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! :)
"Kestane Kebap", thats what the locals call roasted chestnuts here ... Especially a must in winter time ... Hot and tasty chestnuts sold almost at every corner of the city centre. Great snack that keeps you warm while cold winds blow ... :)
Kestane Kebab is sold by the street vendors. With a small metal grip the vendor puts the warm sweet chestnuts one by one next to each other. Before he puts them on the warm area of his cart he scores them with a sharp knife to prevent undue expansion and “explosion”. The roasting area has a pan-shaped metal receptacle with holes drilled into it and below it is the fire that roasts the nuts.
Also the corns are so yummy and tasty ... Either you can have them as "boiled" in hot water and spiced with salt or "roasted" as like the chestnuts on same hot plate on a slow process ...
I strongly recommend you to give a try .... :)
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.
"Leblebi" is a kind of snack made from roasted chickpeas, very common and popular in Turkey. It is sometimes roasted with salt, hot spices or dried cloves. There is also a candy coated variety. Particularly, leblebi of Corum and Elmalı are famous.
There are two different kinds of leblebi: dehulled leblebi (Sarı Leblebi and Girit Leblebi) and nondehulled leblebi (Beyaz Leblebi and Sakız Leblebi) in different parts of Anatolia. It was known in Anatolia for centuries, and from there it was introduced to North Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and some Asian countries by Turkish people. In Turkey, a significant amount of leblebi is produced and exported. Also, some Middle Eastern countries produce small amounts of leblebi. The main leblebi-producing region is Corum. Furthermore, there are many more local leblebi types that are produced and consumed in very small amounts in some regions of Turkey and called depending on local customers.
The young creators of LEB have breathed new soul into this old-time favorite and created over ten flavors of leblebi. Salty: paprika or garlic covered, extra crispy or plain roasted chickpeas make a delicious and healthy snack. Try the chocolate, honey-sesame or turkish coffee covered leblebi, or go for the nostalgic leblebi sekeri (candied leblebi).
One of the best things about LEB is its youthful and creative design and packaging ideas. You can get your leblebi in a box, jar or gift boxes -combine flavors and enjoy either on the go, or surprise friends with this unique gift. Make sure to eat while fresh: You’d never imagine chickpeas could taste this good ... :)
"Yedi Sekiz Hasan Pasa Firini" is an amazing bakery located in Besiktas district of the city. Opening doors very early, always full of customers of all ages, buying for home, for office and even to eat on the go to catch the next boat to asian side ...
Even the bakery’s name is weird and is named after a legendary 19th century Besiktas guard whose name can be translated as Seven-Eight Hasan Pasha. Its a family run business as u can see father and son working in same place.
As u enter the bakery, u will be greeted with old newspaper clippings, children’s drawings, portraits and a tv at the far corner, probably there to keep the bakers company. Trays full of cookies, bread and crackers are being taken out of stone ovens by each moment. They make the best "visneli mekik" you’ll find in Istanbul – something like elliptical sponge-cakes made with almond flour and topped with a sour cherry. Other famous products of this bakery include the acıbadem kurabiyesi, almond cookies and the coconut macaroons- perfect when straight out of the oven.
Its located just at the heart of the Besiktas, at the pedestrian zone, easy to reach by foot, "cookies with history" shall be tasted ... :)
Try some sweet, tasty chestnuts!
You'll see hawkers selling these, along with corn on the cob (boiled or roasted).
Their carts are found around Sultanahmet area, especially beside Hagia Sophia, as seen in photo 2, at the far right. They have a distinctive red & white striped roof - hard to miss!
Sold in various sizes (100, 150, and 400g), costing from 4/5/10 YTL. Served in little paper cups.
It seems a lot of locals prefer eating the corn on the cob, particularly men - young boys and grown men! Prices for the corn ranged from 1 YTL (roasted) to 1.50 YTL (boiled & buttered).
"Herbs and spices" have been used by mankind since ancient times for a variety of purposes. Sometimes a wild flower, the bark of a great tree or the fruit of a bush, spices show infinite variety in their form, characteristics and function.
It is generally believe that spices were first used in the Far East. The spread of spices used since antiquity in China and India to all corners of the globe began nearly 2000 years ago. At the same time spices have historically been used in other parts of the world as well; one of the oldest of these areas is Anatolia, where spices began to be brought from various regions of Africa as flavor enhancers. Today spices are used most heavily by the inhabitants of South Asia. Of course the use of spices is also quite common in Europe and America; herbs and spices are very important in the cuisines of Italy, Spain, Portugal and France.
Turkey is also one of the countries with the heaviest use of spices; they have an especially vital role in the cooking of the Southeast.
Below are mentioned the major spices used traditionally in Turkish cuisine, as well as those which have entered our food culture in more recent times ... :
1. Red Pepper Flakes (Pul Biber)
2. Dry Oregano (Kekik)
3. Dry Mint (Nane)
4. Cumin (Kimyon)
5. Sumac (Sumak)
6. Urfa Pepper (Isot)
7. Nigella Seeds (Corek Otu)
8. Pine nut (Dolmalik Fistik)
9. Sesame seeds (Susam)
10. Ginger (Zencefil)
You don't have to be in Istanbul to enjoy the best spices. Fresh spices are found everywhere from the local bazaars and markets to the largest supermarkets. In fact, most spices used in "Turkish Cuisine" are easy to find wherever you are. Just look in the spice section of your favorite market and enjoy .... :)
Locals love to have a good breakfast as a day start-up, actually thats more a get-together tradition of each family rather than just eating in the mornings .. :)
Before going to school, work, sports whatever, the family members gather at the first meal of the day and have their time together in a traditional Turkish family.
A regular well known Turkish breakfast includes white bread, butter, jam and/or honey, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, cheese, cold meats, fruit juice, perhaps eggs and of course Turkish Tea. But the new generation now also includes coffee.
If you have guests or on Sundays where people have more time for a longer perioded breakfast, more elaborate selections are offered such as hard-boiled eggs, a single egg "sunny-side up" cooked and served in a tiny copper skillet called a "sahan", as well as omelets, chunks of sesame-based "helva", cut and peeled tomatoes, cucumber, sweet peppers and variations of homemade phyllo dough and cheese pastry called "Börek".
Another great breakfast classic with eggs is called "Menemen." Its a juicy, spicy version of scrambled eggs with onions, red and green peppers and tomatoes and has a great taste.
In place of breakfast sausage, slices of "sucuk", a spicy type of salami, and "pastırma", a type of cured beef covered with a thick layer of spices are served together with eggs and are a main ingredient in omelets.
Soup is also a common staple for breakfast in many homes, especially during the winter months.
You will find yourself searching the markets for the best quality olives and cheeses, seeking out the freshest tomatoes and becoming an expert at blending teas to make that perfect aromatic brew each morning.
Here you can read my detailed "Turkish Tea" review ... :
If you have time in the morning, a leisurely breakfast on a sunny porch served with lots of brewed black tea and the daily newspaper is a must. But many people on the run take advantage of the many bakeries that open early selling fresh bread and many varieties of soft rolls with fillings like cheese, black olive paste, mashed potato and chocolate.
Don't pass up the "Simit", a sesame-covered bread ring sold in bakeries and more infamously by street sellers everywhere. There's nothing like a "simit" with melted cheese inside to start the day.
Enjoy the "Turkish Style" breakfast ... :)
Istanbul has a lot of guys who is selling chestnuts at their little colorful wagons that are parked around the city.
They are usually found on the busy streets and by the bridges and i think they add to the good vibe of the city while they are selling their nice nuts.
"Beyoglu" on Taksim Istiklal Street is famous with a special chocolate since 50's. This nostalgic chocolate is produced by a family firm "Zambo" and told that it has a secret formula. They are sold with a silver pack or without packing.
You can find this chocolate at most of the kiosks on "Istiklal Street" but the most famous kiosk is opposite to Benetton, on your left.
A great taste for sure you have to give a try ... :)