21 Tantalizing Turkish Foods You’ll Want Immediately

Get ready for some sweet, some spicy, and a lot of meat.

1. Baklava

What is it: Layers of phyllo dough filled with chopped walnuts or pistachios, cinnamon and sugar covered in honey syrup.
Why you’ll love it: Baklava oozes deliciousness in every bite. It is the ultimate sweet food for any sugar lover.
Recipe here.

ID: 1955297

2. Patlıcan Kebabı

What is it: Grilled ground beef, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and eggplant.
Why you’ll love it: Since all the ingredients are grilled on the same skewer, the flavors mingle to create a mouth wateringly delicious smoky combination.
Recipe here.

ID: 1955339

3. Mercimek Köftesi

What is it: Vegetarian meatballs made from lentils, green onions and tomato paste.
Why you’ll love it: Perfect for vegetarians, they are also light and make amazing appetizers or side courses.
Recipe here.

ID: 1955239

4. Hünkar Beğendi

What is it: Lamb stew served on top of a creamy eggplant puree.
Why you’ll love it: The acidic tomatoey flavor of the lamb stew combined with the creamy eggplant creates something truly out of this world.
Recipe here.

ID: 1955363

5. İçli Köfte

What is it: Ground meat, spices, bulgur, and onions stuffed inside balls of dough that are then fried.
Why you’ll love it: These balls are like the chicken tenders of the meat universe - lightly fried, tender, and the perfect amount of greasy.
Recipe here.

ID: 1955219

6. Cacık

What is it: A yogurt based soup with cucumbers, mint, and hot pepper.
Why you’ll love it: The mix of yogurt, mint, and spice makes cacık smooth and extremely fresh tasting. It’s a perfect side-course to the general heaviness of Turkish main dishes.
Recipe here.

ID: 1955207

7. Kadayıf

What is it: Shredded phyllo pastry covered with syrup and a hint of lemon juice.
Why you’ll love it: A ‘light’ Turkish dessert, kadayıf blends the sour of lemon with the sweet of syrup perfectly.
Recipe here.

ID: 1955442

8. Döner

What is it: Slow cooked meat or chicken stuffed inside bread, along with your choice of vegetables.
Why you’ll love it: You may never find meat as tender and juicy as this. The combination of hot peppers, onions, and veggies take it all to another level.
Recipe here.

ID: 1955269

9. Sarma

What is it: The Turkish version of stuffed grape leaves.
Why you’ll it: Sarma are a meal all in one, combining bulgur grains, ground meat, and spices into one bite sized serving of awesomeness.
Recipe here.

ID: 1955277

10. Çiğ Köfte

What is it: Raw beef that is kneaded with lemon, tomato paste, bulgur and garlic until tender and shaped into a ball.
Why you’ll love it: When done right, çiğ köfte is reminiscent of the type of freshness sushi brings - light, delectable, but still filling.
Recipe here.

ID: 1955309

11. İskender Kebab

What is it: Layers of tender shaved meat served over roasted bits of pita and beneath tomato sauce with a side of yogurt.
Why you’ll love it: The combination of yogurt, tomato and meat is unreal. Plus, this was apparently Alexander the Great’s favorite food, so it has that going for it too.
Recipe here.

ID: 1955384

12. Hamsi Tava

What is it: Fried anchovies.
Why you’ll love it: When served with arugula and lemon, anchovies lose their distinct fishy taste and instead taste more similar to fresh fish and chips.
Recipe here.

ID: 1955405

13. Aslan Sütü

What is it: Rakı, a Turkish spirit, mixed with water and ice.
Why you’ll love it: It’ll get you drunk! Rakı is upwards of 50% alcohol, pairs perfectly with fish and melon, and tastes like aniseed.
Serving instructions here.

ID: 1955601

14. Mercimek Çorbası

What is it: Red lentil soup with onions, carrots, and paprika.
Why you’ll love it: This is the ultimate hardy soup, with the parika and lemon adding a little kick to an otherwise creamy and filling bowl of happiness.
Recipe here.

ID: 1955465

15. Kaşarlı Pide

What is it: Fresh baked pita bread with melted cheese.
Why you’ll love it: Super fluffy, yet crunchy, bread combined with olive oil and cheese equals heaven.
Recipe here.

ID: 1955541

16. Lahmacun

What is it: Pita like bread covered in a tomato, pepper, and lamb sauce along with fresh vegetables and lemons.
Why you’ll love it: Lahmacun is often referred to as Turkish pizza, and it can substitute as an awesome non-dairy, and slightly spicy, version of the classic pizza.
Recipe here.

ID: 1955568

17. Mantı

What is it: Miniature lamb or beef dumplings, served in a spicy yogurt sauce.
Why you’ll love it: Just imagine ravioli with a flavorful Anatolian kick.
Recipe here.

ID: 1955576

18. Adana Kebab

What is it: A grilled skewer of sublime ground lamb goodness.
Why you’ll love it: The meat is tender and slightly spicy, with an additional savory kick from the use of lamb instead of beef.
Recipe here.

ID: 1955327

19. Künefe

What is it: Shredded phyllo dough encasing a sweet cheese, topped with pistachios and honey.
Why you’ll love it: The blending of savory cheese and sweet pastry is just perfect.
Recipe here.

ID: 1955426

And no Turkish meal is complete without these drinks:

ID: 1958987

20. Türk Kahvesi

What is it: Turkish coffee.
Why you’ll love it: It’s strong, dark, and as sweet as you’d like. Think espresso, but with extra coffee grounds.
Preparation instructions here.

ID: 1955641

21. Çay

What is it: Turkish tea.
Why you’ll love it: Turkish tea is brewed to the perfect reddish color from only the finest tea leaves. It is generally drunk with plenty of sugar.
Preparation instructions here.

ID: 1955628

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