28 May 2014

15 traditional eats, sweets, drinks to try in Turkey

The food in Turkey is delicious, provided that you step away form the main streets that tourists are most likely to stroll in.

So, here are the traditional treats you should give a try in Turkey:

Main courses and snacks
  • Döner kebap -  döner means turning and the name comes from the way meat is roasted vertically. The best kebap is Iskender Kebap ("Alexander's Roast Lamb"), named after a chef in the city of Bursa who created the dish: lamb raised on the thyme-covered slopes of Mount Uludag (which rises south of Bursa) is roasted à la döner, spread atop diced flat pide bread, then topped with savory tomato sauce and browned butter and served with a dollop of yogurt on the side;

  • Pide - the one above is the first thing I ate in Istanbul and I came for more the following days. It's flat bread, pressed cheese and minced lamb meet. Simply delicious;
  • Sea food - I particularly liked grilled calamari in butter souce with a colurfull asortment of spices. My mouth is watering as I am writing this...
  • Kumpir -  a loaded baked potato. I didn't have this because we can find it in Romania too, but it's their fast food and it can be very nice;
  • Sesame seed pretzel that you can find everywhere in the streets, on the sea, in the islands. It can come with nutella spread, but, to tell you the truth the pretzels I tried are not as good as the ones we have here.


  • Turkish delight - opt for fresh ones, not the readily packed ones, you can even find it made with honey. Normally the price is also an indication of the quality;
  • Baklava or künefe. We had a special künefe that contained melted unsalted cheese inside. It was a very interesting combination;

  • Sutlac - Turkish rise pudding that you can easily do at home. For me this is a food for kids or what my mom cooked often when I was little. I do it often too, for my boys: little ones and big one

  • Icecream - the Turkish ice cream is different, stickier or with a more gum like consistency;
  • Souffles - I saved the best for last. What the French are calling "Moellux au chocolat", the Turkish are calling Souffle. I ate my divine one at Mezzaluna, in Istinye Park mall and it was a chestnut souffle with coconut parfait. I took a picture, of course, but I accidentally deleted some of my pictures from Turkey. I it wasn't for this terrible mistake I think I would have framed it. But maybe, just maybe, I will be back for more someday. My opinion is that this dessert alone deserves a trip to Istanbul.


  • Fresh pomegranate juice, or orange one, or any other fresh that you can find. Made on the streets, very affordable if it's not on the most touristy places;

  • Turkish tea ( çay) - red or apple tea - served in small glasses and it is sweet and welcome after a day of strolling the streets or the shops;
  • Turkish coffee;
  • Ayran - is ubiquitous in Turkey and offered at almost all places that serve drinks, including even chain fast-food restaurants;
  • Raki - the national alcoholic beverage of Turkey,and of Crete.

You may enjoy these in other countries in Europe, or elsewhere in Turkish restaurants. So enjoy Turkish traditional food wherever you are!

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