.
15 - İMAM BAYILDI
This stuffed aubergine entree is delicious, hearty, and versatile. Aubergines can be filled with rice, bulgur, mince, and/or other veg and smothered in oil and butter before being baked or cooked on the stovetop.
16 - LOKUM
Lokum, or Turkish Delight, is a nougaty dessert served with a variety of flavours and fillings and often topped with powdered sugar. It’s always best fresh, as pre-packaged versions tend to go too light on the fillings and too heavy on the sugar, drying it out.
17 - KAYISI TATLISI
Tasty morsels of apricot stuffed with cream and nuts is a signature Turkish dessert that will blow your mind.
18 - MENEMEN
This traditional Turkish breakfast item is scrambled eggs cooked in sautéed vegetables and served hot with bread. Dip it, spread it, or spoon it up.
19 - KÖFTE
A Turkish staple, köfte is balls or patties of ground beef or lamb, and can be served stewed, in sandwiches, over salads, or plain with yogurt.
20 - TURKİSH COFFEE
True Turkish coffee is strong, thick, and best served with a fresh piece of Turkish Delight, baklava, or a slice of mozaik cake to take the bitter aftertaste away.