Istanbul is renowned for its vibrant culinary scene, blending influences from various cultures and offering a diverse range of delicious dishes. Here are some must-try foods when visiting Istanbul:
- Kebabs: Try the famous Turkish kebabs, such as döner kebab (rotisserie meat), şiş kebab (grilled meat skewers), or İskender kebab (sliced meat on bread with tomato sauce and melted butter).
- Turkish Breakfast: Enjoy a traditional Turkish breakfast spread called “kahvaltı,” which includes a variety of cheeses, olives, fresh bread, jams, honey, tomatoes, cucumbers, and eggs prepared in various styles.
- Lahmacun: A thin and crispy Turkish flatbread topped with minced meat, vegetables, herbs, and spices. It’s often rolled up with fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon.
- Baklava: Indulge in the sweet and flaky layers of baklava, a famous Turkish dessert made with layers of filo pastry, nuts, and sweet syrup.
- Meze: Explore the vibrant world of meze, small appetizer dishes typically served before a meal. Try favorites like hummus, baba ganoush, dolma (stuffed grape leaves), and cacık (yogurt and cucumber dip).
- Simit: Grab a simit, a circular-shaped sesame-covered bread ring similar to a bagel. It’s a popular street food snack and often enjoyed with Turkish tea.
- Balık ekmek: Head to the Eminönü waterfront and savor balık ekmek, a grilled fish sandwich made with fresh catch-of-the-day fish, bread, lettuce, onions, and sometimes a squeeze of lemon.
- Turkish Delight: Treat yourself to the famous Turkish delight, or “lokum,” a gel-like confectionery available in various flavors, often dusted with powdered sugar.
- Manti: Taste manti, a traditional Turkish dumpling dish. It consists of small pasta pockets filled with spiced ground meat and served with yogurt and garlic-infused tomato sauce.
- Turkish Tea and Turkish Coffee: Complete your culinary journey with a cup of strong and aromatic Turkish tea or a rich cup of Turkish coffee, both of which hold cultural significance in Turkish hospitality.
These are just a few highlights of Istanbul’s culinary offerings. Don’t hesitate to explore local markets, street food stalls, and traditional restaurants to discover even more delicious and authentic Turkish dishes during your visit.