Geographically speaking, Turkey lies on the frontier of Asia and Europe. This location has influenced Turkey on many planes – culturally, historically, politically, economically, socially. The food, too, has seen influences of both worlds. Here are some of the Turkish food you should try on your next visit!
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Yaprak Sarma consist of wrapped vine leaves with a filling of rice, onion and spices like mint, currant, pepper and cinnamon. Usually served as an appetizer and ideal for vegetarians.
This dish resembles pizza; it is flaky thin dough topped with finely minced meat and onions. Over time, it has become a popular fast food dish in Turkey, and many people roll it (to eat it like tacos).
Kepabs have become popular worldwide. For those who haven’t heard of them yet, kebaps consist of meat, coated around a skewer and grilled over a charcoal fire. The most typical version is made with lamb or beef, but nowadays you can also choose chicken.
Another popular dish that has been exported to many other countries. Döners consist of beaten pieces of meat, skewered on a spit and grilled vertically. Local herbs and spices are also added.
Köfte are also known as meatballs, even though they come in all kinds of shapes. Basically, they are ground meat that is mixed with crumbled bread, minced onions and spices.
In the Western world, these would be called dumplings. The dish essentially has two parts: the dough and the filling. Usually, the latter includes ground beef or lamb, onion, salt and pepper.
Cacik are best served in summer with some ice cubes. This way, the dish, which consists of a mixture of grinded or shredded cucumbers with diluted yogurt, garlic and mint, becomes even more refreshing.
There are numerous ways of preparing pilav, but the easiest is probably sade pilav. This consists of plain rice, cooked in water with butter/vegetable oil and noodle-like small pasta pieces. Eggplant, chickpeas, meat or liver slices may also be added, as may spices like cinnamon, pepper, thyme, cumin and even almonds.
Baklava is a dessert originating in the Middle East made of phyllo pastry filled with chopped nuts and soaked in honey.
Turkish delights are jellied candies typically flavored with rose water. If you are in Istanbul, head to the Spice Market to try different variations.