100 Turkish foods!

This list was not difficult to make but was wonderful to discover, and there are no filler entries. Every item is legit.

Turkish foodTo say that Turkish food is delicious would be trite – delectable, scrumptious, delightful, yummy… The breads, the kebabs, the salads, the pides, the sweets, the tea and coffee…

When you visit feel free to use this list as a guide. Make sure you order something different every meal. If you gain a few kilos, think of it as taking Turkey home with you.

The list is 100 different Turkish foods divided into the following 11 categories:
I. BREAKFAST
II. BREADS/PIZZAS/GOZLEME
III. MEZE/APPETIZER
IV. CORBA/SOUPS
V. SALADS
VI. MEAT DISHES
VII. SIDE DISHES
VIII. DRIED FRUITS/NUTS/SEEDS (KURUYEMIŞ)
IX. DESSERTS/SWEETS
X. SPECIAL TREATS
XI. DRINKS


[NOTE: I did not include photos of every food for fear that it would take hours to load. You can find plenty of pictures with a quick google image search.]
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I. BREAKFAST

1. Menemen – Chop tomatoes, onions, & peppers, and cook them with some oil in a frying pan. Add salt and pepper and scrambled eggs. Enjoy! This is a common dish among locals and in restaurants but only rarely available as a hotel breakfast selecton. If you find it, try it.

2. Breakfast plate (Kahvaltı tabağı) – This generally consists of a hard boiled egg, sliced cucumbers, sliced tomatoes, olives, sliced salami (no pork, of course), sliced white cheese, sliced yellow Kaşarlı cheese, bread, and various jellies and spreads. Any Turkish restaurant that serves breakfast will serve it. The plates can vary significantly from the Sofra restaurant in Avanos which serves a basic plate for 8TL to the 25TL gourmet plate at Mado Cafe on the river in Avanos.

Honey on comb3. Raw honey on the Comb – True raw honey is hard to find and quite expensive. A liter will run up to 50TL. The normal stuff you get at the pazar from the bee keepers is priced at 15TL. This means they “helped” the bees. The best way to tell is to look at the hive. If it is full of honey, then the keepers gave the bees sugar to help. Bees are not so perfectionistic. If they do it on their own strictly from flowers, they do not fill up the hive and take much longer, thus the price disparity.

4. Pekmez – This grape molasses is sweet and delicious. The locals make it in the fall after the grape harvest. They spend a day, stomping on grapes to get the juice, then mixing the juice with dirt, and straining out the juice. Once the juice is collected they start boiling it in huge pots over open fires. Hours later the thick, tasty pekmez is all that remains in the pot. We use it as a sweetener on granola and other cereals as well as in some recipes.

5. Olives – Italy has done a better marketing job, but Turkey’s olives are just as good. I love going to the grocery store and tasting each of the many varieties. They are listed here in the breakfast category because Turkish breakfast is not breakfast without olives.
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II. BREADS/PIZZAS/GOZLEME

Pide6. Pide (flat bread) – The basic pide bread is a flat bread with no toppings. We get it warm for 60 kuruş at the Çavuşin bakery. It does not last long! This is different than the pizza-like pides listed below.

A. Kaşarlı Pide – Pide is a Turkish version of pizza. They are usually long, oval shaped like a flat American football or even a sword, but by the time you receive them they are cut into rectangular shaped pieces. The basic version contains kaşarlı cheese (no tomato sauce) and an egg. You end up with something resembling a meatless Egg Mcmuffin – crust, cheese, and egg – but delicious. The egg is optional on all pides (pronounced pee-day)

B. Karasık Pide – A mix of vegetables and ground beef.
C. Mantarlı Pide – Mushroom and cheese – Wow!! So delicious.
D. Sucuk Pide – Turkish Pepperoni.
E. Kusbaşı Pide – Chunks of beef with cheese.
F. Kiymalı Pide – Ground beef mixed with a bit of chopped tomato, onion, and green pepper.

Lahmacun7. Lahmacun – An Anatolian special. This inexpensive pide consists of crust and a mixture of vegetables. Honestly, I am not sure what is in the mixture but it tastes good and often has a bit of a spicy kick. They serve this with parsley, fresh spinach leaves, sliced tomatoes, and lemon. I recommend putting a little of each on top, rolling up the crust and enjoying.

Simit8. Simit – This sort of resembles a sesame seed bagel except it is thinner and the hole is bigger. Like bagels these are heavenly with cream cheese. They are sold by street vendors as well as in bakeries and grocery stores. They are either browned and harder or golden colored and soft to the bite. I could eat these all day, every day. Click on the link to see the super-cool viral (sort of) video in which a local baker demonstrates the whole simit making process.

9. Poaça – A delicious roll made plain or stuffed with olives, cheese, or potatoes. They melt in your mouth- a real treat.

10. Yufka – A very thin bakery dough (similar to a crepe but about 4 times bigger) used for making pastries (my wife uses it for lasagna) like baklava. Find a Yufkacı and watch them make the thin sheets from scratch- fascinating.

11. Börek/Su Böreği – Take the yufka mentioned above and put white cheese (think feta) in between the layers with some spices and bake it until golden brown. Optional to include ground beef- I recommend it. Also, instead of baking, they boil it, I think, for the su böreği, also delicious.

12. Balleye cookie – One of the many cookies you find at a bakery. They do not compare to my wife’s chocolate chip cookies, but they are great with tea.

13. Trabzon Ekmeği – This is a special bread, one of many specialty Turkish breads, that is famous around the country. You will see Trabzon Ekmeği stores devoted to these loaves.

14. Gözleme – Take the yufka, fill it with one of a number of items- cook it on a hot flat surface (frying pan with no oil) until the yufka has hardened a bit and the filling is hot/melted. Filling options: Potatoes, Spinach, Kasarlı cheese, white cheese, or a mixture. My favorite place to eat this quesadilla-like dish is the Şark Köşesi in Kirşehir.

15. Tost – This is basically a grilled-cheese sandwich, sometimes including Turkish pepperoni. They take two huge pieces of bread, stick some cheese in the middle and place it in a sandwich press/maker. They press down as hard as they are able to flatten and melt it and the resulting creation is delicious.
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III. MEZE/APPETIZER

16. Humus – This mashed chickpea spread is usually served along with other appetizers and is wonderful with flat bread.

17. Ezme (Salsa) – This mix of tomatoes, peppers, spices, and sprinkled pomegranate sauce (Nar Eksisi) will run the gamut on the “heat” index depending on the restaurant. We have tasted it everywhere from so hot we went without taste buds for the rest of the meal to so mild they must have used bell peppers.

Cappadocia food onions garlic18. Grilled Baby Onions & Garlic – They sprinkle these with the viscous, sweet pomegranate sauce (Nar Eksisi) as well. Grilled to a golden brown, they melt in your mouth and are usually served as a free appetizer (although some restaurants charge so it is best to check).

19. Yogurt – Turks eat a lot of plain yoghurt, and this is an area in which we have acclimated well. For us it has taken the place of sour cream, but we eat it with granola as well. If you want to know more about yogurt, I recommend the Ottoman History Podcast episode dedicated to this dairy product.

20. Kaşarlı Cheese – This is the closest thing to a cheddar-type of cheese. It is not cheddar, just similar in texture. If you are an American in Turkey and looking for a cheese that will be familiar to your taste buds, this is the one to try. When we drove to Europe from Turkey in 2011, I was surprised to see the many signs advertising Kaşarli in Bulgaria. Apparently, it is a big deal there, or, at least, they think that visitors want to buy it from them. Maybe one of our readers can help us on this?

21. Mercemek Köfte – These are vegetarian meatballs made out of red lentils (instead of meat) mixed with bulgur wheat, dried onion flakes, red pepper paste (think tomato paste except with red peppers), tomato sauce, cumin, parsley, green onion, lemon, olive oil, salt & pepper. Of course, different locals will have their own varieties and every recipe may not match this one exactly. They are usually served cold as appetizers. I love them, but not everyone in my family agrees.
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IV. CORBA/SOUPS

Ezo gelin soup turkish food22. Mercemek (Lentil) – This is my favorite soup. Each restaurant has their own special ingredients but the lentils are the distinguishing factor. Commonly people add some lemon juice and either red pepper or mint and sometimes when we make it at home we add yogurt. A version of this soup is called Ezo Gelin, which is mercemek with different spices added, but when I have looked at recipes they seem pretty similar. I expect that different people have their own varieties.

23. Işkembe (Tripe) – I assume some people like this or else it would not be offered (you can call me Sherlock Holmes if you like). Personally, I am not a big fan of the lining of a cow’s stomach. Once we were at a local restaurant and were finishing our meal as closing time approached. The owner brought out a bowl of tripe soup and with a big smile said it was on the house. We looked at each other wondering what to do (yes, we did think of spilling it so it would literally be on the house!). We would never have ordered it but here we were stuck with it. It would have been very rude not to eat it. I ended up eating the broth and leaving the tripe. The broth was good.

Tarhana soup24. Tarhana – Tarhana is made from a mix of yogurt, vegetables, and flour which is fermented and then dried. Mix it with rice and broth and make it into a delicious soup. The best place I know to get it is at the Babayan Village House in Ibrahimpaşa.
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V. SALADS

25. Patlican Salatasi – Eggplant (aubergine) salad is blow-your-head-off good. Most restaurants serve it. My favorite is at Bizim Ev restaurant.

26. Green Bean Salad – My favorite place to get this is the Old Greek House in Mustafapaşa. Also called Zeytinyağ Fasulye this is made with cooked green beans mixed with olive oil, tomatoes (finely chopped), garlic, onions (finely chopped), and salt. Delicious. [For some of the items on this list including this one, I found the ingredients at Almost Turkish.]

27. Coban Salatasi – This shepherd’s salad is a mix of greens and shredded carrots and tomatoes and cucumbers and oil and vinegar dressing. My favorite is the dish served at Ziggy’s in Ürgüp.

28. Kisir Salatasi (Taboulli) – You have probably had taboulli before, and the Turkish version is not that different from common recipes we used in America. You will find it at some restaurants as an appetizer, but I like it best when our neighbors share it.
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VI. MEAT DISHES
When ordered at restaurants these dishes are usually served with rice (or bulgur) and a salad along with a grilled tomato and a grilled hot pepper.

29. Testi Kebab – This is the quintessential touristy food in Cappadocia. Cooked in a ceramic pot, broken open at the table, and served with rice, this stew is delicious. However, it is a restaurant/tourist dish, you will rarely find it served at anyone’s home these days. To see how it is made watch our Testi Kebab video.

30. Tavuk Şiş – These seasoned grilled chicken pieces are probably our kids’ favorite meal when we eat out.

31. Adana Kebab & Urfa Kebab – Take ground beef and shape it like a flat footlong hot dog, put it on a skewer and grill it, add some hot spice and you have this delicious dish. (Urfa Kebab is the same without the hot spice.)

32. Erciyes Kepab – Shoestring potatoes, with a creamy garlic yogurt, steak and demi-glaze sauce shaped on the plate like Erciyes mountain covered with snow. You will only find it at Kapadokya Sofrası.

33. Paşa Bonfile Sarma (Rolled Sultan Steak) – This Ottoman specialty is grilled steak stuffed with cheese and pine nuts. Yum! Again, the place to get this is Kapadokya Sofrası.

34. İzgara Köfte – These grilled Turkish meatballs are on my list of personal favorites. Turkish köfte varies from place to place, but you can usually expect to taste some combination of lamb or beef, onion, garlic, salt & pepper, parsley, paprika, as well as oregano, mint, and ground sumac.

Sac tava35. Sac Tava – This is Turkish stir fry. Take meat strips, peppers, tomatoes, onions, and garlic, stir fry them (no soy sauce or peanut oil) in vegetable oil and sprinkle in salt and pepper.

36. Sausage Rolls – You will only find these at Fat Boys. Take a pastry, fill it with beef sausage and cheese, and bake. Scrumptious.

37. Biftek – This is like a flank steak; thin cut beef can be served as an entree or cut into strips and served on salad or cut into strips and served as fajitas (ala DiMonza Restaurant)

38. Ziggy’s Beef Tortellini – This is my favorite dish at Ziggy’s. Delicious tortellini stuffed with beef and covered with fresh parmesan cheese and a white sauce. My mouth waters just thinking about it.

Iskender39. Iskender – Most Turkish restaurants serve this dish which consists of bread covered with döner meat and smothered in a special Iskender sauce. Add some tomato slices, a dollop of yogurt, and a chile pepper to complete the dish.

40. Sucuk (pronounced soojook) – This looks something like pepperoni but of course no pork is used. Eat it fried or grilled, with eggs or in a bun. Different spices mean you can choose from mild to evaporate-your-tastebuds flavoring.

41. Salam – This is the equivalent of bologna or salami served in a tube shape. We usually eat it on sandwiches on picnics as it is easy to transport, not messy, and the kids like it.

42. Tavuk Durum – Take chicken döner, put it in a tortilla like flat bread (some places serve thicker bread than others), add some lettuce, onions, and tomatoes, wrap it up and you have a delicious lunch for around 3TL. We love these at Köşem Döner in Avanos.

43. Tavuk Döner Sandwich – This is the same as the durum (above) except the ingredients are put in Turkish Ata Ekmek (similar to French bread), thus, a sandwich.

44. Et Döner – If you want the meat from the döner but separate from the bread, you can get it at many restaurants with rice and a salad and bread on the side.

45. Beef Güveç – A stew-like dish with garlic, onions, eggplant and mushrooms, baked in a clay dish.

46. Balık (Fish) – We prefer the grilled salmon (somon) but the sea bass (levrek) and trout (alabalık) are also readily available as well as anchovies (hamsi). The fresh fish markets are scattered throughout the area with every town having at least one.


Special durum47. Special Durum – If you are in Aksaray (an hour south of Nevşehir) go to Krall Döner and order the special durum. You will get a Tavuk Durum (see above) smothered in Iskender sauce. The result is delicious.

48. Kuzu Pirzola – Lamb chops. I have not had these but hear they are good.

49. Korean Food at the Evil Eye Restaurant in Göreme – This is the only place to get authentic Korean food in Cappadocia (cooked by a Korean). I personally prefer the Bigogi Beef, but just the side dishes (kimchi, etc.) make the meal worth it.

50. Ciğer (liver) – I am not a fan myself but liver is very popular among Turks. In some shopping mall food courts in Turkey, you can find restaurants that only serve an astounding array of liver dishes. If you enjoy it, be sure to take advantage of the Turkish varieties.

51. Kiremet Chicken, Beef – Take an oval ceramic dish about 3 centimeters deep, fill it with meat, peppers, onions, tomatoes, garlic, and spices, and broil/bake it. The result is heavenly.

52. Beyti – Ground beef wrapped in a tortilla (Turkish: Lavaş) covered with an oily tomato sauce and served sliced with yogurt. The best in the area in my opinion is at Hacibaba in Nevşehir right across from the Emniyet (police station).

53. Mantı – This dish was made famous in Kayseri. If you have been to Central Asia, you need to change your picture. Central Asian Mantı is large similar to a fried wonton except it is steamed and stuffed with meat, spinach, or pumpkin. Turkish mantı is stuffed with meat and there is a cheese version that looks similar to ravioli. The normal meat mantı is made by taking a small square of rolled out dough, putting a bit of meat in the middle and then closing it similar to a Hershey’s kiss except a bit smaller (if you have been to Russia, think pilmeni). They cook them and serve them in the broth and with yogurt. Many people like to sprinkle red pepper and/or mint on top.

54. Ali Nazik – According to Wikipedia this is a specialty of Antep province in southeastern Turkey. Fortunately, you do not have to travel there as it is readily available in Cappadocia. The staples of this dish are eggplant puree and lamb or beef. You will usually also find it with tomatoes, garlic, and onions.
Hunkar begindi55. Hünkar Beğendi – (Sultan’s Delight or Sultan Loved) This is patlican puree with tomatoes, peppers, and garlic, topped with kuşbasi (cubed lamb). Hünkar is another word for Sultan so the literal translation is “Sultan loved”. There are different legends surrounding this dish but everyone agrees the Sultan liked it.

Imam bayildi56. Imam Bayıldı – (Imam Fainted) Eggplant (aubergine) stuffed with sautéed tomatoes, peppers, onions, and garlic, but NO meat of any kind. The legend on this one says that either the imam liked it so much he fainted, or he fainted when he realized he was out of the ingredients and could not make it, or he fainted when he saw the price of the ingredients. I have no idea which is true, but I know my favorite place to get it is at Seten Restaurant in Göreme.

57. Karnı Yarık – Stuffed eggplant with ground beef, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and garlic; the main difference between this and Imam Bayıldı is the inclusion of beef in this dish.

58. Tavuk Tava – Tray of chicken and potatoes, green peppers, tomatoes, and garlic cooked at the local pizza bakery. This is a very local dish; I am not sure you can get it at a restaurant. We used to hang out with a barber, and he would make this for lunch sometimes.

59. Kököreç – Grilled lamb intestines. I have eaten some crazy stuff in my life… balut in the Philippines, lamb ear, eye, brain, cheek, and tongue in Kazakhstan (I had no choice)… But I have not found the courage to try this delicacy. From what I hear it tastes much better than the above mentioned items, but I just cannot bring myself to do it. You will be hard-pressed to find it in a restaurant. Mostly it is sold by street vendors. Good luck!
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VII. SIDE DISHES

Grape leaf sarma60. Grape Leaf Sarma – Two keywords to learn regarding Turkish food are sarma which means wrapped and dolma which translates stuffed. Take a rice based mix with herbs and spices that vary from recipe to recipe, family to family, wrap it in a grape leaf and steam it. The result is a wonderful finger food that quickly disappears. (Note: It tastes much better than it looks in the picture to the right.)

61. Kabak Çiçeği Dolma (Stuffed Pumpkin Flower) – Every late spring as the pumpkin flowers blossom you will find local ladies in their fields harvesting. They take the flowers, clean them, and stuff them with the same mixture described above, steam them, and just as quickly they disappear. Both this dish and the grape leaf sarma are expectedly seasonal so you have to be here at just the right time to enjoy them.

62. Dolma Biber (Stuffed Bell Pepper) – Take that same mixture from above and put it in a green bell pepper (no need to cook the rice before stuffing). Cook them and watch them disappear from your table.

Cheese mushrooms63. Mushrooms with Cheese (baked altogether) – Our favorite place to order this is Dayinin Yeri at the end of the bridge in Avanos. They fill a ceramic plate with mushrooms and cheese and bake it until the shrooms are soft and the cheese has melted into a nice blanket. If you are too eager, expect to burn your mouth, but sometimes it is hard to wait. They are so yummy!

64. Baked Potatoes from someone’s soba – This is another seasonal dish as sobas are only lit from November through the end of March. Some of the sobas have a little compartment that serves as an oven and a common practice is to fill it with potatoes. For some reason sitting in a soba-heated room eating a fresh baked potato while it is freezing cold outside makes the taste more true and pure. This is always a special treat for our kids.

Ember Grilled Aubergine65. Ember Grilled Aubergine – This is one of those dishes that calls you back to a restaurant over and over again. Ziggy’s has many wonderful dishes, but their grilled eggplant is blow-your-head-off delicious.

66. Ziggy’s Potatoes – This is another side dish to order at Ziggy’s. These spicy home fried potatoes are unique and enjoyable. They actually gave them to us complimentary one evening, and we found them to be very tasty.

Sigara boregi67. Sigara Böreği – This is another favorite among our kids and could have been listed in the breakfast foods. Take a pastry fill it with white cheese (think feta) and some spices, roll it up like a cigarette, and fry it in oil.

68. Pickled Vegetables – Take cucumbers, carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, red peppers, green peppers, chili peppers, and more and mix them together and pickle them. Serve them altogether as a side dish during any meal. The best I have had was at BaBayan Village House in Ibrahimpaşa.
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VIII. DRIED FRUITS/NUTS/SEEDS (KURUYEMIŞ)

We did a whole post on kuruyemiş in which we highlighted over 70 different items (click link above). Because of this, in this post I will just mention a few of my favorites.

Pumpkin seeds69. Pumpkin Seeds – These may be my favorite snack. The yellow oblong pumpkins are harvested in September for the seeds. Everyone has their own special recipe and the results are addictive. I always look forward to sitting with my neighbors in the fall and eating homemade spicy pumpkin seeds. They are sold at the open air markets in each town.

70. Dried Apricots – Malatya is best known for their apricots but Cappadocia has no shortage and if you are here in August you will be able to pick them ripe off of the trees as you walk through the valleys. Most people grow too many to consume so they dry them. The open air markets have them in abundance. They make a wonderfully healthy snack food.

71. Walnuts – We have at least 5 of these trees in our yard and enjoy them each October when they are ripe. They are plentiful in the open markets (bazaars) and are delicious if you like to work for your food!

Leblebi72. Leblebi – We love this snack food, although I think we are in the minority. This is the stuff they put in the dried food mixes to add weight without value. They are roasted chickpeas, and I like them most when they have the hard, white coating which adds a little flavor and makes them crunchier. I find them addictive which is why I have to measure out a certain amount. Otherwise, I will eat a whole kilo before I realize it!

73. Mixed Bag – All the Kuruyemiş sellers offer a mixed bag of dried nuts and such. They usually will have a few different varieties to meet certain price points. The more expensive mixes should be heavier on the cashews and pistachios. These make a great snack for watching sports or just hanging out with friends (I think this is probably more of a guy thing.)
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IX. DESSERTS/SWEETS

74. Lokum (Turkish Delight) – This sweet treat was made famous in the Chronicles of Narnia. The closest taste is a marshmallow but the texture is different and lokum has many varieties/flavors in which they add nuts or other dried food to the sweet.

75. Künefe – Honestly I am not a big fan of this dessert, but it is very popular in Turkey. I think it originally comes from Antakya. We tried it there when we visited. It did not help me to like it more. Take shredded wheat, stuff it with melted cheese, and cover it with syrup. If that sounds good, go for it.

76. Maraş Ice Cream – Look for the guy in the fez at most tourist stops, and you will find this unique ice cream. I have no idea what it is made of as the texture is more like soft toffee than ice cream. The sellers are usually from Maraş and spread out around the country selling the gooey frozen treat. The show they put on for their customers is as good as the ice cream.

77. Baklava – This very, very sweet treat is best enjoyed with a cup of tea or some non-sweet liquid to wash it down. I guarantee you will be thirsty after partaking. Take thin pastry and stuff it with nuts and cover it with syrup. The result is a sweet sensation.

Sultan Honey Bread  Lale Pide Cappadocia78. Ballı Padişah Ekmeği (Sultan Honey Bread) – This is only served at one place in Cappadocia, Lale Pide in Avanos. Take dough, shape it into an oval with raised edges, cover it with a raw egg, honey, and walnuts and then bake it. The result is a uniquely delicious dessert dish.

79. Mini Börek with Cinnamon and Powdered Sugar at Ziggy’s – This is another Ziggy’s dish worth trying as a dessert (not a breakfast dish when served sweet like this). Take the börek described earlier and add cinnamon and sugar and your taste buds will thank you.

80. Ülker Chocolate – Sometimes our European friends bring us chocolate but that is not necessary as Turkey’s Ülker brand makes a delicious chocolate bar. My wife prefers the bitter/dark chocolate – it’s a female thing, I think. If you are a chocolate fan, take a trip to a local grocery store while in Turkey and try some Ülker, and then let us know what you think. [Note: Ülker makes many different food items, but I am just recommending the chocolate here.]
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X. SPECIAL TREATS

81. Corn on the Cob at pazar – The sellers walk around with mobile boiling pots to sell the corn. If you are used to American sweet corn, you will recognize quickly that this is not that! This is basically feed corn that they sell to people. My friends tell me that it is for cows, not people, but the people at the pazar (and my kids!) do not seem to care. With no sweet corn in sight, I eat it sometimes, but I cannot give a glowing recommendation.

82. Roasted Chestnuts – You will only find these in the winter, and they are everything you may imagine from the Torme & Wells song. We love to buy them uncooked and heat them up on our soba. If you have a chance, do not pass these up.

Ceviz rope83. Ceviz Sucuk – This is a freaky thing you get in stores which consists of a gelatinous substance similar to tree sap with walnuts mixed throughout. It is long and cylindrical, thus the name walnut sausage. Some people love it. I cannot say I crave it. If you have a chance, you should taste it, but be careful not to eat the string that runs through the middle!

84. Mushroom & Cheese Rolls- These next three are all from Fat Boys Restaurant and Bar in Göreme. This unique Turkish – Australian Cappadocia restaurant serves dishes you will not find anywhere else in the region. For you vegetarians out there, this is a good choice. Take a tortilla, fill it with yellow cheese and mushrooms, wrap it up, bake it, and enjoy.

85. Spring Rolls – This may be the only place to get spring rolls in Cappadocia. Picture a Chinese egg roll (that is what we called them as kids).

86. Nachos – We love these for a change of pace- Doritos, beans, tomatoes, onions, and peppers all smothered in melted cheese. This is the closest thing to Mexican you will get in Cappadocia.

Asure87. Aşüre – Legend has it that when Noah and family and animals exited the ark they took the remaining food, mixed it all together, and the result was aşüre. Thus, today we have a strange mix of foods including saffron, rosewater, chickpeas, white beans, hulled wheat, rice, raisins, figs, apricots, sugar, walnuts, almonds, peanuts, and water. Given this list the Noah story sounds as reasonable as anything else. What you get is a delicious soupy dish that is sweet, chewy, crunchy, and wet. If you have read the The Flea Palace
by Elif Şafak, you will recognize the foreign wife who spent her days trying to make the perfect dish of aşüre and never succeeded.

88. Pastirma – Turkish Cured Beef. This is famous in Kayseri and it looks a lot like bacon or beef jerky when it is served. The only restaurant I have seen it in is Mado in Avanos when I ordered their amazing Köy kahvaltısı (village breakfast).

89. Helva – Tahin and sesame seed paste mixed with whatever you want- pekmez, chocolate, almonds, etc. This sort of reminds me of Bit-o-honey. Good helva is delicious although some may find it a bit dry.
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XI. DRINKS

90. Ayran – This salty yogurt drink could be considered the national non-alcoholic drink of Turkey. I love it and highly recommend it (most of my kids hate it). Apparently it is similar to buttermilk in America.

Turkish coffee91. Turkish Coffee – This is the ultimate energy drink. Usually it is served in a miniature coffee cup about the size of a shot glass which is appropriate given the shot of caffeine contained within. Think espresso on steroids.

92. Turkish Tea – Black tea with a couple of cubes of sugar served in an petite tulip shaped glass has been the catalyst for more deep conversations than can be counted. Turks drink tea like lungs inhale air making it impossible to visit Turkey without staining your teeth at least a little bit.

93. Apple Tea – This is strictly a tourist drink. I have never seen a local Turk drink it. Usually it is not tea but just a sugary, apple-flavored powder served in hot water. The taste is similar to a weak cider. Nonetheless, I like it as do my kids.

94. Efes Beer – I am not a beer drinker, but I am told that Efes is a good brew. Apparently it is now the second best selling beer in Russia (random useless fact for the day). Of course, this beer is not Cappadocian, but it is Turkish and so is listed here.

95. Şarap (Wine)- Cappadocia wines are growing in quality and fame and if you enjoy the fruit of the vine, then Ürgüp is the place to go (although you can buy wine in all the towns). Turasan and Kocabağ are the two best known Cappadocia wineries but you can get free tastings at any number of places in and around Ürgüp. We like the unique flavors of the “micro-winery” whose wines are sold at the Mahzen Şarap Evi.

96. Sicak Şarap (Mulled Wine) – I have only had this in one place, but I have seen it advertised in many restaurants. I recommend going to Mahzen Şarap Evi for this hot spiced wine. You will be glad you did (of course, this is best on cold days).

97. Raki – Atatürk’s bane is popular all over Turkey and, if you enjoy alcohol, it is best enjoyed with a table full of Turkish mezes (appetizers) as described by Stephen Kinzer in his book, Crescent and Star. It is usually mixed with water to give it a cloudy appearance and it tastes like black licorice.

98. Fresh Squeezed Pomegranate & Orange Juice – You can actually get this at many sites, but I like it best from my friend, Enver, at his cafe in upper Çavuşin village (he also offers a mean spiced wine). The taste is a perfect mix of sweet and sour and hits the spot on a sunny day.

99. Salep – This is similar to egg nog for those who have had it. We buy it at the store in a box (like long-life milk) and heat it on the stove adding some cinnamon. You can also find it in restaurants. It is made from orchid root.

100. Şalgam – Fermented carrot or radish juice – I assume this is better if you grow up drinking it. I prefer the radish to the carrot.

BONUS:
101. Chicken crepes at our house – This is probably my favorite dish that my wife makes and since we live in Cappadocia, it counts. If you have had the 100+ foods listed here, then shoot us an email and let’s make a time to get together for dinner.

There you have it – 101 foods to enjoy in Cappadocia.
Which is your favorite?

This post barely scrapes the surface of Turkish food. If you want to know more, we recommend Foods of Turkey. Check it out.

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Duke Dillard moved to Turkey with his wife and 6 children in 2007. He got an MBA at Bilkent University in Ankara, where they had their 7th child. After 4 years in Ankara the whole family moved to Cappadocia, and this blog was born. We love Cappadocia and Cappadocians and want to help visitors make the most of their time here. You can connect with Duke on Facebook, follow him on Twitter, and/or link circles on Google+. Click here to read more about Duke and his family.