Turkish food as we know it today developed in the age of the Ottoman Empire as it expanded and came into contact with so many different influences. In modern Turkish food, you will find the flavors from the Middle East, Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Balkans.

While Turkish food abroad tends to be heavy on meat, the native cuisine is heavily based around eggplant, garlic, lentils, zucchini, pistachios, and cheaters. It is really such a diverse blend of flavors. You will need to try at least a few dishes to get a real taste.


You might have tried Turkish delight outside of Turkey, but you rarely get the good stuff abroad. Traditional Turkish delight sweets are made with the aromatic flavors of Bergamot orange, rosewater, mastic, or lemon. You will find shops selling Turkish delights in a rainbow of colors. They tend to be bite-sized so you can easily try them all! Check out our amazing Istanbul tour packages if you want to find the best Turkish delight in town! 🙂


Flaky, crispy, tender, and oh-so-sweet, baklava is everything dessert is meant to be. In Turkey, making baklava is an art form and every artist has their own signature. You will find baklava with walnuts, pistachios, or hazelnuts and a range of sweet flavors like honey, rosewater, or orange flower.


Sometimes called a Turkish bagel, Simit is a Turkish version of a pretzel. These round and doughy carb delights are typically covered in sesame seeds. You’ll see tiny carts all over the city selling these crisp from the outside and chewy from the inside bread circles. While they are good anytime, they are amazing if you can grab one while they are fresh from the oven. They’re the perfect snack to pick up while you’re walking around Istanbul!


It’s a simple but popular fish sandwich made fresh from the catch of the day, raw onions, fresh lettuce and a squirt of lemon juice. You’ll find them sold right from the 3 elaborately decorated boats at the southern end of the Galata bridge by the Eminönü (Turyol) ferry terminal.


Again, you will see this street food option all over Istanbul. Midye Dolma is a mussel stuffed with spiced rice and pine nuts. You eat them right there at the stall, with a squeeze of fresh lemon.


Like a cheeseless pizza but absolutely lacking in nothing, lahmacun is the perfect Friday night food. Made with Turkish flatbread and topped with richly seasoned meat and herbs, this is a classic grab-and-go meal.


Another nation’s beloved street food for hungry locals and travellers alike. It looks like a jacket potato. One of the places in Istanbul to eat Kumpir is Ortaköy district, right next to the beautiful Ortaköy Mosque or on the Kumpir Sokak (Baked Potato Street).

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