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Although Istanbul's location between two seas means that fish is common in the majority of restaurants, beef is the star attraction in Turkey's cuisine, and everyone has tried a kebab once in their life!
A real Turkish kebab is a different prospect to the kind of fast food that you may have tried in other countries. Kebab simply means roasted meat, and is a crucial part of a number of typical dishes.
Typical Istanbul Dishes
Some of the typical dished that we could recommend are as follows:
- Testi Kebab: This is perhaps one of the more unusual Istanbul dishes: a kind of beef stew made in a ceramic dish which you break to serve it!
- Honey Chicken: It's as simple, and delicious, as it sounds.
- Lüfer: If you want to try the typical fish from the Bosphorus, this is your dish.
As well as tea, which is popular in the majority of the Arabic countries (don't forget to try the apple tea), in Istanbul there are various drinks which you simply have to try.
- Ayran; a very popular Turkish drink, which is served throughout the city. It's made of yoghurt, water and salt.
- Raki: Raki is an anise flavoured alcoholic reink that is normally drunk while eating. In some places, it's served in two glasses, one with a 50/50 mixture of raki and water, and the other with just water. The traditional way to drink it is ice cold, and alternating between the glasses.
- Efes Beer: Efes is the most popular kind of beer in Turkey
- Kahve (Turkish coffee): This coffee is unusual in that sugar is added when making the drink. Don't forget to mention how you like to take it, sade (without sugar), orta (the standard) or Sekerli (sweet).
There are two most famous Turkish desserts that you can try in Istanbul: baklava and Turkish delight.
- Baklava: This is a cake made with ground nuts (normally walnuts) filo pastry, and honey or glucose syrup. This is normally covered with pistachio, chocolate, or other condiments.
- Turkish Delight (lokum): This is a Turkish speciality made with sugar and flavoured with rose water or lemon. It has a gelatinous texture.
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