High 5: Turkish foods

February 20, 2014

I visited Istanbul for the first time recently. Just a four-hour flight from Gatwick, it was the perfect destination for a change of scene. Domed rooftops and minarets dot the skyline, Ottoman palaces line the Bosphorus strait, the Grand Bazaar blows Westfield out of the water, and the cuisine is a mouth-watering fusion of Central Asian, Caucasian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Balkan. I went on a walking food tour with a company called Istanbul on Food, which took me to the Asian side to try the best traditional Turkish dishes.  Aside from the well-known lokum (Turkish delight) and baklava (filo pastry, filled with nuts and drenched in syrup), here are my top five:

balli kaymak – thick buffalo milk cream served with sweet honey (decadent and delicious!) and often eaten at breakfast with savouries such as olives, cheese, meat and bread



simit – crispy, circular bread topped with sesame seeds, sold on the street from easily-to-spot red carts for around 27 pence


tantuni – a traditional street food, made from chopped mince meat and spice, served in flatbread


lahmacun – a crispy, thin and round flatbread spread with a minced meat, tomato, herb and onion paste. It’s spicy, and there is no cheese on this Turkish-style pizza; drizzles of lemon juice and parsley provide extra taste


İçli Köfte popular in the Middle East, these croquette-style treats are made from minced meat, onions and herbs coated in bulgur wheat and fried

Mika Bishop