Everywhere you visit in Turkey there are local eateries serving up a whole host of delicious fresh dishes, if you’re a meat or fish eater, you’re in for a real treat. However, on the majority of menus, you will also find wonderful vegetarian dishes which will tantalise your taste buds. There are some great Chinese, Italian and Indian restaurants too and most good restaurants offer a smattering of International dishes. It amazes me when most tourists who visit Turkey choose international options; I can’t help but wonder why? Be adventurous your missing out on wonderful tasty cuisine.
Most meals in Turkey start with soup, my favourite soups are Mercimek (red or green lentils) Ezogelin (bulgur and red lentils) Sebze (vegetable) and good old tomato soup there are many others but these are usually on most menus. If you want to really be adventurous then try Kelle Paca (boiled cow or sheep’s head/and or feet) and Iskembe (tripe) the locals will be very impressed and they are served with fresh crusty bread.
In my opinion one of the highlights of visiting a new country is sampling the local dishes and you will find this restaurant in most areas called a Lokanta or Lokantasi (restaurant) which serves authentic Turkish food, which basically has around six dishes to choose from along with a choice of rice, bulgur or sometimes fried cubed potatoes. The main dishes tend to be chicken, beef or lamb stews, mince served with aubergines and aubergines and vegetable stew also on the menu are koftes, kebabs, Turkish pizzas and pides.
As most of the dishes are already prepared, you can see them at the food counter as they are kept in hot serving trays. Generally, they are not served piping hot but are utterly delicious and are at very reasonable prices, these dishes are usually served with copious amounts of bread to mop up the tasty juices. You can choose several options to taste and it’s a great way to sample different local dishes, there will always be plenty of local Turkish people eating there too.
These restaurants are not fancy and don’t look like tourist restaurants but they are clean and the food is of a very good standard. Think of these restaurants the same as a truckers café where you absolutely know you will get a great cooked breakfast and as with all restaurants and cafes if the locals go there to eat then you know the food is going to be great!
Desserts are on offer and range from the popular baklava which is filo pastry stacked with honey and nuts and you can buy this anywhere in Turkey. Sutlac is very similar to rice pudding it’s served cold and doused in cinnamon and another favourite is Lokma which is small deep fried balls of dough covered in syrup. Turkish desserts tend to be very sweet so be prepared for sugar overload. When you’re next in Turkey try the traditional dishes I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!