10 Turkish snacks you should try in Germany
A little over 60 years ago, thousands of Turkish guest workers (Gastarbeiter) began to arrive in West Germany, and the face of German cuisine was changed forever. With a “little Istanbul” in most major cities, Germans have taken to Turkish snacks almost as much as their own traditional dishes. From Döner to Dolma, here are 10 Turkish treats you have to try in Germany.
Let's start with the obvious. With an estimated 16.000 kebab shops peppering the country, you can’t get far in Germany without trying a Döner. If you’re picturing some mystery meat and limp salad packed inside a tasteless flatbread, think again. This is not an end-of-the-night fallback for partygoers but a delight to be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Small wonder, then, that the Germans consume a whopping two million per day.
Often simply referred to as Türkische Pizza (Turkish Pizza), Lahmacun is a thin wheel of dough topped with minced meat, vegetables and herbs. Although delicious served as it is, the Lahmacun really comes into its own when wrapped around other things, like salad, roasted vegetables, or even Döner meat. Never had a Lahmacun Döner? You haven’t lived!
Another day, another delicious Turkish flatbread! Pide are instantly recognisable by their distinctive canoe shape and are often found lurking at the front of display counters in all kinds of Turkish food outfits. A flatbread stuffed with ground meat, vegetables and sometimes cheese, Pide are similar to Lahmacun, only thicker and eaten in slices rather than as wraps.
4. Sigara Börek
Do you like pastry? Do you like cheese? Do you like them together? Of course, you do! Vaguely reminiscent of brandy snaps but 20 times tastier, these dainty pastry cigars are stuffed with feta cheese before being deep-fried and sprinkled with sesame seeds. You can also find different varieties of Börek stuffed with anything from spinach to minced meat.
Sometimes also referred to as Sarma, Dolma are a favourite throughout the Mediterranean and are just about as delicious as it gets. The little rolls are made from vine leaves stuffed with rice, garlic and olive oil and topped with lashings of lemon juice. Perfect as a snack, starter or accompaniment to a Turkish feast. You won’t be able to eat just one!
Gözleme is a kind of hand-made stuffed pastry, very similar in taste to Greek Spanakopita. It is traditionally made by rolling an unleavened flatbread out very thin, stuffing it with vegetables, meat or cheese (or all three!) and then cooking it over a griddle. Although traditionally eaten as a breakfast item, Gözleme is growing in popularity as a snack.
Turkey’s answer to the pretzel, the Simit is a baked dough ring covered with sesame seeds - perfect for dipping into things, as part of Turkish breakfast, or just on-the-go. With its crunchy crust and chewy inner texture, Simit is sometimes also referred to as the “Turkish bagel”.
Is it Greek? Is it Turkish? Who cares - it’s delicious! Baklava is made by baking layers of filo pastry, melted butter and chopped nuts, before soaking them in syrup. Seriously, it’s so sweet it will make your teeth hurt. The type of nuts used varies from region to region in Turkey, with pistachios, walnuts and almonds all being common.
You're probably thinking that melted cheese in a dessert is a step too far. Granted, this is not a dish for the faint-hearted, but the bonkers mix of shredded wheat, syrup and oozing cheese has to be seen to be believed (and, believe us, the flavour actually works!). If nothing else, the cheese pull is epic. For the ultimate heart attack, have a scoop of thick, sticky mastic ice cream (Dondurma) on the side.
The ultimate stomach-settler, Ayran is a salty yoghurt drink that can be found in the fridge of almost every Turkish fast food restaurant. Especially during the summer months, there’s nothing quite so refreshing.
Can you think of any more? What’s your favourite Turkish speciality to eat in Germany? Let us know in the comments below!