Antalya Food Tour: Cuisine from Antalya
For me, visiting a city and getting to know its culture isn't only about the historical places or architecture. The food and local cuisine take a very big role, too. Tasting new things, and getting to know new flavors is half of grasping a certain culture to its fullest. So let’s dive into the cuisine of Antalya, and discover where and what to eat to have your best experience.
Having a rich, flavorful cuisine, Antalya has various dishes which you wouldn’t want to miss before you leave.
Here is a comprehensive list of the must-try local foods of Antalya:
Tahinli Piyaz (Bean salad with tahini)
Piyaz is the most popular dish from Antalya, and you couldn’t leave this city without eating the local version of this white bean salad. Contrary to other types of piyaz around Turkey, Antalya’s version is made with tahini, which elevates the dish to a whole other level. White beans are added to a plate, topped with onions, diced tomatoes, and boiled egg. On top of it, a mixture of tahini, vinegar, and lemon juice is added, garnished at last with some fresh parsley.
You also have to know where to eat your Piyaz in Antalya. My favorite place to have it is at Meşhur Aksu Şimşek Köfteci İsa. Don’t forget to read our article about Where to eat Piyaz in Antalya and discover your favorite place to have it.
Hibeş (Antalyan appetizer)
Hibeş, is one of Antalya's specialty mezes, made of tahini, lemon juice, garlic, red paprika powder, and cumin. These ingredients are all blended together until a smooth texture is reached, and either served as a bread dip or sauce besides meat and chicken dishes.
You can have it in a restaurant called Hasan Antalya, located in the center of Antalya.
Şiş Köfte (Skewered meatballs)
Piyaz and şiş köfte are two inseparable dishes for me as well as for most of Antalya’s locals. These two go perfectly together, creating a delicious, filling meal. Şiş köfte is a dish of long meatballs, charred on a metal şiş, skewer, which is where it takes its name from. It is only made with ground meat and salt, which makes me question how something so basic can be so delicious every time. Usually, it is served with some bread on the bottom, along with some parsley, tomatoes, or grilled veggies.
Gülüklü Çorba (Chicken soup)
Gülüklü çorba is a specialty soup very popular in Alanya, a district of Antalya. Also known to be a traditional wedding soup, it takes a very big part in their culture. It is hard to find it in the city center of Antalya, so you may have to go to Alanya to taste this soup. This soup is made with chicken broth, meatballs, shredded chicken, rice, and chickpeas. It is a hearty soup, which can be eaten on its own as a meal. You can eat the best gülüklü çorba at Yöresel Alanya Ev Mutfağı Esma Hanım’ın Yeri, located in the neighboring city of Alanya. Read more about Alanya and its cuisine.
Kabak Çiçeği Dolması (Stuffed squash flower)
Have you ever seen a flower stuffed with rice? Well, if you haven’t yet, here I present you with one of Antalya’s classics, kabak çiçeği dolması, translated as stuffed squash blossoms. For this dish, rice with fresh herbs is prepared, and then stuffed in squash blossoms, cooked until tender. It is sometimes served hot, and other times cold with a nice touch of olive oil. Give this refreshing dish a try, perfect for hot summer days, isn't it? Find it here.
Kabak Tatlısı (Pumpkin dessert)
Now, on to desserts. As you might have noticed, the locals of Antalya love to use tahini, which is also due to its abundance in the region. If you are a big fan of tahini, like me, you will fall in love with this dessert. Let me give you a more visual description of it, so you will instantly want to go and grab one.
First, pumpkins are cooked in a pot with sugar until tender. Once ready, it’s left to cool in the fridge. Before serving a whole batch of tahini is added and topped with some chopped walnuts. This mouth-watering dessert is at the top of my list of comfort food, so give it a try.
Yanık Dondurma (Burnt ice cream)
Yanık dondurma, translated as burnt ice cream, is Antalya’s specialty flavor. As it can only be found in Antalya, you wouldn't want to skip tasting this flavor before leaving. It is called burnt because, during the process of making the ice cream, the bottom is intentionally burnt in order to give it a smokey flavor. Read more about where to eat ice cream in Antalya.
Bağaça (Tahini cookie)
Bağaça is a bread-like cookie, only made in Antalya. It’s also not very easily found. The one and only address where you can get it is called 18’in Yeri, located in the center of Antalya. Also known as a Ramadan cookie, it is made with flour, tahini, cinnamon, sugar, and mastic gum. It reminds me a bit of a soft gingerbread cookie, but the ginger has been replaced with mastic gum. Mastic is the resin/sap from evergreen trees found on the Aegean island of Chios, Greece.