Ten Traditional Turkish Foods You Must Try

Are you visiting Turkey for the first time? If you are, Turkish cuisine is something you just cannot miss! Here, we take you on a mouthwatering journey with the ten best and most popular iconic Turkish foods.


Probably the most known Turkish food – Kebab. It is skewered meat with special spices and cooked on the top of the charcoal. The type of kebab and its ingredients vary from region to region in Turkey. For instance, Adana Kebab is spicy and hot, Urfa Kebab is mild. Although it is street food, you will also find it in fine dining restaurants.

Kuzu Tandır

The word “tandır” means a pit oven. This is an ancient cooking technique. Kuzu Tandır is probably the most beloved lamb dish in Turkish cuisine. Think of lamb meat roasted slowly in a pit oven, the meat gets so soft that it can melt in your mouth.


Manti is steamed dumplings filled with minced meat and spices. It wouldn’t be wrong to say Mantı is “Turkish ravioli”. It is an Anatolian dish and the recipe dates back to the 15th century. Mantı is served with garlic yogurt and gravy sauce.

Köfte and İçli Köfte

Kofte and İçli Köfte are traditional Turkish foods known as meatballs. They vary in shape and size – from long to ball-shaped meatballs. Kofte is made from beef or lamb meat, or a combination of these two types of meat. It is usually served with roasted vegetables or you can have them as a sandwich. İçli Köfte is covered meatballs. Difficult to prepare, there is a special tradition about “İçli Köfte” in Anatolia. People show their respect to their special guests by preparing and serving “İçli Köfte”.


Iskender is one of the most well-known dishes in Turkey. It takes its name from its inventor (Iskender Efendi), who lived in Bursa (one of the biggest cities in Turkey). It is also a kind of kebab, served with yogurt, tomato sauce and hot butter at its top. Delicious meat served on pita bread with boiled butter will start your mouth to water as soon as you see it. It is found almost everywhere in Turkey but you have to try it in the restaurant named “Iskender”.


Pide is also a well-known Turkish food. It is a flat pita-bread baked in a stone oven. Pide has a variety of toppings. You can order it with soudjouk (sucuk), minced meat, egg and cheese, spinach, chopped lamb meat, etc. Pide can be described as Turkish Pizza but oval-shaped. It is usually a lunch dish served with salad.


Karnıyarık is a stuffed and baked eggplant with minced meat, onion, black pepper, garlic, and parsley. This is a delicious Turkish dish that you can have for your dinner.


Probably one of the most famous Turkish foods! You may have tried it in your country but it must be tested in its origins. Doner is spiced meat cooked on a vertical skewer. You can have it as a wrap or a portion served with rice and fries. You can find it everywhere in Turkey as it is one of the well-known street foods, but try it in a good restaurant and you will not regret it!


This is the most contradictive dish of Turkish cuisine. Kokoreç is charcoal-grilled seasoned lamb intestines. It is usually skewered and grilled slowly on a charcoal fire. It is not a preferred food by tourists but once you try it, you would want to eat it over and over! Kokoreç is also known as hangover food in Turkey. If you order Kokoreç, Usta (who prepares your order) will chop up a portion of Kokoreç into very small pieces and cook it with salt, savor, pepper (you can ask for additional spices). Even the smell of it is heavenly! If you are an offal lover, do not miss out on trying Kokoreç!

Sarma and Dolma

Let’s begin with the words and their meanings. Sarma means “wrapped” and dolma means “stuffed”. Sarma is made from vine leaves soaked in brine and filled with rice and lamb meat (you can also have it without meat) and other spices then rolled up. Dolma has more variations than Sarma. Zucchinis, dried eggplants, cabbage, capsicums, tomatoes, potatoes can be used for Dolma. These vegetables have to be stuffed with rice and minced meat and they are ready to be cooked! In restaurants, you can order them as starters.

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