Turkish Food Terms You Must Know

turkey turkish food terms

Interested in Turkish food? If so, you might want to learn some basic Turkish food terms and have a better idea of what Turkish cuisine is about.

Turkey is an eastern European country bordered by the Black Sea to the north, Armenia and Georgia to the northeast, Bulgaria and Greece to the northwest, Azerbaijan and Iran to the east, Iraq and Syria to the southeast and the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas to the south and west.

Turkish cuisine

Turkish cuisine is known for its simplicity in ingredients and flavors. Meats, especially lamb, are a staple in Turkish cuisine and come in many forms like doner kebabs (seasoned meat on a vertical rotisserie), shish kebabs (pieces of grilled skewered meat), börek (meat-filled pastries) and kofte (meatballs).

The Mediterranean region produces plenty of fish, vegetables, fresh herbs and olive oil—all of which are used in many Turkish dishes.

Soups are also very popular in Turkish cuisine as there are over 300 different types of traditional Turkish soups.

Turkish desserts are often sweet pastries made of a light, flaky dough like baklava and sütlü nuriye.

Turkish food terms

Expand your international dining vocabulary with these basic food-related words translated from English to Turkish.

meat – et

  • pork – domuz eti (domuz etuh)
  • beef – sığır eti (soor etuh)

poultry – kümes hayvanları

  • turkey – türkiye (toor kyeh)
  • duck – ördek
  • chicken – tavuk (tavook)

seafood – deniz ürünleri

  • fish – balık
  • shrimp – karides
  • oyster – istiridye
  • shellfish – kabuklu deniz ürünleri

meatless/no meat – etsiz

  • vegetables – sebzeler (sebzelar)
  • fruits – meyveler (meyvelar)
  • eggs – yumurtalar
  • tofu – soya peyniri
  • nuts – fındık
  • vegetarian – vejetaryen
  • vegan – vegan (ve ghan)

drinks – içecekler (eecheh jeklar)

  • water – su
  • alcohol – alkol (ai kol)
  • beer – bira
  • wine – şarap (sharap)

other eating/dining-related terms

  • yes – evet
  • no – hayır
  • good – iyi
  • yummy – nefis
  • eat – yemek
  • cook – pişirmek (pishir mek)
  • I’m hungry – açım (achim)
  • I’m full – tokum
  • more – daha
  • less – daha az
  • only – sadece (sa dicheh)
  • please – lütfen
  • thank you – teşekkür ederim (teshe kur ederum)
  • hors d’oeuvres – mezes 
  • baked – pişmiş (pishmish)
  • fried – kızarmış (kizarmish)
  • grilled – ızgara
  • roasted – kavrulmuş
  • steamed –  buharda pişirilmiş
  • hot – sıcak (sijak)
  • warm – Ilık, hafif sıcak (hafeef sijak)
  • cold – soğuk (sohg)
  • bitter – acı
  • salty – tuzlu
  • spicy – baharatlı (bararatluh)
  • sweet –  tatlı (tatluh)
  • allergic – alerjik
  • bathroom – banyo

Watch this video to hear how letters and words sound in Turkish.

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Turkish food & drink to try

  • köfte – ground beef, chicken, lamb or pork meatballs with onions and spices
  • kuzu tandir – slow-roasted lamb often served with rice or potatoes
  • manti – beef or lamb-filled dumplings
  • pide – Turkish flatbread pizza
  • dondurma – stretchy ice cream
  • Turkish coffee – finely ground Turkish coffee beans boiled with sugar and cardamom

Interested in learning about other cuisines around the world? Discover food terms from other countries here.

Hello! I'm Kristina

Kristina Reynolds is the Founder & CEO of Glutto and an alumna of the University of California, San Diego. She writes articles & posts for Glutto Digest with insights from fellow industry experts. Furthermore, she is the author of The Fittest Food Lovers: How EVERY BODY Can be Incredibly Fit and Still Enjoy Food, a collaborative philanthropic book with proceeds going to charities that fight world hunger.