Delights of Turkey

Kebap, iskender, hamsi tava, lahmacun are all yummy but a bit fattening, you might think. Though, they are well worth tasting in your travel to Turkey.

Now, we are taking a tour in Turkey from west to east and tasting prominent local food in every region.

Zorhan Mokoele | TDO local expert from South Africa


By Fatihilhan

I believe Turkey is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. I am from the Cappadocia Region of Turkey, which is famous for its so-called ‘fairy chimneys’, strange looking rock formations. I like very much trekking in rocky valleys of this region and exploring its splendid nature. Along with that, I have been to many splendid parts of Turkey. I would like to share all of these experiences with you in this blog and introduce my country.

a Turkey based traveler

Marmara Region - Bursa
Our first stop is Bursa. This green city is also famous for its local food. The most prominent one is iskender kebap, which is made with meat and served with yogurt and butter. Don’t forget to order your iskender kebap at the 100-year-old iskender kebap restaurant at Heykel, the city centre of Bursa.

Other well-known meat dishes of Bursa are inegöl köfte (meatballs) and cantık. Chestnut candy peculiar to this city is both very delicious to eat and a good present to buy from Bursa.

Aegean Region - Izmir
The biggest city of the region also offers you great local food and dishes. Kumru is a practical food for lunch breaks. It is a sandwich filled with salami, cheese, tomato, pepper, ketchup and mayonnaise. İzmir köftesi (meatball) is the meat dish of İzmir within Turkish meat dish culture.

Meatballs are lined up with tomatoes and peppers and cooked. As a result, a splendid taste of meat mixed with vegetables comes out. This taste is garnished with a spicy sauce. Lokma is the kind of dessert which becomes famous in İzmir and spreads all over Turkey. It is delivered to people after a person’s death in his/her memory.

Mediterranean Region - Adana
Adana is in the south of Turkey. It is a developed and rich city. It is also famous for its Adana kebap, which is now liked, cooked and served all over Turkey. Be careful with chillies served together with Adana kebap. It can be the chilliest thing you have ever eaten.

Another meat dish of Adana is ciğer. Local people of Adana eat it at breakfast, which you may find interesting. Especially on Sundays, you can see many street sellers selling ciğer. As a dessert, I’d prefer taş kadayıf, which is a pastry filled with walnuts.

Southeastern Anatolian Region - Şanliurfa
Şanlıurfa, which is one of the oldest city in the world, has also an old culinary culture. Lahmacun is a kind of pide mixed with spices. It is now Turkish people favourite all over Turkey. The kebap peculiar to Şanlıurfa is Urfa kebap, which is made from lamp.

Çiğ köfte is indispensable food of sıra gecesi, a tradional Şanlıurfa entertainment where saz is played, songs are sung, and people dance. This food is made by kneading the meat for hours without cooking it.

Eastern Anatolian Region - Erzurum
Erzurum is renowned for it cold winters and its skiing centre. Çağ kebabı is definitely the best of its cuisine. Fatty lamb in it gives you the utmost flavor. As a soup, I like Aşotu soup very much.

It is made of yogurt, onion and wheat and very warming in cold winters of Erzurum. As a dessert, kadayıf dolması is great. At the end of your meal, don’t miss drinking special tea of Erzurum.

Black Sea Region - Trabzon
Dishes made using anchovy, a kind of fish hunted in the Black Sea, such as hamsi tava or hamsi pilav characterizes Trabzon cuisine. Another kind of culinary in this city are the dishes made with cabbage.

Middle Anatolian Region - Kayseri
The main dish of Kayseri is mantı. Dexterous hands of Kayseri women get ready this food for hours. It is cooked in water and served with a sauce. Sprinkling some pepper and cumin on it while eating adds to its flavor.