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Turkish Food – A taste of the Orient

Turkish food

With sweet pastries from Anatolia, olive oil-based delicacies from the coast, and zesty dishes from the Southeast, Turkey is a mecca for fine cuisines. Probably, that's why you will hardly miss Turkish food in prominent hotels and cafes near you.
However, Turkish cuisines are often referred to by their traditional names. As such, you may not know what to order or choose from the menu if you aren't a native or an informed Turkish food connoisseur.
This resource has cast light on the typical Turkish cuisines and other essential culinary information you need to know.

Doner Kebab

Doner kebab

You cannot talk about Turkish cuisines without mentioning doner kebab. It is Turkey's cuisine identity. This kebab is made from thin slices of rotisserie-grilled beef, veal, or lamb meat. The grilled meat is mixed with fresh vegetable salad and then stuffed into a thin flatbread.



Meze is an assortment of Turkish starters and appetizers served in small bowls before the main meal. However, sometimes, meze can be served as a main dish paired with wine, soft drinks, alcohol, or spirits. Meze includes dips, fresh vegetable salads, and fried treats.


Sebzeli - Nosta restaurant Cork

Pide is thin dough shaped like a kayak and topped up with onion, cheese, eggs, parsley, seasoned lamb, spinach, tomato, or sausage. Traditional bakers baked the dough on a stone or brick oven. However, today, restaurants and homemakers bake it in modern ovens.



Lahmacun is a Turkish pizza with minced meat, herbs, and fresh vegetable top-ups. However, unlike ordinary Pizza, Lahmacun's crust is super thin, and it isn't prepared with cheese. It is a perfect dish for lunch or dinner.



Köfte are meatballs prepared from minced lamb or beef, bread crumbs, onions, and garlic. The meatballs are grilled and served with flatbread and fresh vegetable salad. Some chefs sandwich the meatballs in bread, and others wrap them in a flour tortilla.
Besides meat, there is a vegetarian version of Köfte prepared from chickpeas and assorted vegetables.


This dinner entrée is prepared from the softest parts of lamb chopped into thin cuts, seasoned, and quickly seared on a skillet. The lamb cuts are often seasoned with pureed and blended salt, black pepper, or lemony sumac before searing.

Adana Kebab

Adana kebab
Named after Adana, one of Turkey's largest cities, Adana is a spicy kebab made of minced lamb and a sheep's tail fat mounted on a skewer and grilled over flameless charcoal. The grilled meat is served on a platter or wrapped in a flatbread.

Ezme salad

Ezme salad is a tomato-based salad used as a salsa, starter, or sauce for kebabs, grilled meat, pita bread, and crackers. It is made of mashed tomatoes, onion, red &green peppers, and herbs. This blend gives a surprisingly refreshing, sweet, acidic, and spicy flavour.
Go on and Order your Favourite Turkish Food
Now that you have some steadfast information on Turkish cuisine, feel confident to check into your favourite restaurant and order your best Turkish dish.

Frequently asked questions

What is Turkey's national food?

Döner kebab is Turkey's culinary identity. It is prepared from rotisserie-grilled meat and chopped vegetables sandwiched in a thin flatbread. It is popular street food in almost all parts of the world.

What is the main staple food in Turkey?

Turkey's staple food is bread, locally known as Ekmek. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are never complete without a loaf of bread. Turks consider bread as a sacred food that shouldn't be wasted. Due to the demand, there is at least one bakery in every Turkish town or village.

Is Turkish food healthy?

Turkish food isn't just tasty, but it is healthy as well. A complete Turkish meal is a combination of seasonal nuts, fresh vegetables, fruits, seafood, herbs, chicken, fish, meat, and wheat. These ingredients offer almost all essential nutrients.

Is Turkish food spicy?

Ideally, Turkish food is a combination of various native herbs and spices like red pepper. That's what gives the food distinctive, delicious taste and sweet aroma that you can hardly find in other cuisines.

What meat is eaten in Turkey?

Lamb is the most preferred meat. It is the primary meat used in Pide, Köfte, kebabs, and other Turkish beef-based dishes. However, lamb is not the only meat eaten in Turkey. They also take beef, fish, chicken, and mutton.

Is Turkish breakfast healthy?

With bread and tea, served along with fresh vegetables, honey, eggs, olives, and cheese, the Turkish breakfast is without a doubt healthy. It provides adequate amounts of vitamins, carbohydrates, essential minerals, and proteins.

Why is Turkish food so good?

Many Turkish cuisines are prepared from organic fruits, poultry, meat, and vegetables. These organic ingredients offer balanced levels of quality proteins, carbohydrates, essential trans-fats, and vitamins. As well, the cuisines contain organic spices and herbs that are rich in antioxidants, immune boosters, and detoxifiers.

What seeds do Turks eat?

Sunflower seed is the most popular pastime seed snack for Turks. Many people enjoy it when relaxing at parks, watching sports events, or chilling indoors with friends and family. The sunflower seeds are the equivalent of popcorns.

What is the best food to eat in Turkey?

While Turkey has several mouth-watering cuisines, Baklava stands out as the best. This heavenly dessert has layers of honey-doused filo dough sandwiching ground pistachios, nuts, and butter. This dessert has a delightful buttery, nutty taste.

Is vegetarian food available in Turkey?

Though Turkey is well known for meaty cuisines, vegetable-based dishes are also in plenty. Such delicates include Turkish omelette, Kumpir, vegetarian borek, Coban salatsi, Turkish cacik, Zeytinyagli Dolma, and Nohut.

Is Turkish kebab healthy?

Turkish kebabs, more so those made from chicken, fish, lean meat, and lots of fresh vegetable salad, are generally healthy. But, they contain some significant levels of animal fat, which is considered less healthy.

Can Vegans eat Turkish bread?

Since traditional Turkish bread is entirely free of animal products, vegans can eat it. It is made of wheat flour, salt, and yeast. Some chefs do add sesame and nigella seeds when baking their Turkish bread.

What's healthier, Pizza or kebab?

Pizza contains loads of processed meat, wheat, and artificial additives, which are not good for your health. A standard, store-bought Pizza is roughly 70% wheat, 20% processed meat, 10% cheese, and other toppings.
Compared to Pizza, a kebab is roughly 70% fresh vegetable salad, 15% wheat, and 15% meat. However, while kebab contains meat, it comes with enough vegetable salad, which is excellent for your health.
All in all, you can always go for low-calorie versions of Pizza and kebabs, which are considered healthier.

Is lokum vegetarian?

Primarily made from starch gel and sugar, this chewy, soft Turkish candy is entirely vegetarian since it is free of animal products. However, some commercial Lokum manufacturers use gelatin during the manufacturing process. As such, you should check the ingredient list to confirm if your Turkish delight is indeed vegan.

Can you eat pork in Turkey?

Since Turkey is a Muslim country, the demand for pork and pork products is low. That's why you will hardly find restaurants serving pork-based dishes. However, farming, selling, and eating pork is legal in Turkey.

Do they eat turkey in Turkey?

Yes, Turks eat turkey.

Is there bacon in Turkey?

While many Turks don't take pork-based products, you can still find bacon in leading supermarket chains, retail grocery chains, and online stores. You can also find it easily in some local stores in westernized metropolitans like the Mediterranean coast, Southwestern towns, and Istanbul.
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