Some might say the best Turkish dish is the kebab, but Turkish people tend to believe their cuisine far exceeds that. The reason Turkish cuisine is so rich is that this large country has different, unique dishes that are specific to each part of Turkey. Turkish cuisine's dishes were made and perfected for centuries before they were served to you. For example, baklava's homeland, the Gazi Antep region, offers its own food such as beyran, soğan kebabı and içli köfte. This delicacies are not just for Turkish people to discover, Antep's Turkish cuisine is even sought after by British tourists.
Turkish cuisine's most iconic dish is the kebab, eaten as a snack after a night out. In reality, Turkish cuisine has so much more to offer. Each part of Turkey is famous for its own special food and they are all definitely worth a try.
Turkish food is so rich in variety that you can find food for any type of palate and if you are vegetarian, there are amazing options for that as well. One thing that might be hard to come by is modern fusion dishes. Turkish people take their food seriously and try not to play with it for a couple of centuries at least.
We hope that in the future, with the help of young and dynamic Turkish chefs' help, Turkish food will gain the recognition it deserves not only for its mouthwatering kebabs but for all the other kinds of meals it has to offer.
One of the reasons Turkey is a great place to travel, is that you can always find food on the streets and you'll never go broke doing so. Snacking on simit with feta cheese between meals gives you enough energy to get you to your next meal, but if you are looking for something more filling, you can have rice with chicken on a street corner from a food cart. The chicken rice meal, tavuk pilav as locals call it, is also a great late night dinner after a night of drinking. Another meal you should try is fish sandwiches called balık ekmek. Balık ekmek can also be a proper meal at a restaurant, but it is just better as a street snack. These are just a few examples of the endless possibilities you can munch on in the Turkish city corners. We promise they are all worth a try.
If you are a vegetarian worried about going into the the kebab land, there is no need to worry. The idea that Turkish cuisine is a meat filled, monochromatic cuisine is just not true. Turkey has many options for people who don't eat meat. There are even some delicious Turkish dishes that are vegan-friendly. For example, a popular street food called çiğ köfte is a great option. Literal translation being raw meatball, it actually doesn't contain any meat and is made with bulgur rice and pomegranate sauce. It is completely vegan. It is however a bit of a spicy dish so be ready for a bit of a kick.
Another very famous street food, simit, is made with dough and sesame seeds. It is again vegan. Kısır is another amazing food that is made with bulgur rice, onions, tomatoes, peppers and olive oil. It is again a vegan dish that you'll long for when you get back home. There are so many vegetables stuffed with rice and herbs, and cooked or baked in olive oil that you'll never want to leave Turkey. Another personal favorite of ours is mercimek köftesi, again called meatball for its shape, is made with bulgur rice and red lentil. Turkish people, vegan or non-vegan, love eating this when they get together with friends at home. If you have Turkish friends hosting you, don't hesitate to request some mercimek köftesi before you go.