Expat’s Best Guide To Budget Dining In Turkey: 7+Tasty Meals

Budget Dining In Turkey-Ling

If you want to eat dinner in Turkey without breaking the piggy bank, you’re in luck! Because there are many cheap food alternatives and restaurants for budget dining in Turkey!

Turkey is famous for kebabs and lahmacun, but other cheap eats like seafood, vegetables, meat, and grains are also common. If you love street food and have a tight budget, here is your guide to budget dining in Turkey. So, let’s get started!

Budget Dining In Turkey: Cheap Eats

You can eat street food for a budget in Turkey, and here are some of the most popular ones! But before we get to it, have you ever thought about learning Turkish to get by in the country or to socialize with the locals? Ling can help you learn Turkish, whether you are a beginner or a seasoned learner!

1. Balık Ekmek (Grilled Fish Sandwiches)

You can find a lot of fish restaurants or street stalls by the sea on the European side. These fish sandwiches usually include raw onion, green herbs, and grilled fish. Even those who don’t like seafood will crave this taste and the experience of eating fish by the sea.

Çiğ Köfte-Budget Dining In Turkey

2. Çiğ Köfte (Bulgur Meatballs)

This is a vegan and vegetarian-friendly street food. These meatballs are not made with meat; instead, they are made with bulgur, a kind of wheat. This traditional Turkish food usually includes crispy lettuce and sour pomegranate molasses. It has a perfect combination of sweet, sour, savory, spicy, and crunchy. You can find small çiğ köfte shops all over the country. The most popular chain stores are Komagene and Adıyamanlı Çiğköfteci Erkan Usta.

3. Lahmacun (Turkish Pizza)

This one is my favorite food from Turkish cuisine —lahmacun! Recently, it has been exported to other countries so that everyone can taste this delicious food. It is like a more spiced and meat version of Italian pizza but without cheese. Lahmacun includes finely chopped onions, tomatoes, parsley, and ground meat thrown on top of the thin, crunchy flatbread. You can find lahmacun at almost all kebab shops and pide shops in Turkey. Some popular chain stores specializing in lahmacun are Hacıoğlu and Pidem.

4. Kumpir (Jacket Potato)

In Turkey, they make jacket (baked) potatoes differently than the rest of the world. They use the biggest potatoes and slice them open, then throw in as many fillings as you can—there is no limit! Ortaköy (Istanbul) is famous for its kumpir shops but keep in mind that they sell them for more expensive prices than the other parts of Istanbul.

Pide-Budget Dining In Turkey-Ling

5. Pide (Turkish Flatbread)

This flatbread varies from one place to another. Some places offer more plain varieties, while some try to fit in as many flavors as possible. Pide is like the Turkish version of artisanal Italian pizza: the same adept cooking methods for a fraction of the price. Some pides will be more expensive than others because of the ingredients they contain, so avoid ordering pastırmalı (cured beef), sucuklu (dried beef), and kavurmalı (canned meat) pide if you want to make a more affordable pide option. Some of the best restaurants specializing in pide are Pidem and Usta Pideci.

6. Tavuk Döner Dürüm (Chicken Döner Wrap)

Recently, the Turkish döner has also been popular in European countries. Although it is a street food, it is also a powerful protein punch. If you are looking for a scrumptious and fulfilling meal, döner is the ideal choice for you. Luckily, you can come across a döner shop selling chicken döner dürüm at every step in Turkey!

7. Mısır (Sweetcorn)

It may be difficult to decide between the grilled version, which has a barbeque vibe, and the boiled version, but sweetcorn is a food that can satisfy both vegans and carnivores alike. It may be the blandest, but it is also one of the cheapest foods on the list. You can find peddlers selling sweetcorns on their mobile carts all over the country.

Simit Turkey dish

8. Simit (Turkish Bagel)

Everyone in Turkey loves simit and other Turkish pastries. Simit, known in English as the Turkish bagel, is a round bread topped with sesame seeds and baked to perfection. It goes well with black Turkish tea, which makes a quick Turkish breakfast for all Turkish people who are tight on time on the way to work or school. You can find simit at bakeries, pastry shops, and street peddlers all around Turkey.

9. Tavuk Pilav (Chicken And rice)

Far more interesting than its name, tavuk pilav is creamy, buttery rice that will melt in your mouth. Some restaurants may also add chickpeas or other ingredients of your choice. You can find tavuk pilav at street peddlers and restaurants serving this delicious, cheap, and nutritious food.

10. Halka Tatlısı (The ring dessert)

If you have a sweet tooth but don’t want to spend extra money on dessert. This bagel-shaped syrup dessert, like the Turkish version of churros, will satisfy you for a cheap price! They are sold by street peddlers, and you can also find them at dessert shops.

Final Words

In summary, when it comes to eating on a budget in Turkey, you’re in for a treat! From fish sandwiches at seaside stalls to flavorful lahmacun and comforting tavuk pilav, there’s plenty to enjoy without splurging.

Whether you’re munching on street food or grabbing a bite at a local joint, Turkey’s culinary scene has something tasty for everyone, all without burning a hole in your pocket. So, if you eat these budget-friendly street foods, the average daily cost you spend on food would be around $5.

Since you have read this blog post, you may also want to learn how to order food in Turkish!

So, next time you’re in Turkey, don’t hesitate to indulge in these delicious budget eats and make the most of your trip!

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