Like most other countries, the cuisine depends upon the region. Some classic Turkish dishes are served universally, and have in turn, made their mark on the rest of the world. Although, near the Black Sea many dishes are made with fish, inland minced meats are used more often. In the mediterranean, cuisine is filled with fresh herbs, vegetables, and olives.
The diversity in geography and culture results in the diversity of cuisine. While traveling within a large, metropolitan city like Istanbul, a traveler can find plant-based, vegetarian options. Some cuisine is heavily filled with spinach and cheese, inherently meatless, but not vegan. Traveling will bring us new experiences through new tastes so it is recommended that you try authentic dishes, if you do not have dietary restrictions.
Keep your eyes open for the bustling cafes and restaurants that appear to be frequented by locals. Here, travelers will most likely find the best, most experiential food that breathes Turkish culture.
Perhaps, you are looking for something authentic, but not too out of your comfort zone. Pides are the perfect food to try your first night out, warming you up to delectable Turkish flavors. Widely known as ‘Turkish pizza’, it is a boat-shaped flatbread filled with minced meat, cheese, and/or spinach. This dish can usually be made vegetarian. Try out this cheesiness at a local spot.
Everything looks good! You cannot choose what you want? Meze gives you a small taste of many dishes. Usually served with drinks, in substitute for a bulky meal, dainty dishes of beans, salads, and dips create an hors d’oeuvre buffet. This enables a traveler to taste many dishes without full commitment; it is indulgent, as upwards of 10-20 appetizers might be brought at once. It is perfect to share with family and mates.
Şiş köfte – Shish Kebab
A food we all know and love: meat on a stick. Most people are unaware that this deliciousness in fact originated in Turkey. Most times, the skewer is made up of chicken or lamb; at times, onions and peppers might be added to impart additional flavor. Usually, locals dip it in yogurt, but it is wonderful when eaten solo as well. With meat slowly roasted and/or grilled, it falls of the stick–tender, juicy, and savory.
Turkish delights? I would be delighted. The country is known for its way with these sweet, petit treats. Most times, the variety serves up an immense amount of choice. Some are sprinkled with nuts, while most gush with nougat and are dusted with powdered sugar. Since ‘baked fresh’ is always better than ‘out of a box’, make sure you grab as many as you can, while you are traveling in Turkey.