Food spotlight: Turkey beyond the kebab


Like Turkey itself, Turkish cuisine straddles Europe and the Middle East, offering rich and delicious dishes that may seem familiar to those who have a taste for Greek, Balkan, Lebanese or Central Asian foods.

But even within Turkey, a large country of nearly 80 million people about the size of Texas, tastes vary with a whole range of regional ingredients thrown into the mix.

While most are familiar with slow-cooked doners and kebabs, typically made from lamb, chicken or beef, served on a metal or wood skewer, here are five other Turkish dishes you ought to experience at your local restaurant or try your hand at in your own kitchen:

  • Dolma: Also popular in Greek and Lebanese cuisine, dolma usually refer to vine leaves stuffed with meat and rice but can actually refer to a rainbow of other stuffed vegetables, including peppers, squash and eggplant. Recipe
  • Mantı: Steamed or boiled dumplings, a version of which you’ll find throughout Turkey, Central Asian and even Western China, manti consist of spiced meat in a dough wrapper. Served with yogurt and butter, there’s nothing quite like them. Recipe
  • Durum: Imagine a burrito born in Istanbul – this flavorful street food consists of lamb, beef or chicken inside a pita or lavash wrap, with tomatoes, lettuce, pickles and sumac spice. Recipe
  • Kayısı Tatlısı: While its name may sound like a dish out of Game of Thrones, this wonderful dessert consists of apricots stuffed with nuts and cream – heavenly! Recipe
  • Kunefe: Also known as kanafah in Egypt and other spots around the Mediterranean, this Turkish dessert is made with shredded pastry dough and cheese, topped with pistachios – your taste buds are guaranteed to go crazy. Recipe

Have you visited Turkey or tried Turkish cuisine? Please share your delicious experiences in the Shop Talk Blog community forum!


Did you know? Turkeys aren’t from Turkey

How everyone’s favorite Thanksgiving bird got its name is too convoluted to describe here. To learn more, including why the Turkish and French name for turkey means “India", click here!

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