Turkey is a country filled with gold sandy beaches, turquoise blue waters, historical sites, and rich food culture. However, when you arrive in Turkey, you may notice how busy and vibrant the city is with people, architecture, restaurants, and coffee shops on every corner.
When you think of Turkish cuisine, the first thing that may come to mind is Kebabs. Without a doubt, Turkish food offers the best experience in addition to the street food available on every corner. Here you will find a whole world of culinary treats beyond kebabs to discover. Here are some of the most common you will find in Antalya:
Simit is a Turkish bread ring with a crunchy outer crust seasoned with sesame, sunflower, flax seeds, and a soft middle. I find them similar to a large pretzel you might find at a stadium in the United States. Simits are one of the most readily available breakfast foods you can find no matter where you are in Turkey. You can buy the best version of this food from the street vendors called ‘Simitci,’ selling these bread rings in a glass-topped trolly.
Midye Dolma (Stuffed Mussels)
Mussels are an essential part of Turkish cuisine. Midye Dolma is stuffed mussels, which are served in their shells along with a lemon. The mussels are stuffed with flavored rice cooked with garlic, pepper, and currants. This street food is available in every corner of the country, sold in the small round stands.
Kestane (Roasted Chestnuts)
You will see steam rise from the street carts selling roasted chestnuts during the winter months. The vendor will create a funnel of thick paper filled with roasted chestnuts to snack on as you walk the streets. I always find that I need a bottle of water while eating chestnuts due to the chalky residue of the nuts on my tongue.
When I first arrived in Antalya, we often took road trips exploring different villages. You would find many gözleme vendors selling this hand rolled flat bread filled with cheese and potatoes along the roadside.
Gözleme is one of the most delicious finger-licking street foods you must sample. The fillings can vary from white cheese, onions, potatoes, chard, or meat, depending on your liking.
Halka Tatlısı and Lokma
These two have a similar doughnut base and are served with special syrup. They’re really both delicious, and you must try them. The tradition surrounding lokma is that Turkish people hand them out after important occasions like birth and death, so don’t be surprised that they are handing them out for free!
While at the beach, my favorite street food is eating fresh corn on the cob with a dash of salt, also known as “sut misir.” There are two types of corn served: grilled or boiled. I prefer boiled corn.
The grilled corn is usually topped with traditional Turkish spices and butter. You can also request lightly grilled corn if you do not like the blackened kernels.
Pamuk Şeker (Cotton Candy)
Most children desire this sticky cotton-like candy that is usually pink in color. You may see a man walking with a long pole and these sugary treats hanging off, enticing your taste buds.
Orange/ Pomegranate Juice
Antalya is known for its citrus and fruit produce and so one of my favorite street vendors to visit is the one selling freshly squeezed pomegranate juice. Most of the juice vendors will offer orange or pomegranate as well as other fruits that may grow in the region.
Pomegranate is a common everyday fruit in Turkey. Refreshing on a hot day and readily available from street vendors.
Dondurma —Traditional Turkish Ice Cream!
Dondurma means “freezing” in Turkish and refers to “ice cream.” Turkish ice cream has a taffy-like consistency due to the ingredient called salep. This gives the ice cream its stretchy consistency and makes it slower to melt.
The fun part about eating ice cream is visiting the seller stand as he will pull, stretch, and knead the ice cream before piling it onto a cone. He will also play many tricks with you before he hands over this creamy delight. It is one of the only Turkish desserts that come with a show!
To sum it all up, there are many options for delicious street food to eat while vacationing in Turkey. Also, don’t be shy about trying a few options while sightseeing or relaxing at the beach.