Want to know the best Turkish food for kids to try during your trip? When you are planning your trip to Turkey, one of the highlights of your trip will be the food. Turkey is a food-centric culture. Do not want to miss the delicacies you’ll have the opportunity to try while you are here. Some families struggle with picky eaters while they are traveling. We know how frustrating it can be. We have put together a guide to eat in Turkey for picky eaters. Learn the common foods served in Turkey, tips for traveling with picky eaters, and our favorite Turkish food dishes.
The Basics: Turkish Foods for Kids
We all have someone in our family that is a picky eater. It can be difficult traveling with kids in Turkey if you do not know anything about Turkish food. There are staples in Turkish food that you will find at most meals. Common Turkish foods that you will find at restaurants include:
- Chicken, Lamb, or Beef
Some kids are not adventurous eaters. Knowing some simple meals to order will make your mealtimes so much easier. Each region of Turkey is known for different foods, but there are some dishes you can find almost anywhere in Turkey for your kids. Our Guide to Turkish Food will get you up to date and ready for your trip!
Tips for Traveling with Picky Eaters in Turkey
If your kids take the lead in wanting to try new food, encourage them to go for it. We have been surprised a few times at dishes the kids have tried. Kaya tried brain soup with Enes and loved it!
- Offer them new foods to try and be ok if your kids say no. This is not about forcing them to try new things but giving them the opportunity to. They might be surprised they love Turkish food.
- Have a few familiar foods on hand – you can buy crackers, peanut butter, yogurt, and fruit at the market.
- Pick up fruit at the local Pazar. Yes, you can go to the market to get fruit, but going to the Pazar to pick out your fruit is an experience you don’t want to miss. I promise it will be the best-tasting fruit you’ve ever had.
- Fast food in Turkey. This is not our favorite option but sometimes your kids need a familiar meal. Hamburger and French fries anyone? You can typically order this at a Turkish restaurant for the kids or look up a Burger King or McDonalds in the larger cities. No shame here! Your kids will thank you for it and you’ll save a bit of your sanity!
Next, we’ll share the best Turkish food dishes for your kids.
Best Turkish Food for Kids
We know what’s it like to have a picky eater or two when you’re traveling. To have a great trip to Turkey, be prepared beforehand to know some basic foods your kids are sure to enjoy. These are all simple foods that are easily found in restaurants in Turkey.
Lahmacun is a favorite in our family. This is a thin Turkish flatbread that has a light topping of minced meat, onions, and garlic. It’s typically cooked in a wood-fired oven and served with parsley to roll up and eat like a burrito. The kids usually skip the parsley but do like rolling it up to eat it.
Pide is like a Turkish pizza. It’s in the shape of a boat with many different options for toppings. The most basic is the kasarli pide (cheese only). It’s cooked in a wood-fired oven and it’s a got to when we go to a restaurant. Typically, we can get one, and kids will share it.
Chicken Shish is grilled chicken breast typically served with a few grilled tomatoes, peppers, and bulgar. You’ll find chicken shish in most places and its easy for the kids to share.
There are all different kinds of borek that you can find based on your kids’ preferences. You can find meat, potatoes, cheese all with different varieties. We tend to lean towards the potato and cheese borek with the kids. You can find a local borekci restaurant that specializes in making borek that will have all the options for you and your kids.
Kofte is Turkish meatballs and great option of Turkish food for kids during your trip. They are typically mild in flavor, served with bread and rice. This is a dish that can be shared by younger kids as there are usually 4-5 meatballs on a plate. You can find kofte at most restaurants in Turkey.
Pogaca is a Turkish bread pastry stuffed with cheese, potato, or meat. We LOVE these for breakfast. Make a trip to the local bakery to pick them up fresh and hot.
Kumpir is twice-baked potatoes full of yummy gooey cheese, butter, and whatever other toppings you want to put on them. The kids love kumpir as it reminds them of mashed potatoes. Typically, you’ll find this only at a local kumpir restaurant – you can get it to go or sit down and eat it there.
You will find Gozleme outside of the large cities, mainly in the villages or roadside stands. You’ll find the local village woman, rolling out the dough into a very thin pancake on a flat iron circle. There are options of cheese, parsley, potato, or meat. Some places make sweet gozleme, adding Nutella or fruit on the inside. Gozleme is a fun experience to watch being made and then the joy of eating it!
Simit is a pretzel-type circular bread that you can find at the local bakery or street food vendor. It is an easy Turkish food for kids to eat on the go. Simit has sesame seeds on the top, which could be a deterrent. One of our kids loves them, the other not so much.
Manti is a small ravioli stuffed with minced me and typically served with a garlic yogurt sauce on top of it. If your kids are not fans of yogurt or garlic, you can always order it plain for the picky eater in your family.
Doner with Rice
Doner with Rice is basic meal of Turkish rice with Doner meat on top. Some restaurants may offer chicken doner as an option. Either way its a simple meal that is a kid favorite!
For all the sweet tooths, baklava is great for a picky eater. It’s made with filo dough and sometimes has pistachios on it. Most restaurants have baklava, or you can go to a local ‘baklavaci’, a bakery that specializes in baklava.
A must try Turkish food for kids is theTurkish Ice Cream. It is fun to get from the local vendor, and it tastes good too. Dondurma is gummier and stretchier than your typical ice cream.
You can get freshly squeezed juice from street vendors in most cities. The fruits offered are typically seasonal and oh so good. Our kid’s favorites are the fresh-squeezed orange juice.
In summary, keep your Turkish food for kids simple. No matter if you are in Istanbul, Cappadocia, Antalya or any other region of Turkey, you can find delicious food your kids will enjoy. If they want to try something new or different that they see – go for it! We’ve been surprised when our kids took the initiative and loved something new that they have tried.