Istanbul Street Food: Istanbul is famous for its street vendors who roam the city with carts or always stand in the same place at a certain time, invitingly praising their goods or proudly sipping tea. You can eat on the street without fear, boldly trusting the quality and taste. In a word, work up an appetite – you will have to eat a lot.
There are dozens of street cafes on this pier that serve fish sandwiches. In Turkish, they are called balıkekmek, which translates very biblically – “fish-bread”; however, not everything is so meager – from a trolley with a mobile steaming grill, you will be handed a fragrant sandwich with seasonal fish (like mackerel), tomatoes, green salad and, if desired, onions in merciless crispy rings. There is all this luxury necessarily facing the sea, inhaling its smell and feeling as if you caught this fish yourself just five minutes ago. As a kind of dessert, it is recommended to buy a glass of mixed pickles turşu (sounds like ‘turşu’) with spicy brine nearby, also from stalls. Cheered up? If not quite, then ask for a glass of şalgam – a maroon thermonuclear drink made from turnips and beets (taste is sharp and sour,
In Gülhane Park, you will find yourself surrounded by huge age-old plane trees and loudly screaming green parrots lost in their peaks. According to an urban legend, a long time ago a ship carrying a container with parrots sank in the Bosphorus, and exotic feathered beauties, having escaped to freedom, remained forever in several parks of the city.
In the spring, tulips rage here with all the colors, while in winter, the melancholy bare branches evoke that very special Ottoman sadness, hüzün (hyuzun), which Orhan Pamuk mentions in one of his books. Awesome place.
Tarihi Sultanahmet Koftecisi
Historical and the very first cutlet in the legendary network. Everything here breathes culinary history – the simplicity of the original interior, newspaper clippings on the walls, the waiters’ uniforms, it even seems that the exact same buzz was due to the dense seating of visitors on several floors when the institution just opened its doors for the first time. Be prepared that the köfte (‘keftE’) cutlets are fresh and extraordinarily tasty, and the second portion will have to be ordered anyway. And be sure to salad of beans and a lot of greens. And don’t be fooled – credit cards are not accepted for payment.
Drink tea on a ferry from Europe to Asia
Ferries are both the historical transport of Istanbul, and one of its colorful symbols, and a real sea voyage from continent to continent, which a lot of locals routinely do sometimes without thinking about how rare it is. Well, of course, there is also a sea of tourists here. Who wants to miss the journey, accompanied by hundreds of seagulls, eagerly waiting for a piece of the well-known Turkish bagel simit and screaming with hunger? Be sure to please them, and also drink fragrant tea from small cups and look into the distance. By the way, quite a long time ago, when there were no bridges in Istanbul yet (the first one appeared in 1973), the ferries looked almost exactly the same. However, the trip was then perceived as a big and troublesome business, almost like traveling to another city.
Not far from the Kadikoy pier is the Baylan confectionery known to all old-timers. Parents brought here in childhood to eat profiteroles of those who are now over thirty. The interior here has remained untouched and therefore gives off nostalgia, and the desserts on the menu are beyond praise. It’s impossible to convey the taste of a local specialty called Kup Griye – you have to try it. It is made with vanilla ice cream, caramel, nuts, and whipped cream. As a gift, you can take branded handmade chocolates from here – they are also very tasty.
Directly from the round square in Moda (in the center of which, by the way, there used to be a fountain that somehow did not please the municipality and was later razed to the ground) begins like a piece of Paris in Istanbul – Bahariye Street, along which the historic tram runs from the Kadikoy pier, and along its entire length, the pavement is decorated with multi-colored balls, which also serve as a border. Shops, cafes, the only opera and ballet theater in the city, an educational center, and even a large Greek church – everything, like pieces of a mosaic from different cultures and subcultures, creates a unique sense of time “here and now”. The street ends (and if we use the logic of one-way traffic, it starts) from the square with the most famous statue of a bull in the city, in which there is nowhere for an apple to fall on any day.
Lokanta Kanaat is not considered a restaurant – the place operates on the principle of open self-service along with waiter service, however, many traditional Ottoman dishes have been cooked here excellently for many decades, which has earned the institution fame throughout the city. It is difficult to praise the quality and taste of complex meat and vegetable dishes stuffed with special pilaf. Don’t forget: you can’t pay by credit card, so prepare cash in advance.
Street stalls with mussels
In Istanbul, it is customary to eat mussels by the piece, directly from the tray, generously pouring lemon on the spicy rice filling and picking it up with half of the shell. Turks take it as a snack in the evening or at night, when you can exchange a couple of jokes with a merchant, discuss the last football match, or just silently please that part of you that is responsible for the love of seafood. Thanks to rice, the dish resembles sushi – you won’t notice how suddenly you’ve already overeaten.