From Baklava to Kebabs: The Ultimate Food Tour of Turkey

Delna Shobi

March 2, 2024

4 min read

The tremendous land of Turkey is famous for its wide variety of heritage cuisines like Ottoman cuisine, Turkish vegetarian cuisine and Seljuk cuisine. A lot of fusion and innovation happened way back 500 – 600 years. Their landscape is rich in flora and fauna. They have abundant healthy herbs and fruits. Corn comes from the Eastern region of the landscape, whereas Olives are from the Aegean islands. The Southeastern Anatolian region is known for its Kebabs and Thrace for Pastries. More than 30 varieties of eggplants grow throughout the region. Undoubtedly, Turkey is a destination for food.

This article from Thrillark explains the heritage Turkish cuisine in detail, the special foods of Turks, some spellbound facts on their kitchen setup, the 500-year-old guidelines followed and lots more.

What will Turkish cuisine contain?

People of Turkey love their meals very much and always prefer to consume a balanced and healthy diet. The olden classic Turkish palace kitchens used fresh ingredients rather than preserved or seasoned ingredients. Consuming a healthy diet became a habit during the 13th century. Sultans of the medieval period only allowed two meals per day. Hence, they wanted healthy and balanced food to gain energy. These preferences are followed even today in most parts of the region.

From mouthwatering Baklava to Kebabs, most Turkish dishes are made out of Olive oil. These virgin Olive oils give an additional flavor to their food. Most Turks are vegetarians, and most of their delectable dishes contain the following ingredients;

  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Zucchini
  • Eggplants
  • Cabbage
  • Carrot
  • Spinach
  • Cauliflower
  • Pastry dishes
  • Yoghurt
  • Rice
  • Bell peppers
  • Okra
  • Marshmallow
  • Herbs
  • Plums
  • Apricots
  • Pomegranates
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Mulberry

Turks prefer dried seedless currants in almost all their dishes. Cheese is one of the significant ingredients of all their breakfast. Apart from these, Pickles made from all kinds of vegetables are another popular food item the Turks love and prefer.

Top 13 Quintessential Turkish Foods

    • This Turkish dish is considered the Queen of Turkish Desserts.
    • Turkey’s desserts fall into one of three categories: Syrup-based, milk-based, or fruit-based. This Baklava is a Syrup-based dessert.
    • It is an oven-baked dessert pastry made using filo dough, nutritious chopped nut varieties and Sugar syrup.
    • It is considered precious because, until 1990, baklava was a celebration dessert. Turks serve this only during Ramadan and feast.
    • Kuru Baklava, the dry Baklava, is known for its longer shelf life.


    • Borek is an everyday Turkish Savory Pastry Dish.
    • It is the staple food of the high plateaus of central Anatolia.
    • They are served hot as well as cold.
    • They have various varieties of Borek like Cigarette borek, Long borek, Water borek, Tray borek and lots more.


    • Popularly known as Fasulye Piyazi. It means a dish with Beans and Onions. With Beans as its secret and predominant ingredient, Piyaz salads are a chart-topping dish in Turkey.


    • Dolma means Stuffing.
    • The well-renowned Turkish cuisine is famous for its cold vegetable dish, the Dolma.
    • Most of these dishes are stuffed, without meat.
    • Twenty-four different varieties of Dolma are available across Turkish cuisine.


Chicken Shish Kebab
    • The Chicken Shish Kabobs from the Mediterranean region are famous for their tender and juicy taste.
    • The cube-sized Chicken breasts are marinated overnight by combining classic Middle Eastern and regular spices.
    • This dish plays a crucial role in Lebanese-style barbecues.


Turkish Coffee
    • Turkish coffee made of fine granules of roasted coffee beans is usually served in porcelain cups.
    • Ideally, Kahve (The Turkish Coffee) is served after every meal or with dessert.
    • It is called the Coffee Ritual in Turkey.


Turkish Tea
    • Turks love brewed tea a lot.
    • They serve tea to all their guests and all their business customers.


    • According to a few Ottoman explorers of the 17th and 18th centuries, Lahmacun takes its name from the Arabic word. It’s a pastry made using meat and low-fat mince mixed with tomato and garlic paste.
    • It is the classic Ottoman-period Pizza.
    • It is a 300-year-old dish and the most favourite lunchtime snack.


    • Yatsilik is a meal consumed after dinner. A plate of Yatsilik will contain seasonal fresh fruits, dry nuts and black tea.


    • It is one of the most popular menus of the Turks.
    • It is a National delight iconic dish.
    • More than 100 different varieties of this dish are available throughout the region.


    • It is a popular street food in Turkey, served in all tourist attractions.
    • It is also known as the Turkish Pancake.


Durum Wraps
    • It is a Turkish wrap filled with kebabs.
    • It is one of the best-selling street foods.
    • Ayran is the yoghurt drink of Turkey.
    • It is the most consumed and favourite drink of Turks.
    • Apart from these, we can find plenty of ice cream varieties. People of Kahramanmaras consume a particular variety of ice cream with a knife, fork or stick.


There is no shortage of delicious, Yummy and Appetizing food varieties on the streets of the bustling cities of Turkey. An interesting fact is that most of the dishes are served cold and hot as well.

Not only vegetarian and chicken kebabs are famous in Turkey, but Turks prefer Offal dishes to regular meat. In fact, the Offal dishes are far cheaper than the meat. Turkey also has fresh seafood. In fact, the availability of fresh seafood is plentiful. Since seafood is costly, Turks treat it as an infrequent dish.

Spellbound Facts of Turks and Turkish Kitchen

Turks value the dishes prepared, the Kitchens, the dining place and all food-related things. The ancient kitchens from where such beautiful dishes originated have some spellbound facts. Here are a few interesting facts from Thrillark.

  • Asevi and Asdami are the names of the traditional places where Turks prepared their delicious food.
  • Tandir, Ocak or Ocaklik is the name of the place where their bread and pastries get cooked.
  • The traditional empires prepared their Luscious dishes using Tandir and Kuzine.
  • Turks use Rust Proof Steel, Glass and Porcelain utensils, Wooden Ladle and Spoons in the Kitchen.
  • During the 17th century, The Topkapi Palace Sultans had 10,356 pieces of Chinese porcelain collections, Celadon bowls, more than 2000 pieces of ladles and four hundred gold-plated metal lids.
  • The deep-rooted Ottoman tradition believed that tables also have a crucial role in making a dish delicious. They classified and used nine types of Tables. The most common types of tables are Family, Guest, Special Day, and Rhamadan tables.
  • Predominantly, new-generation Turkish heritage cuisine professional cooks are from the village of Mengen.
  • Turks prefer to place the cupboards in the basement to store the ingredients for added coolness.
  • A cooking book published in 1844 revealed the secrets of Turkish cuisine to the outside World for the first time.

Bursa Edict of Standards

In 1502, emperor Bayezıd II issued the Bursa edicts of Standards. It is the world’s first standard for describing documents in the modern sense. This classic document contains guidelines for all the manufacturers, merchants and customers. This document defines the standards for each ingredient and culinary. This book is proof of various Turkish Sultan’s kitchen and agricultural processes.

With very few modifications to those guidelines, even today, the same processes and procedures mentioned in the book are being followed throughout the region.

Final Words

The beautiful republic of Turkey is between Europe and Asia. Hence, their cuisine contains a fusion of both regions and all their dishes look healthy and appetizing. Until 1800, the food culture was not known to the outside World. But today, due to advancements in technology, communication and tourism, Turkish cuisine is spread all around the World and has become easily accessible from every part of the globe. Before having your next Turkish meal, wish for “Afiyet Olsun”, which means Bon Appetit.

Book your journey with Thrillark. We assure you of a best-in-class experience.

Delna Shobi

Weaving worlds with words, where imagination blooms and stories take flight.

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    Plot No: JLTE-PH2-BB2,
    jumeirah Lakes Towers,
    Dubai, UAE

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