Turkey is a beautiful country. It’s an incredible vacation spot filled with awe-inspiring architecture, pristine beaches, and of course—some of the most delicious food in the world. 

If you’re ever going on a vacation to Turkey or just want to try out Turkish food—stick around! We’ll be showing you five amazing Turkish dishes you need to try in this lifetime. 

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5 Turkish Dishes You Need To Try

Turkey’s food scene takes its roots in the Ottoman Empire. It’s blended perfectly with the flavors of Asia, Arabic, Mediterranean, and even Western culinary influences. 

But, Turkey has mixed all these culinary inspirations into something authentic. That’s why you should never miss out on the following dishes:


You’ll never taste better wraps than Turkish Kebabs or what’s called Dürüm. It’s a popular street food that you’ve probably seen many times cooked on doner kebab vertical rotisseries. 

The wrap is traditionally made with lavash or yufka bread. Inside, you’d find seasoned meat like lamb, beef, or chicken. 

Some say that the Dürüm became the inspiration for popular dishes like Greek gyros, Shawarmas, and even Tacos al pastor. 

Hunkar Begendi

Source: Mazlav

This dish is a traditional Turkish stew made from tender pieces of lamb legs served over eggplant bechamel sauce. The lamb pieces are so tender that it’s almost melting. 

If you’ve never heard of this dish before, maybe you’ve heard it called by a different name—Sultan’s delight. Hunkar Begendi means “Sultan is Pleased”. 

But, some stories say that the dish was actually made for Empress Eugenie, Napoleon III’s wife who was visiting the country during the 19th century. 


Source: Give Recipe

This is another popular street food you can find all over Turkey. If you’re visiting Istanbul, you’re likely to see this pastry sold in simit carts on every corner. 

It’s similar to a bagel. But, instead of being boiled like its Western counterpart, the Simit is dipped in sweetened water and then dredged in sesame seeds. 

This results in a crispy outer layer with a light, delicate, and fluffy interior. You can eat this as is or pair it with sauces like butter or honey to give it extra flavor. 


Source: Daily Bash

Italy is famous for its meatballs, Turkey is famous for Köfte. This Turkish version of meatballs is made with ground beef or lamb. It’s usually sold wrapped in pita bread or paired with a salad.

The meatballs themselves are mixed with onions, garlic, cilantro, and a plethora of spices. The best part is, this dish is perfect for any meal of the day be it breakfast or dinner. 

However, these meatballs aren’t always round. They can be served in several shapes and sizes. It can be shaped like a log or even elongated with a crispy coating. 


Source: LetPacificFood

The Kunefe is arguably the most popular dessert in Turkey. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, then you don’t want to miss out on this. It combines cheese with a bit of sweets. 

It’s made by chopping up Kadaif pastry, melted with butter, and topped with cheese. Next, the Kunefe is slow-cooked and drizzled with simple syrup. 

What’s unique about this dessert is that it should be eaten right off the pan. This gives you the ultimate cheese pull effect. 

Why Should You Try Turkish Cuisine?

Turkish cuisine is built on flavor with an emphasis on health. Most of the dishes you’d find are built on fresh produce found in the local markets. 

Turkey has a bountiful supply of fresh fruits, vegetables, protein, and dairy. You get highlighted nutritious food with compromising taste. 

This is thanks to plateaus and plains covered with highly fertile soil formed by extinct volcanoes—giving one of the best farm-to-table experiences in the world. 

Traditional Turkish food doesn’t even rely on using heavy spices for flavor. Because of the abundance of fresh produce, cooks can rely on fresh ingredients.

Key Takeaways

Turkish food is something that everybody should try out in their lifetime. The ingredients are fresh, the flavors are incredible, and the food here gives a great emphasis on health. 

So, if you’re still on the fence about trying out Turkish food, consider trying out the following dishes:

  • Durum
  • Hunkar Begendi
  • Simit
  • Kofte
  • Kunefe