Turkish Gastronomy: 10 Delightful Dishes to Savour in Turkey

Juicy, perfectly charred Adana kebabs served with grilled vegetables and a side of rice.

Posted by on 24 Jan 2024

With its historic roots in the Ottoman Empire and its unique geographical location smack in between Asia and Europe, Türkiye’s dishes have been influenced by the different cooking styles and flavours of the Old World.

For this reason, Turkish cuisine is arguably one of the most robust, flavourful and hearty in the world, leaving gastronomic travellers spoilt for choice.

From tender, savoury meats to sweet, cheesy pastries for dessert, there is an indulgent Turkish dish for everyone. Travelling there soon? Here are the 10 best things to eat in Türkiye for the full, authentic foodie experience.


Turkish meze refers to small snacks and finger foods served as appetizers before meals. They’re the perfect way to get your authentic Turkish meal started.

Some of the most popular mezes include hummus, baba ghanoush, olives, tzatziki and other spiced yogurt sauces. These are typically served with pita bread that you can dip in each meze and try out, which creates a balanced symphony of flavours in your mouth.

You’ll find mezes in plenty of authentic Turkish taverns and restaurants, where they’re served as a tantalising prelude before you dig into your entrées.


Kofta is succulent little meatballs made of ground lamb or beef seasoned with aromatics like garlic, onions and other spices. They’re cooked on a grill to create the perfect, slightly charred exterior with tender, flavourful meat inside. They can be served with rice, in a wrap or simmered in a warm, savoury stew.

These meatballs are considered comfort food in Türkiye. So, you’ll likely find them everywhere, from local delis to mom-and-pop eateries all over the country.


While Greek cuisine has souvlaki, the Turks have kebab. Kebabs are among the most popular Turkish dishes in the world. These chunks of lamb or beef are thrown on an open flame alongside some vegetables like eggplant, tomatoes and onions. The result? Mouthwatering, grilled meat with a juicy interior balanced with delicious veggies.

There are many types of Turkish kebabs, the most recognisable of which are sis kebabs, the traditional skewered meats. Other popular forms of the kebab include the Adana kebab—spiced meats typically served without the skewer—and doner kebab—meats carved while they cook on a rotating spit.

Kebabs aren’t at all difficult to find in Türkiye. You’ll see plenty of kebab shops and stalls almost anywhere in the country.


Turkish street food isn’t typically known to ooze with rich, creamy cheese like that of Italy or Switzerland. But they do make an exception for kumpir—warm, velvety baked potatoes cut in half and drenched in cheese, butter and all the toppings your heart desires.

It’s usually loaded with sausage, pickles, olives and more for the ultimate treat. You’ll see this indulgent treat in kiosks and street stalls all over Turkish cities.


Manti is a Turkish cross between Asian dumplings and Italian ravioli. It’s made by wrapping minced beef or lamb in small parcels of egg pasta and boiling it until it’s cooked, and then serving it coated in yogurt, garlic, butter and other spices.

This dish is a testament to the diverse international influences in Turkish cuisine. While it’s heavily influenced by food from Asia and Europe, it’s considered a traditional dish that you’ll see being prepared in many Turkish households and restaurants.

Yaprak Sarma

Spring rolls may be more of a Chinese or Thai cuisine specialty. But Türkiye has its own version of this light yet delicious treat called yaprak sama. Instead of rice paper, these rolls are made with grape leaves and are stuffed with rice, pine nuts, herbs and spices.

They’re then rolled into little cylinders and cooked with a bit of olive oil and lemon for that classic Mediterranean flavour. It’s an earthy delight you don’t want to miss!

Midye Dolmas

Midye dolmas, or stuffed mussels, is a street food popular in Türkiye’s coastal, seaside cities such as Istanbul.

These mussels are stuffed with rice and all kinds of Mediterranean herbs and aromatics. Then, they are baked or steamed to bring out the savoury flavours of its simple yet impactful ingredients.


Menemen is a traditional vegetarian dish that involves throwing eggs, tomatoes, peppers and all kinds of Turkish spices and aromatics in a pan and scrambling and stewing them.

This homey, uber-comforting dish sounds perfect for breakfast but can be eaten as a main dish any time of the day. It’s served with toasted bread that you can dip into the yummy mixture before taking a big bite.


And now, we have desserts. If you love sweet, cheesy pastries, künefe is one of the best Turkish dishes you’ll ever taste. This dessert is made of buttery phyllo dough (think puff pastry, but Middle Eastern) baked until golden brown with ooey gooey cheese within its layers.

Some versions of this pasty also call for cream and different types of nuts. To top it all off, the künefe is drizzled with a sweet, sugary syrup and topped with even more nuts. It’s then served like a pie for everyone to share. It’s the perfect Turkish treat for any cheese lover.


Not a big cheese fan but still want to try Turkey’s delicious pastries? Go for the baklava—another famous dessert from the country. This rich, buttery square-shaped pastry is made with phyllo dough and tons of chopped pistachios (and other nuts) within its many layers.

It’s then soaked in honey or syrup, making it extra sweet and indulgent. You’ll find baklava in plenty of bakeries and restaurants around the country.

Feast on These Flavourful Turkish Dishes on Your Next Visit to Turkey

Turkish dishes are known for their delicious, savoury meats, international influences and indulgent nature. From homey, cozy kofta and menemen to street food like midye dolmas and künefe, each gastronomic experience in Türkiye will blow you away and leave a lasting impression.

Ready to go on an unforgettable culinary adventure in Türkiye? Book your next Turkish holiday with Entire Travel Group and immerse yourself in the country’s beautiful sights and rich, indulgent, beautifully diverse cuisine.

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