The Kumpi is a fantastic "fast food" in Istanbul. In the first photo you can see me with two portions (yes one is for the wife). The Kumpi is very simply a baked potato, but not a simple potato, it is a HUGE potato, had never seen any like this...
The second photo shows a closeup of what a Kumpi looks like with some of the "mixings". Basically they slice the potato in half, then dig out the inner flesh of the potato, mix it with butter and then replace it in the skin. Then you fill the resulting "V" shape with just about anything you want, up to, but not, including the kitchen sink...
Some of the various "toppings" were sauerkraut, onions, mayonaise, peas&carrots, mustard, sliced hotdogs, tomatos, cream cheese, pickles...and, and, and. They had an entire showcase full of options. YOU pick and choose or just put them ALL, its up to you.
This made for a surprisingly delicious meal, enjoy.
Of course, while in Turkey you must try some of the many street foods. After first having simits, and then tea, we came upon this vendor and decided to try the kestanes (chestnuts). This was one thing I had never tried on a NYC winter's street but decided to give it a try in Istanbul. It was not for me - found the texture a little strange. Was too full to try the misir (corn on the cob), which I know I would have enjoyed!
The misir was 1.50 TL and the kestanes were 5 TL for 150g.
The Turkish cuisine is very famous in the world.
While walking in Istanbul i saw a lot of places to eat - almost every second store is a food store.
They have a lot of simit stands outside and people selling simit while walking with a large mountain of simit on their head.
Simit is like a round bread.
They drink a lot of yogurt called ayran as far as i remember and also with Kebaps.
Turkey is a Kebaps heaven - a lot of kebaps vendors and stores - sometimes even store next to another.
This was a Country where I didn't expect to see vendors carrying food for sale on their heads.
Mainly, it was the type in the photo, and some when I was sitting beside the sea, carried a stool, which pulled apart so they could sit their tray of food on it. Clever!
I did notice, that they have a hollow round that they sit on their head before putting the tray on it.
A nice filling meal I had one evening, was a Savoury Pancake.
I had Lamb, and it was filled with capsicum, mushrooms and other vegetables as well as the Lamb. It was served folded on my plate, (a big pancake) and with potato chips and some salad, plus bread as well. It was very filling, and nice, and cost only 11t/l
I couldn't eat it all it was so big!
Turkish coffee. No sugar. Enjoyable.
Don't dare to leave the country before having tried this small cup of aromathic beverage. What?!!!
You do not drink coffee? Ok they have turkish
orange Fanta as well... Go ahead!!!
I am just forget how much did I pay for a cup of coffee. It is not on my records. I was not surprised by the price...It means is a reasonable price for the gem.
In the late afternoon and in the evening there are many fishermen boats, along the piers in central Istanbul, who cook and sell fresh fish.
Sandwiches with grilled or fried sardines are the most popular with locals, as well as mussels stuffed with rice and spices.
Ayran is a yogurt-based drink that is served in almost every restaurant & cafe in Istanbul, as well as Turkey for that matter. It is basically yogurt mixed with water, and salt is added. Ayran is usually drunk with a meal, but is also enjoyed as a refreshment on its own. Personally, this is one of the few traditional Turkish cuisine items that I don't particularly care for. I have tried it on several occasions, but it is just something about the saltiness of it that doesn't sit well with me. But by no means should this discourage you from trying it, as millions of people here love it! :)
If you happen to like sweet things or chocolate, then give the Elit Chocolate that we "found" on Istiklal Street a try. We saw people lining up to purchase here so we naturally went to take a look. We found small to medium sized packs of chocolate wrapped in aluminum foil without any other packaging. We tried several kinds and enjoyed them all. Just look for a small corner kiosk with foil wrapped items in the front, that will be the chocolate.
If you want my opinion (and I'm sure you do, otherwise you wouldn't be browsing these pages), Efes dark is by far the best beer you can find in the Middle East. It is brewed in Istanbul by Anadolu Efes Brewery, which also produces a German style pilsner called simply Efes (boring) and a strong lager called Efes Extra (interesting, but it's hard to drink in the heat).
Efes dark is generally available by the bottle, more rarely also by the draught. It's semi-sweet in the foretaste and bitter in the aftertaste, with hints of malt and maybe liquerice or chocolate, I was too drunk to tell.
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