Top 13 Turkish Dishes

Top 13 Turkish Dishes

Exploring the rich tapestry of Turkish cuisine reveals a delightful array of dishes celebrated not just in Turkey but globally. With its complex flavors ranging from spicy to savory and tangy, and its use of fresh vegetables, herbs, grains, spices, and legumes, Turkish cuisine offers something for every palate. As Turkey's culture spans a vast geographical area, it boasts a diverse culinary heritage. Here’s an overview of the top 13 Turkish dishes that are a testament to this vibrant culinary landscape.

Balık Ekmek

This iconic Istanbul street food, a fish sandwich, is a must-try. Fresh bread is filled with grilled or fried fish, tomatoes, onions, and sometimes lettuce or cabbage, making for a delicious quick meal. Originating from fishermen in the Bosporus Strait in the mid-19th century, Balık Ekmek has become a staple of Istanbul's gastronomy.


This Turkish take on the baked potato, loaded with a variety of toppings like veggies, meats, sauces, and cheese, is hearty and satisfying. While similar dishes exist elsewhere, Kumpir is a beloved street food across Turkey, showcasing the versatility of the humble potato.


Often likened to a pizza, Lahmacun is a unique dish with roots in the Levant. It features a thin dough topped with a mixture of minced meat, vegetables, and spices. Traditionally cheese-free, Lahmacun is best enjoyed in the city of Sanliurfa, offering a taste of Turkey's rich street food culture.

İskender Kebab

İskender Kebab, Turkish Dishes

Named after its inventor, İskender Efendi of Bursa, this dish is a sophisticated variation of the Doner Kebab. Thinly sliced grilled lamb is served over pita bread, smothered in hot tomato sauce, and garnished with butter and yogurt. It epitomizes the Turkish kebab tradition and is savored across the country.


A celebrated dessert since at least the Ottoman Empire, Baklava consists of layers of filo pastry, filled with nuts and soaked in syrup. While variations exist throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East, Turkish Baklava, especially from Gaziantep, is renowned for its quality and variety.


A versatile Turkish flatbread, Gözleme is made with hand-rolled dough that's filled with ingredients like spinach and feta cheese, then cooked on a griddle. It’s a simple yet flavorful dish that showcases the everyday creativity of Turkish home cooking.

Yaprak Dolma

This dish of stuffed vine leaves is beloved throughout Turkey. The vegetarian version is a delightful mix of rice, onions, and spices, wrapped in vine leaves. Reflecting the culinary influence of the region, Yaprak Dolma is a testament to the diversity of Turkish cuisine.

İmam Bayıldı

A delicious vegetarian option, this dish consists of eggplants stuffed with a mix of onions, garlic, and tomatoes. The name, meaning "the imam fainted," hints at the dish's irresistibly rich flavor, making it a favorite for both sides and main courses.


Turkey’s answer to the bagel, Simit is a sesame seed-encrusted bread ring with a history dating back over 500 years. A staple of Turkish breakfasts and street food, its crunchy exterior and soft interior make it the perfect snack at any time of the day.


This unique pudding from the eastern Black Sea region is made with grapes, flour, and sugar. The use of the aromatic Isabella grapes gives Pepecura its distinctive tart taste and dense texture, showcasing the regional diversity of Turkish desserts.

Mercimek Çorbası

Lentil soup, a staple across the Eastern Mediterranean, holds a special place in Turkish cuisine. Made with red lentils, vegetables, and spices, it's a comforting dish served in nearly every Turkish home and restaurant.


Known as Noah’s Ark Pudding, Aşure is a rich, sweet dessert made with grains, fruits, and nuts. It symbolizes abundance and unity, often shared with neighbors during the Islamic month of Muharram. This dish is a beautiful representation of Turkish tradition and hospitality.

Hünkar Beğendi

Also known as Sultan’s Delight, this opulent dish features tender meat served over a bed of creamy eggplant purée. Originating from the Ottoman imperial kitchen, Hünkar Beğendi continues to be a beloved dish for its sumptuous flavors and textures.

These 13 Turkish dishes offer just a glimpse into the vast and varied world of Turkish cuisine, each with its own story and place in Turkey's culinary heritage. Whether you’re exploring the bustling streets of Istanbul or the serene landscapes of Anatolia, the flavors of Turkey are sure to enchant and inspire.