Best Foods to Try in Istanbul
On the hunt for the best food to try in Istanbul? Look no further! From phyllo-dough pastries to savory kebabs, Istanbul’s cuisine is diverse and delicious. Whether you’re looking to enjoy the flavors of your own culture, or want to try something new and exciting, here are some of the best foods to try in Istanbul. Don’t forget to share your favorites with us in the comments!
Top 6 Dishes to Try in Istanbul
If you’re interested in trying some of Turkey’s most famous dishes—or just want to know what that Istanbul is a blank slate! Clichés are all about—here are six of Istanbul’s signature foods that should be on your must-try list. Trust us, if one of these isn’t up your alley, then Istanbul has something else for everyone. It’s big and diverse enough to hold its own as one of Europe’s biggest cities. And its food scene doesn’t disappoint! Now get ready to plan a trip (because after reading through here, we know you can make room). These six culinary classics will not let you down:
This dish comes from Bursa, known for both its natural beauty and great cuisines like camel meatballs, grilled sheep brains, and pickled grapes stuffed with walnuts and almonds. The city is located about four hours east of Istanbul. Here its baked flatbread piled high with tender cubes of beef cooked in yogurt and smothered in tomato sauce mixed with buttery tomatoes — finished off with some fresh cucumber slices on top as garnish.
Meat dumplings fried until crispy on top but soft inside — they’re served alongside a zesty mix made up of spicy peppers, eggplant puree, or yogurt depending upon region.
Known by locals as top-chop because half the top is cut off so there is more crust space for drizzling olive oil and adding red pepper flakes. Its original name came from small bowl-like pots used to cook it.
Kumpir İstanbul Kumpir Sandviçi:
Traditionally sold by street vendors, now also offered at hole-in-the-wall shops sprinkled throughout every neighborhood.
Usually filled with cheese – sometimes parmesan – along with ketchup or honey; pide topped with Nutella is especially popular…
A simple dish of mashed and spiced potatoes, chopped onions, and tomato paste with paprika. It’s topped with sliced hot green peppers, eggs, and parsley. Oh, and copious amounts of melted butter. What are your favorite foods to try when visiting Istanbul?
Top Side Dishes
Turkish food is known for its meat-heavy sides, but don’t be fooled—there are plenty of vegetarian-friendly dishes worth exploring! Along with Turkish staples like lentil soup and stuffed grape leaves, try these out-of-the-box options at your next visit. Each contains very little fat and is high in fiber: cucumber, tomato, lemon, and olive oil (Israeli salad) lentils served over homemade bread apricots filled with chicken or eggplant (mantı) olives plucked straight from a tree heady chunks of white cheese served alongside cucumbers or raw vegetables green beans mixed with diced tomatoes, peppers and onions in olive oil yogurt stewed with cabbage or squash black sea bass grilled whole, as it comes from Lake Bafa quince sweets (pekmez), similar to figs with honey, made by candying them until they resemble fresh leather. The biggest benefit of eating like a local? Weight loss without even trying!
Tahinli Ispanak –
Tahini makes a great marinade for any vegetable, including spinach. In Turkey, spinach is traditionally cooked until thick and creamy in tahini sauce; ask your waiter if you can get more sauce on your side dish.
A great way to use up leftover rice! Cooked rice with tomato and green beans creates an intriguing flavor combination that will keep you coming back for more.
Packed with vitamins, lentils are rich in protein but low in fat. When combined with red lentils (the most common variety), vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and celery create an earthy flavor base that’s healthy without sacrificing taste.
Cucumber, tomato, lemon, and olive oil are a favorite of Turkish locals; it doesn’t sound too fancy until you realize just how simple it is to make! Anytime you have extra veggies lying around, try chopping them up and tossing them together for a quick side dish—you might be surprised at how easy it is to transform leftovers into culinary gold. If using pickled cucumbers rather than fresh ones, rinse them before tossing them into your salad—canned cucumbers tend to be overly salty.
A classic breakfast choice, these small ravioli-like pockets stuffed with chicken or eggplant are tasty any time of day. Served alongside yogurt or black sea bass grilled whole as it comes from Lake Bafa they’re usually accompanied by fresh fruit like apples or pears, which can work wonders on your digestion even if they aren’t quite ripe yet.
Despite some food is heavily influenced by Western fast-food chains, there is still a very large range of traditional Turkish food you should try while visiting. While eating in Turkey, be sure to try kebabs, lahmacun (Turkish pizza), and sütlaç (rice pudding). These are only a few of many foods that you won’t want to miss out on while on your trip. With great options for anyone interested in trying something new, these local dishes are ones you won’t forget about. Just make sure to leave room for their sweet desserts too!
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