Bursa, an ancient city in Turkey, is not only renowned for its historical and natural beauties but also for its distinctive and delicious culinary culture. Let’s take a closer look at these culinary delights you mentioned:
İskender Kebabı (Bursa Kebab)
One of Turkey’s most famous kebabs. Thinly sliced lamb or beef is served over pieces of pita bread with tomato sauce, melted butter, and yogurt on the side. Named after its creator, İskender Efendi, this dish is a must-try in Bursa.
A special meatball originating from İnegöl, a district in Bursa. They are typically made from a mix of beef and lamb and seasoned with onion, breadcrumbs, and spices. Unlike other meatballs, they’re recognized for their soft texture.
A sweet treat made from a special type of cheese, sugar, semolina, and baking powder. The small cheese doughs are boiled, then baked, and finally soaked in syrup, giving them a sweet and slightly chewy texture.
Candied Chestnuts (Kestane Şekeri)
As you mentioned, it’s a symbol of Bursa. These are chestnuts that have been candied in sugar syrup and then dried. They have a sweet, soft, and slightly chewy texture.
A rich dish that consists of a puree of char-grilled aubergines mixed with cheese and milk, topped with tender chunks of lamb or beef in tomato sauce. The name translates to “the sultan liked it,” suggesting its regal appeal.
Meatballs served over pita bread, typically accompanied with tomato sauce and sometimes with yogurt. The bread soaks up the flavors making every bite a treat.
Dik Dik Kebabı
Dikdik Kebab is a splendid fusion of Bursa’s traditional culinary culture and the exquisite tastes of the Ottoman palace cuisine. In this special kebab, tender chicken meat merges seamlessly with lightly sautéed onions and tomato paste to create a delectable filling. However, the real secret of this dish lies in the thin, slightly crispy flatbreads that are served drenched in this warm chicken mixture. The unique texture these flatbreads acquire when meeting the hot chicken sauce leaves an unforgettable taste on the palate. Offering a feast both visually and in flavor, Dikdik Kebab stands as one of the dishes that best represents Bursa’s culinary heritage.
The name might be misleading, as it’s not related to the popular Turkish sweet, “lokum.” In fact, it’s a yeasted bread. The dough is rolled out, generously sprinkled with walnuts, then rolled up and baked. Traditionally cooked in wood-fired ovens, this delicacy is an indispensable part of Bursa’s breakfast tables and is sometimes referred to as “walnut bread.”
A small-sized pide filled with minced meat and shaped into a round form. Suitable for any mealtime, be it breakfast, lunch, or dinner, the cantık pide is made from yeasted dough. Particularly originating from the historic Kayhan Bazaar and many other bakeries in Bursa, this delicacy is unique to Bursa in terms of its preparation and presentation style. The fermented dough is topped with a rich minced meat mixture, diced meat filling, or cheese. Typically, cantık is baked inside stone ovens until ready to be served.
Traditionally, in güveç (clay pot) ovens, oak and pine wood are burned due to their high heat emission. Keles güveç is made with goat meat or male goat (young ram) meat. The meat is diced and placed into earthenware pots and pans. After adding a bit of salt and water to the meat, it’s placed in an oven heated to the ideal temperature for baking bread. The güveç, which is cooked during the evening hours, is opened in the morning. For those whose water has reduced, bone broth is added, and it’s then served hot.
Cennet Künkü (Cendere Baklava):
Cennet künkü, also known as Cendere Baklava, is a type of syrup-soaked dessert that has its origins in the Ottoman cuisine. It’s traditionally made in Bursa during special occasions. When preparing Cennet künkü, each pastry sheet is wrapped around a thick rolling pin and then the two ends are firmly pressed towards the center using both hands. Once the rolling pin is removed, the two ends of the pastry sheet are generously spread with clotted cream and sealed. These are then arranged on a tray and baked. Once cooled, syrup is poured over them.
Stuffed Artichokes with Olive Oil (Zeytinyağlı Enginar Dolması)
This dish is one of Bursa’s most delicious olive oil-based meals. It is freshly prepared during the harvest months of May and June. Before cooking, the prickly leaves of the artichokes are trimmed and they are placed in salted water with lemon to prevent discoloration. For the stuffing, rice, green onions, parsley, onions, and black pepper are sautéed in olive oil. This prepared mixture is then filled into the hollowed centers of the artichokes. Drizzled with more olive oil, they are cooked until tender. This delightful dish is served cold.
These are just a few of the myriad culinary offerings from Bursa. Anyone visiting this city is in for a gastronomic delight, with each dish narrating a story of its rich cultural heritage and influences.