Turkish food may not be your go-to for Middle Eastern cuisine, but their delicious and satisfying dishes make them a contender for some of the best food in the region. Here’s our list of the best typical Turkish foods that you have to try.

All of these ingredients combine to make delicious typical Turkish foodsAll of these ingredients combine to make delicious Turkish foods

1. Simit

Turks eat a big breakfast with the whole family, and simit is a staple at any Turkish breakfast table. Though simit is just circular bread with sesame seeds on top, it pairs well with any meat or cheese your jam you can think of.

2. Doner

Doner is a lamb and beaf combination that’s been compressed and grilled rotisserie-style on an open flame. When ordered, the meat is cut from the verticle rotisserie into thin slices with a long knife. Often, it’s served either on its own or with pita and toppings.

Doner rotisserieThis doner has layers of cheese and vegetables, too

3. Kokorec

This popular dish perhaps sounds more appetizing in Turkish than in English, as Kokorec is simply skewered lamb intestines – the younger the lamb, the better. Turks eat them alongside tomato, onion and bread.

4. Kebap

Kebap is one of the most typical Turkish foods, as it’s the word that functions to describe all typical Turkish meat. Grilled pieces of skewered meat are called “sis” kebap, while some Turkish districts serve “doner” kebaps. Try out Alanazik and Tandir kebaps as well.

5. Hamsi

Fish is often used in typical Turkish foods, and the best Turkish fish is called “hamsi.” The Turks love hamsi so much, they’ve come up with 50 different ways to cook it.

Deep fried hamsi with lemonDeep fried hamsi with lemon

6. Kumpir

Kumpir means “made from potatoes,” and can apply to all sorts of dishes served in Turkey. Russian salad, mushrooms, pickles and the like can be mixed together and put into a baked potato. Don’t forget the cheese on top!

7. Gozleme

Gozieme is a handmade and hand rolled pastry always prepared on a sack. The dough is rolled out and filled with savory meats and vegetables and cheeses before it’s sealed and cooked over a griddle.

8. Kofte Ekmek

Sometimes typical Turkish foods are sold in unusual locations, like Kofte Ekmek which is generally served from minivans. Kofte is popular and made with onion, tomato, salad, parsley hot spice and meatballs. Eat it with a hunk of bread for the full experience.

9. Lahmacun

Where would the typical Turkish foods be without the traditional pizza equivalent? Turks spread mince meat, tomato, onion, salt and parsley over a thin layer of pastry to make this dish, and complete it with a touch of red pepper.

Turkish pizza at the marketTurkish pizza at the market

10. Turkish Delight

Your trip wouldn’t be complete without at least trying the achingly sweet Turkish delight. This sugary snack comes in fruity, nutty, and flowery flavors– we recommend pistachio and walnut and would skip the rose blossom!

Food in Turkey is like Middle Eastern soul food, so satisfying and delicious, yet so simple in its preparation. After looking at all these mouth-watering choices, we’d like to know what you think about typical Turkish foods. Do you have a favorite?

Photos courtesy of: S Bakerwilliam.neuheiselLWYAugapfel