The best kebab


Kebab (“kebap” in Turkish) means “roasted meat” and refers to various grilled meat or fish dishes.

Originally from this part of the globe, the meat is cooked on a wood-fired kebab and then served on a plate, usually accompanied by braised tomatoes and peppers, rice or tomato bulgur. It can also be served in a sandwich or rolled in a wrap. There is a very wide variety of kebabs in Turkey, the most famous ones are the şiş kebab (skewered and grilled lamb), the Adana kebab (skewered minced lamb mixed with spices), the Urfa kebab (skewered minced lamb and beef without spice ), the patlıcanlı kebab (eggplant stuffed with minced lamb)  and many more.döner-kebab

A döner kebab in Istanbul, 1854.

The most famous kebab in the world is the döner kebab, which literally means “rotating kebab”. Before taking its modern form, the ancestor of the döner was the çag kebabı and it’s mentioned in the Ottoman travel books of the 18th century. It was a horizontal stack of meat from the eastern province of Erzurum.

The famous cook İskender Efendi is considered as the inventor of the döner kebap, in his own family biography he wrote that he and his grandfather had the idea to roast the lamb vertically rather than horizontally because of the dropping juice of the cooking marinated at the same time the whole stack of meat, giving it a better taste.

Before giving you our addresses, here is a little guide to what we recommend you taste:

– Adana kebab: It is a long hand minced grilled lamb meat, juicy and spicy.

– Cöp şiş: It is a specialty of Ephesus on the Turkish west coast. This is pounded boneless meat with tomatoes and garlic, marinated with black pepper, thyme, and oil on wooden skewers. This dish is traditionally accompanied by rocca leaves.

– Şaşlık: It is thin slices of beef and onions marinated in yogurt and put on a skewer, usually cooked to perfection to give a soft texture to the meat

– Testi-kebab: It is a specialty of Cappadocia. It is a combination of meat and vegetables cooked in their own juice inside a sealed clay pot.  When ready, breaking the clay pot is the only way to eat it.

– Köfte: There are meatballs of lamb or beef or sometimes both, mixed with spices and onions. There is a wide variety of koftes such as the inegöl köfte (mix of lamb and beef), the Tekirdağ köfte (meat of cattle and lamb chops served with a red pepper sauce) and even kaşarlıköfte (cheese-stuffed köfte).

– İskender kebab: Traditionally lamb meat fed with thyme from Uludağ. It took its name from the cook İskender and it’s a kind of döner kebab prepared from thin cuts of grilled lamb, basted with hot tomato sauce over pieces of pita bread and generously slathered with melted sheep butter and yogurt.

Istanbul residents are proud of their cuisine and love to go to the restaurant. You will find a large number of restaurants specialized in kebab and you will be able to find somewhere you like whatever your budget is.


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