Turkey is a unique melting pot of cultures and culinary traditions. From the richly spiced kebabs to the iconic baklava, Turkish cuisine has something for everyone’s taste buds. But if you want to experience all that Turkey offers, there are certain specialties you must try when you visit this amazing country. In this article, we’ll explore the top specialties you must try in Turkey.
Turkey produces some of the best tea in the world, and locals are passionate about it. This national drink has a unique, strong taste and a delightful aroma. Turks regard tea as an important social occasion, sipping a cup is a great way to get to know new people or foster relationships with current friends. It is customarily served hot in tulip-shaped glasses, so people can experience the color and scent of the brew even before they take a sip. As well as black tea, many herbal blends, such as spearmint, hibiscus, or sage, are also popular in Turkey. Turkish tea’s flavor is enhanced by adding sugar lumps. The sweetener gives an extra depth of flavor without masking it, instead complementing it if added in moderation. Moreover, drinking Turkish tea offers many health benefits, including reduced risk for heart disease and stroke due to its antioxidant content. Consider marking it a must try.
This dish takes its name from Iskender Efendi, known to have invented it in 1867. The traditional Iskender Kebab is made with shredded pieces of lamb or beef that have been slow-cooked and roasted on a vertical spit. The meat flavors with special spices and herbs give it an irresistible aroma and flavor. Parsley, tomatoes, onions, yogurt, and butter are added to complete the dish.
It is usually served with hot pita bread or rice pilaf, which helps to absorb all the delicious juices from the succulent pieces of meat, making it more flavorful. What makes Iskender Kebab so unique and stands out when compared to other grilled kebabs in Turkey is its preparation which mixes butter and tomato sauce onto pita toast before adding slices of meat shavings on top. What distinguishes this kebab from other varieties is its abundance of flavor because various ingredients like mint and garlic are added for additional enhancement in taste.
The presentation of this Turkish delight adds another layer of experience when savored as the shredded meats on top are arranged artistically along with cubes of tomatoes, onions, peppers, and herbs, creating a spectacular platter for indulgence by sight as well as taste buds alike.
Pide is an acclaimed Turkish dish of dough, meat, and other savory ingredients. It is essentially a boat-shaped flatbread whose dough is fashioned in an oval shape with two sides having an air pocket in the center. It can be topped with tomatoes, onions, spinach, parsley, cheese, and sausages. There are additional ingredients that can be mixed into the dough to bring out the flavors of pide, such as dried herbs like dill or oregano, extra virgin olive oil, and ground black pepper. Pide is complemented by various pickles, including Cozette, which consists of small cucumbers fermented in a vinegar-based marinade.
Pide’s popularity may stem from its ability to be cooked quickly and easily in any kitchen, as it does not require lengthy preparation or special skills to make this flavorful dish. Moreover, what makes pide especially mouth-watering is that the dough is extremely thin compared to a regular pizza crust, making it easy for anyone of any age to enjoy this delicacy.
Baklava is an absolute classic for Turkish confectionery and should certainly not be missed when visiting this wonderful country. Baklava originates from the Ottoman empire and consists of thin dough filled with chopped nuts, usually walnuts or pistachios, and sweetened with syrup or honey. It tastes as delicious as it sounds! Baklava is often served accompanied by hot Turkish tea to enhance flavor and richness. Although baklava appears simple enough, it is a challenging dish to perfect. The process requires much patience; rolling out the layers, stuffing them with the nut mixture, cutting them into precise pieces, and drenching in the sugary syrup is not accomplished quickly. Every part of this pastry has been carefully crafted to perfection over generations, with experience passed down within families.
Turkey is a unique destination with plenty of culinary delights to be explored. From Iskender Kebab to Turkish Coffee, there are many top specialties you must try when in Turkey. Whether you’re a fan of savory dishes or sweet treats, this country’s cuisine has something for everyone.