Can you order off of the red sign? Keep reading.
Ordering at a Kebapçi in Turkey
Adana Food Guide
If you want to truly experience Turkish food, the first place to do that is at a Kebapci. This is a place that specializes in meats cooked over the coals. This is where you’ll get to try the classic Adana Kebap, or Chicken kebaps, and many other classic Turkish entrées. Ordering at a Turkish grilled meat restaurant can be a bit confusing though because there’s rarely a menu. It’s assumed that if you’re here, you know what you’re looking for. Hopefully this quick guide will help you to sort out the important stuff. My hope is that after reading this article, you could walk into the restaurant pictured here and order confidently off of the red sign on the wall.
Each restaurant of this style is going to offer variations of a basic menu. I want to focus on the basics and help you to order confidently within the core of the menu.
Adana Kebab (a.k.a. Kıyma ) – Grilled Minced Meat
Tavuk Şiş (a.k.a. Piliç Şiş) – Chicken grilled on skewers
Çop Şiş (a.k.a. Kuş Başı) – Tender bite-size lamb chunks grilled on skewers
Kanat – Chicken Wings grilled on skewers
Ciğer (pronounced “jee-air”) – bits of liver grilled on skewers
Beyti – Adana Kebap with Garlic
Visit Ciğerçi Bedo’s website to see pictures.
Kebap will generally be served with a spread of salads and fresh veggies, usually included in the price of the food. The size and variety will vary by restaurant, but it compliments the meat quite well. Especially the onion salads.
A few things to note: If you mention “Kebap” in Turkey, people will assume you’re asking for “Adana Kebap.” To be real clear - in America, Shish Kebabs refer to random meats and veggies cooked over a grill on skewers; in Adana, “Kebap” = “Adana Kebap”. Secondly, you should usually specify 1 or 1-1/2 portion by saying “bir (1) porsion” or “bir buçuk (1-1/2) porsion.” 1-1/2 portion will obviously be 50% more expensive and 50% more food it’s good to clarify what you want. A final good thing to know is that “Şiş” (shish) is Turkish for skewer.
Here’s a fuller description of the products listed above.
Adana Kebap (a.k.a. Kıyma ) – This is the classic Adana food. Its spiced ground lamb meat packed around a wide skewer. It’s fatty in a good way and flavorful but not too spicy. You can request it spicier by asking for it “Acılı”, or if you’re concerned that it might be too spicy, you can designate “Acısız” or totally without spicy peppers. It’s served on thin bread. You may hear it referred to as “Kıyma” which is just Turkish for ground meat.
Beyti – Is a variation on Adana Kebap that just has garlic in it. This is my preferred style. To order this, just say “Adana Kebap, Beyti olsun”.
Tavuk Şiş – is just a skewer with chicken chunks grilled over the coals. This is the closest to what an American pictures when they think “Shish Kebab”. If one of your companions says “I don’t eat lamb”, this is basically their only option. Too bad for them.
Çop Şiş (a.k.a. Kuş Başı) – This is pretty self explanitory. It’s just good cuts of meat, sliced into small pieces and grilled on skewers. Simple and tasty.
Kanat – This is a bit more complex, but everyone should try it. They just grill a chicken wings on a skewer and they’re usually spiced pretty well. They’re not easy to eat, but it’s a great way to enjoy wings.
Ciğer – This is liver bits grilled on a skewer. Here’s what I’ll say about this. It’s really good. They sprinkle Cumin on it, and it tastes great. That said, I’d only get Ciğer at a place specializing in it that’s been recommended (by a local). It can be served on 10 skewers or on 5 skewers, the only difference is the size of the chunks. If I have it on 5 skewers, the liver taste is just too overpowering. I recommend trying it at a place that serves the smaller chunks.
Read about more Adana foods in the Adana Food Guide