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 When Turks hear Kebap, they think Adana Adana Kebap.The Adana Kebap is an institution in Turkey. It’s Adana’s pride and joy.Adana Kebap is prepared by packing ground lamb meat and spices (especially ground red pepper) around a shish resembling a sword and cooking it over open coals. It’s served on top of flat bread and usually surrounded by some grilled veggies (see picture.) It’s also accompanied by thinly sliced onions and parsley with paprika. When finished, the Kebap is like a foot long belt of meat. The Kebap is cut into pieces and rolled in the bread with some onions. It’s a wonderful eating experience. I have compared it to meatloaf in the past, but I no longer think it’s a helpful analogy.


You can get Adana Kebap at any restaurant with a grill. Ordering is easy. All you have to do is say “Adana” when the waiter asks what you want. He’ll know what you mean.


There are many wonderful places to eat Kebap in Adana, and everyone has an opinion about which is best. The bottom line is that if you visit Adana, you have to eat Adana Kebap. If you visit Adana, find a Turkish friend and ask them to take you to their favorite place. If you can’t find anyone, leave me a comment. I’ll take you.


I know that Iskender is in no way original or unique to Adana, but it’s one of my favorite meals in town. Iskender is made by cutting bread into small pieces covering it with meat from the doner and topping it with a tomatoey red sauce. It’s then doused in hot butter and served with a side of plain yogurt. As you’re eating, the sauce and butter soaks into the meat and bread creating a gastronomic experience like no other

A Turkish classic is Lahmacun. One great thing about this dish is that it’s done differently all over the country depending on regional traditions. I’ve had wonderful and very different versions of Lahmacun in Gaziantep, Antakya and even in Aleppo (Syria.) Sometimes it amazes me that this country roughly the size of Texas can have such a rich diversity of regional traditions; especially pertaining to foods that are served and how they’re prepared.


I must start by saying that Lahmacun has been described translated on countless menus as “Turkish Pizza.” I don’t think this is fair to Pizza, or to Lahmacun. Just because something is made with flat bread and meat and spices on top doesn’t mean it’s pizza. I can’t help but imagine a menu at a Pizza place in America translated into Turkish. Would they write “Amerikan Lahmacunu” to describe pizza?


In Adana, Lahmacun is most commonly prepared in a circle roughly 6-8 inches in diameter. It’s got bread on the bottom and on the top has a mixture of spices, minced meat, onions and tomatoes. It’s cooked in a stone oven like the one in the picture. Typically one will squirt lemon juice on top, put some parsley leaves on it, roll it up and eat it with their hands.

As an interesting cultural note; Lahmacun is usually prepared for homes by preparing the meat according to a family recipe and then bringing it to the neighborhood oven where the guys there will happily add it to their own dough and bake it for a minimal charge. Although it’s a meal that has meat, it’s typically a relatively inexpensive way to feed a group because a little bit of meat goes a long way.