Located between Europe and Asia, Turkey is home to a diverse array of foods. I interviewed Ece Ulgenturk (Northeastern College of Science ’24) about the cuisine from her home country, and what foods you should be sure to try whether you have the opportunity to visit Turkey or just want to check out the Turkish food scene here in the United States. 

Whether you are studying abroad or just taking a quick visit to this wonderful country, these Turkish foods are definitely worth a try!


Kebap is a meat dish, and one of Turkey’s most well-known foods. It is often served on a skewer with vegetables and bread, and is commonly known as a shish kebab in the United States.


Döner is a specific type of kebab, which is made by slicing meat from a vertical rotating rotisserie. The word döner actually means "something that turns!".


Lahmacun is a round flatbread topped with minced meat and vegetables. It is typically eaten folded in half with lemon and parsley.


Baklava is a pastry common in many countries around Europe and the Middle East. It consists of thin pastry sheets filled with honey and chopped nuts.

I was able to try some of the desserts that my friend brought for us, which were very sweet and typically eaten alongside with Turkish tea or coffee. I enjoyed the strong taste of Turkish coffee, and found the texture and taste of the desserts to be super unique and delicious.

Turkish Delights

Turkish delights, also called lokum, are gel confections of sugar and chopped nuts. Common ingredients include rosewater, pistachios, hazelnuts, or dates.

Tamara Hadzic

Turkish Tea

Turkish black tea is just earl gray black tea, but tastes stronger, and is usually enjoyed plain, without milk, alongside the sweet Turkish desserts in order to complement the sweetness. Turkish Tea is brewed in a Turkish tea kettle, which consists of two stacked tea kettles.

Tamara Hadzic


Pişmaniye is a hand-pulled sugar dessert (similar to cotton candy), often garnished with nuts.

Tamara Hadzic

However, don’t limit yourself to only just the most popular foods on your next trip to Turkey! Ece points out the discrepancy between the United State's perception of Turkish food compared to its reality. While the most famous Turkish food in America are kebabs, it is only one of many tasty Turkish foods offered, and is not as popular in Turkey.

Below are some recommendations for Turkish foods that you may not have heard of, but should certainly be added to your food bucket list!

Içli Köfte

Içli Köfte is a Turkish stuffed meatball, consisting of spiced ground meat onions, and grains.


Iskender is a specific type of kebap, which consists of lamb, pita bread, hot tomato sauce, and a sheep milk butter and yogurt sauce.

You can find some of the foods mentioned in this article and more at some of these Turkish restaurants in the Greater Boston Area: 

Istanbul Diner Café


Ali Baba

Boston Kebab House

Anatolia Buffet and Kebab House

Special thanks to Ece Ulgenturk and her mom for the interview, and the food recommendations!