Turkish Food Culture - Tastes you should definitely try
Kebab and lahmacun are probably the best-known dishes, which can be categorised as the casual dishes. Although kebab is being sold in fast food shops in Europe for a very cheap price, it is a delicacy in Turkey cooked with very good quality meat and served with several side sides. The actual kebab that you can have in Turkey tastes nothing like the cheap kebab that you eat in Europe, and we really advice you to try.
Most Popular Turkish DishesLahmacun is the round Arabic style pizza with a meat topping. It tastes much better with a few drops of lemon juice. With your kebab and lahmacun, you can try Ayran, which is a yogurt drink very famous in Turkey.
Mussels dolma (midye dolmasi) is stuffed mussels (stuffed with rice, spices and pinenuts). It goes well with a cold beer.
Pide is known as the Turkish pizza. It is a flat bread with several toppings of your choice. Some of the ones that we would advice would be with cheddar and meat; cheddar and minced meat; feta cheese and parsley.
Manti is traditional Turkish style ravioli filled with minced meat. It is served with yogurt and hot red pepper.
Gozleme is a very thin sheet of pastry filled with feta cheese, cheddar cheese or minced meat. It is cooked on a special metal plate.
Turkish food is also famous for its mezes (appetizers). As majority of the dishes do not have meat, these would be the best options for vegetarians. Some of the mezes that we would advice you to try are aubergine mash salad (patlican salatasi), semizotu (purslane weed with yogurt), sigara boregi (rolled pastry with feta cheese) and dolma (stuffed peppers).
Desserts are an important part of the Turkish meals. Turkish people do not like to leave the table before having their desserts, which is why in Turkey, there so many types of desserts available. Majority of the desserts are either syrup soaked or milk based. The popular syrup soaked desserts are baklava, kunefe, burma kadayif, ekmek tatlisi or bread kadayif and sekerpare. The milk based ones that you can try are tavukgogsu, kazandibi and sutlac. Turkish delight and helva are also very popular.
With your dessert, you can drink Turkish coffee , tea , or salep (a milky drink mainly popular during cold winter months).
Alcoholic DrinksEfes Pilsen is the most popular beer in Turkey and the one that is being consumed the most. It has several types such as lite (low alcohol), dark (6.1% alcohol) and extra (7% alcohol).
Turkey has many vineyards all over the country, so there are many large wine producers. Doluca and Kavaklidere are the most popular ones. From Doluca, you can try Antik or Moskado Sek; and from Kavaklidere you can try Cankaya white, Angora red, Lal rose or Inci Damlasi sparkling. Bozcaada and Sirince are also two small towns that produce and sell local wine. Sevilen is the only large company that produce organic wine, Merlot and Cabernet red.
Unfortunately, exported alcoholic drinks are very expensive compared to Europe due to high level of taxes. So it is better to try Turkish brands.
If you like strong drinks, you can also try Raki, which is similar to Greek ouzo, however much stronger. Raki especially goes well with fish courses or meat dishes. The best brands that you can try are Yeni Raki, Tekirdag and Yesil Efe.
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Turkish Food Recipes
Lamb Stew with Vegetables - Red Meat Courses
Saksuka - Fried Aubergine with Yogurt and Tomato Sauce - Vegetable Mezes
Lentils with Minced Meat - Legume Courses
Green Beans in Olive Oil - Vegetable Courses
Carrots with Yogurt - Yogurt Mezes
Tantuni - Red Meat Courses