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13 Traditional Turkish Meals You Should Try at Least Once

If you have always wanted to try new types of foods, then learning about traditional Turkish fare could offer you a range of options to enjoy.

Turkish food blends together the various cultures that make up the Turkish territories. It’s known for items like Baklava and a type of flatbread known as Lavash. But these aren’t the only types of foods you’ll find when you learn about Turkish cuisine.

Check out this guide for traditional Turkish meals you must try at least once. Keep reading to start learning.

1. Lahmacun

Lahmacun is a traditional Turkish meal described as a flatbread pizza. It’s made with thinly rolled dough topped with minced meat and vegetables and then baked.

The filling is the star of the meal. It’s made of spiced and minced meat, tomatoes, red or green peppers, and onions which are all combined and cooked together.

It is then spread on the flatbread and topped with parsley, tomatoes, and sumac. It’s served with thinly sliced pickles, fresh salad, lemon, and a hot sauce to give it an extra kick.

2. Imam Bayildi

The dish consists of eggplants stuffed with herbs, onion, garlic, tomatoes, and peppers. Vegetarian versions of the dish are also popular, and you can cook eggplant in olive oil and tomato juice, giving it an earthy flavor. It’s also not uncommon to add some ground beef to give the dish a subtle meaty richness.

Perfect for any occasion, the meal is grilled or baked and usually served as either a side dish or a main course. To complete the meal, you can serve Imam Bayildi with typical sides like Turkish bread and topped with crumbled feta cheese. This unique and flavorful meal is sure to be a favorite among family and friends.

3. Ezme Salata

Ezme salata, a traditional Turkish salad, is a must-try for anyone visiting Turkey. It’s made with finely-chopped vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers, combined with herbs, spices, and a garlic and lemon juice sauce. Its flavor is light yet packs a punch of tantalizing aromas.

Ezme salata is often served with bread, but you can also use it as a dip for vegetables such as carrots and celery. This savory salad is a great introduction to Turkish cuisine, as its bold flavors and vibrant colors make it the perfect dish to begin a meal.

4. Gozleme

It is a savory meal made from flour-based dough that is flat-rolled and lightly grilled. It is then filled with savory fillings such as cheese, spiced meat, egg, spinach, or potatoes.

What makes it unique is that the dough is folded like a pocket. It is then sealed shut to ensure the inside remains warm and moist.

Typically, the Gozleme is served with a dollop of feta cheese. It is also served with a side of traditional Turkish side dishes such as pickles, jams, and a creamy yogurt sauce. This makes it a complete meal that is sure to be a hit with all ages and can be easily shared amongst friends.

5. Kofte

It consists of either beef, lamb, chicken, or a combination of those, along with typical Turkish herbs and spices. You can serve Kofte grilled, baked, or fried, and it is usually served with a side of rice or vegetables. The traditional accompaniments to Kofte include yogurt, tomatoes, and a variety of spices.

Kofte is typically served as an appetizer; however it can be a meal in itself for a hearty dinner. It’s a simple but delicious dish that you should try at least once if you travel to Turkey. With a few local touches, it can be adapted to your personal taste and preferences.

6. Chicken Pilaf

It is a combination of wheat, rice, or bulgur with garlic, onion, tomato, parsley, dill, and spices. The chicken is usually marinated in lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper before cooking. The chicken is then cooked with the other ingredients until the rice is tender and the flavors have melded together.

The dish is commonly served in homes and restaurants throughout Turkey and is a great introduction to traditional Turkish cuisine. The fragrant flavors and wonderful texture of the Chicken Pilaf will make you want more. The lightness of the rice combined with the succulent chicken and fresh herbs make for an unforgettable meal.

7. Baklava

Baklava is a traditional savory dessert meal from Turkey that you should try. The pastry is made with honey, spices, and layers of dough and walnuts or pistachios. It’s believed that this mouth-watering treat originated in the Ottoman Empire and is a great example of the flavorful international cuisine from the region.

Baklava also includes natural sugar that can give you an energy boost, and the ingredients are all natural and healthy for you to enjoy. When it’s made right, you get a delicious crispy flakey texture on the outside, and the inside is moist and sweet.

8. Dondurma

Dondurma is a traditional Turkish food that consists of ice cream made with salep, a flour made from the root of orchids. The mixture of ingredients that makes up Dondurma also includes mastic, sugar, and other spices, creating a unique flavor that makes it popular among the locals.

This dessert is usually enjoyed with a variety of warm, crunchy treats such as gözleme or traditional Turkish pancakes. Additionally, you can enjoy Dondurma with a Simit, a Turkish sesame ring. It is a very popular street food found on every corner of Istanbul as it is a traditional meal of the city.

9. Manti

Manti food is a traditional Turkish meal that is highly recommended for travelers to experience. It is a dish of small dumplings filled with finely minced lamb and spices. The dumplings are then cooked in a broth, served with yogurt and melted butter.

The flavors of this traditional meal are one-of-a-kind, with the savory richness of the meat blended with the distinctive spices. The combination of broth, yogurt, and melted butter creates a creamy sauce that adds a unique depth of flavor to the dish. You can also serve Manti as an appetizer or snack.

10. Borek

It is a pastry made of buttery layers of phyllo dough filled with various combinations of ingredients. This includes feta cheese, spinach, minced beef, or potatoes.

They’re served savory or sweet depending on the filling. This meal goes great with a creamy yogurt sauce or melted butter on top.

The scent of freshly baked Borek is mouth-watering and the flaky texture of the dough is truly irresistible. An ideal Borek has to be cooked with butter for that added richness and flaky texture. Whether it’s a savory or sweet Borek, it’s a must-have for a Turkish meal.

11. Korma

This delicious Eastern Mediterranean cuisine staple is popularly served during meals and celebrations. It’s comprised of several ingredients, including ground beef, egg, onion, parsley, and nutmeg. Conducted with olive oil, this hearty dish is typically served with cracked wheat pilaf and yogurt for added flavor.

The comforting texture and unique flavor of this dish are truly remarkable, and with each bite, you will savor the amazing combination of seasonings and spices. Cooked over moderate heat, Korma has a unique taste that’s sure to be remembered for all the right reasons.

12. Babaganoush

It consists of a combination of mashed eggplant, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil. It is typically served as a dip with pita bread or cut vegetables but can also be used as a sauce in salads or other dishes.

The smoky flavor of the eggplant is complemented by the tangy flavor of the tahini and lemon, creating a diverse and flavorful dish. The dish is often also topped with parsley and paprika, adding to the already colorful presentation.

13. Menemen

It’s a simple and delicious dish made by frying eggs in a flavorful tomato-based sauce. This sauce is traditionally made with garlic, onion, spices, and herbs like oregano and thyme. Despite its simplicity, it is a flavorful dish that is sure to tantalize your taste buds.

It is usually served as a side dish for breakfast, but it can also be eaten as a main course accompanied by fresh bread. With its eye-catching orange hue and creamy egg texture, Menemen is definitely a Turkish meal you should try.

Serve it with crusty warm bread on the side, and you’ll never forget the comforting and flavorful meal it offers. If you want to try these dishes, check out the tasty Turkish dishes found here.

Exploring Different Delicious Turkish Meals

Traditional Turkish meals are some of the most flavorful and unique dishes around the world. They often contain a variety of healthy ingredients and spices, and each dish is sure to tantalize your taste buds.

Trying traditional Turkish food at least once in your life is an absolute must for anyone who enjoys exciting flavors. If you’ve never experienced Turkish cuisine before, why not give it a try today?

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