By Azure Lee
The majority of people associate Turkish food with innumerable visions of succulent, meat-filled kebabs. However, these visions are typically restricted to the traditional döner and shish kebabs that Westerners are familiar with. In reality, Turkey has an extensive variety of kebabs that are far more delicious.
Let's delve into why kebab Turkish food holds such a cherished place, and explore the top Turkish kebab types that have earned global adoration.
Why Is Kebab So Popular?
Kebab is a popular dish that originated from the Middle East, but has spread to many regions of the world with different variations and adaptations. Some possible reasons why kebab is so popular are:
- Kebab is easy to prepare and cook, as it only requires meat, spices, and a grill or a pan
- Kebab is versatile and can be made with different types of meat, such as lamb, beef, chicken, fish, or pork, depending on the local preferences and availability
- Kebab is flavorful and aromatic, as it is usually marinated with a combination of spices, herbs, and sauces that enhance the taste and smell of the meat
- Kebab is convenient and portable. It can be eaten on a skewer, in a bread, or with a salad, making it suitable for street food, fast food, or a main course
- Kebab is adaptable and can be integrated with local cuisines and innovations, such as the doner kebab in Europe, the satay in Southeast Asia, or the galouti kebab in India.
The Eight Turkish Kebab Types You Should Really Try
Turkish kebabs are a naturally charming combination of aroma, taste, and look that come from perfectly grilled skewered meat. You can not help but order them if you are in the mood for something tasty and satisfying to go. Here are eight Turkish kebab types you should really try.
1. Shish kebab
The most popular type of kebab is marinated lamb or beef that is grilled on a skewer known as a "shish," or şiş in Turkish. It is often cubed and strung onto a skewer before being grilled and eaten with bread and rice with salads. Veggies are occasionally cooked together with it, wherein popular veggies include eggplant, tomato, bell pepper, onions, pickles and mushrooms.
Shish kebab is the top favorite kebab
2. Tandır kebabs
Tandır kebabs, originating from the Aksehir region, are typically crafted from lamb or beef and cooked in a unique oven known as a tandir, from which they derive their name. This kebab Turkish food features lamb complemented by onions, tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers.
When served, they're accompanied by freshly baked flatbreads, onions, and flavorful tomatoes, creating a meal fit for royalty!
Black pepper, cumin, paprika, and oregano are frequently used to season Tandır kebabs, giving them a flavor that is agreeable to the flavor and suitable for all palates.
If you find yourself in Turkey, make sure not to miss the chance to savor this extraordinary delicacy!
3. Iskender kebab
The name "Iskender," which translates to "Alexander" in Turkish, is derived from the supposed originator of the Bursa-based chef who devised the Döner Kebab, or rotating kebab, in the 19th century. Iskender is extremely famous, especially in Istanbul and Bursa, where the kebab originates.
Iskender Kebab is one of the more filling kebabs, and when all the flavors come together perfectly, it is truly delightful. It is made by slicing off bits of döner kebab onto small squares of pide bread, covering it with melted cheese, a spiced tomato sauce, and creamy yogurt served next to it. Roasted peppers and tomato are often served with it.
Turkish iskender kebab with chicken donner, pouring butter
4. Doner kebab
The best Turkish kebab is probably the doner, which is created from spiced meat—typically lamb, chicken, or beef—that is stacked and roasted on a vertical rotisserie. The meat is then shaved off the revolving spit and served with pita bread, veggies, and sauce on a platter.
Doner kebab is a simple street food that can be eaten as a short meal or as a snack. It is served in wraps called durum, on a plate with salad and rice or potatoes, or in bread like a sandwich.
Read more: 10 Interesting Facts About Turkey Culture That Will Surprise You
5. Eggplant kebab
If you're crazy about eggplants, Turkey is an ideal destination for your food journey. In Turkey, there are two distinct varieties of eggplant kebab.
One type involves marinated kebab meat threaded onto skewers alongside eggplants, then grilled or baked. Typically, it's accompanied by a yogurt-based sauce.
Another version includes meatballs or sizable lamb portions, along with onions and tomatoes, arranged in a circular tray. This medley is cooked in ovens along with eggplant chunks.
If you're crazy about eggplants, Turkey is an ideal destination for your food journey
6. Adana kebab and Urfa kebab
Kebabs (and many other dishes) are considered to be at their best from Turkey's southeast, and Urfa and Adana are two of the signature southeastern cities in Turkey. These will be listed as two different varieties on any menu, but they are basically the same except that Adana is a spicier version of the Urfa Kebab.
The main difference between Urfa and Adana kebabs is the spices; paprika and other milder spices (like oregano and cumin) that burst with flavor without being too hot are used in Urfa, while dripping fat helps bind the meat together so that when it is cooked, you will see a hole right through the middle of it. Both kebabs are made of ground beef and/or lamb that is kneaded together with onion, garlic, and local spices before being packed by hand on a shish.
Usually served on a separate shish from the kebabs, the other cooked vegetables go alongside the kebabs.
7. Beyti kebab
Beyti kebab, a beloved Turkish delicacy with a legacy dating back to the 1960s, comprises seasoned minced lamb cooked on a skewer and enclosed within a lavas flatbread wrap, complemented by tomato sauce and garlic yogurt.
Hailing from Istanbul's Beyti restaurant, this dish's unique taste arises from a blend of traditional elements, including oregano, cumin, red pepper flakes, pepper paste, paprika, sumac, garlic, and onion.
A trip to Turkey wouldn't be truly fulfilling without savoring this Turkish kebab specialty!
A trip to Turkey wouldn't be truly fulfilling without savoring Beyti kebab
8. Paper kebab
Paper kebab, originating from Antakya in southern Turkey, melds meat—often beef or lamb—with an assortment of vegetables like tomatoes, peas, carrots, bell peppers, and potatoes.
Since its introduction to Turkish cuisine so long ago, paper kebab—a hearty dish cooked in parchment paper with olive oil and spices like salt and pepper—has become an indispensable aspect of Turkish kebab types.
For travelers seeking authentic Turkish flavors, paper kebab offers a budget-friendly opportunity to indulge. Served straight from the grill, it's sure to excite your taste buds!
Additionally, if you are not feeling very adventurous, you can always choose a variety of meats rather than just one kind.
Explore The Diversity Of Turkish Kebab Types
Exploring the Diversity of Turkish kebab types is a tantalizing journey through the rich flavors and cultural heritage of Turkey's culinary landscape. Discover the nuances of Adana, Iskender, Shish, and more, enticing your taste buds with these iconic dishes.
In the meanwhile, simplify your travel arrangements by using our user-friendly website to apply for a Turkey eVisa, which will guarantee a hassle-free trip when you set out on your Turkish journey. For further details and assistance, contact Turkey Immigration Services to ensure a seamless and delightful Turkish experience.