local food, Istanbul
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).
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.
This syrupy sweet treat - dessert ring - is made from semolina and deep fried. It's very rich. You can find these in street carts all around Istanbul. Not one of my favorites, but a definite must-try!
"Kır Pidesi" is a very well known and eaten local food in Turkey ... Its a kind of pide (pita) and made with ingredients of cheese, chopped beef, spinach, potato, depending on your own taste ....
Its sold almost everywhere, at bakerys and small restaurants and especially consumed by younger people and students as its such cheap with 1.- TL each, aprrx. 50.- cents of each.
I strongly advise you to taste one, and of course accompanied with a superb "Turkish Tea" .. :)
Street food is ready-to-eat food or drink sold in a street or other public place, such as a market or fair, by a hawker or vendor, often from a portable stall. In Turkey, "Midye - Mussels" come in two forms:
*** Midye Dolma - stuffed mussels with rice, pine nuts and raisins, eaten cold with lemon and olive oil,
*** Midye Tava - mussels on a skewer, that are fried in oil, and eaten with a garlic sauce.
One of the most amusing little bites is undoubtedly, the "midye dolma - stuffed mussels".
The mussels are filled with cinnamon and pepper seasoned rice and served on the go with a squeeze of lemon. The carts topped with stacks of shiny mussels and lemon is a temptation any time of the day, but especially at night, Istanbulites seem to enjoy these bite sized treats even more.
At night time, you can see "midye dolma" sellers at the popular spots such as Nevizade, Asmalımescit, Ortaköy where nightcrawlers flock by the carts to indulge in this filling midnight snack..
Well, its said that some people have records of eating 50 pieces of shells at a time, if its not an urban legend .. :)
Well, the Turkish kitchen is a rich and diverse one, and your stomach will thank you for bring you here!
People in Istanbul like to eat late, in common with Greece, Spain and Italy. There is an emerging cafe culture here and you can get a bit to eat at anytime of the day.
Turkish food consists of a mixture of many things.. kebabs, mezzes, lahmacun, pasteries, you name it.. It's all here and it's wonderful. Turkish ice cream (go to MADO CAFES!) is great too, plus the abundance of local sweets.. Delicious!
Turkish breakfast is continental style, usually with bread, olives, cheese, fruits etc.
"Simit" is the most traditional quick breakfast of a Turkish local, accompanied by some cheese and a Turkish Tea of course .... :)
There are hundreds of street vendors with their specific red carts on streets selling "simit" even as early as 06am in the morning for the ones going to work on a busy day. You can hear the street merchants generally advertise simit as fresh (Taze Simit) since they are baked throughout the day. Besides street vendors, also the bakerys sell simit, too, but the taste does differ some and most people prefer the ones of the vendors.
Simit also very well loved for the 5pm teas and break times in companies, to give a short break and drink a tea with a simit till waiting to the dinner time as reaching home ....
I strongly advise you to taste one, even the vendors sell small packed cheese, juices etc on their little carts. Enjoy this yummy taste .. :)
Traditional Turkish icecream is made from milk, sugar, salep flour and mastic gum. These two last ingredients make it stretchy and thick. Salep is a kind of flour made from the bulbs of several kinds of wild orchids. Because the source is rather limited, nowadays the guar gum is commonly used instead. As for the mastic - it's a type of resin from the shrub related to pistachio tree. Another distinctive feature of Turkish icecream is that it melts really slowly, which is especially great on a hot day.
When it comes to buying dondurma from the street vendors, be prepared to get involved in a real show. A salesman is dressed in a traditional costume from the Kahramanmaras region (southeastern Turkey). He attracts the customers by ringing the bells in his stall. Then he fills the cone and now the whole game begins. He seems to be giving you your icecream but in the last moment he plays a trick and you grab the air instead of your cone. The whole thing keeps repeating for several minutes to the joy of people standing around. Finally you get your icecream for which you have to pay 10 TL. After all, it's a treat with the show.
Dondurma is sold in Istiklal Street and in other places all over Istanbul.
There a few local brands of beer in Turkey. Efes and Venus were the most popular ones when I visited.
They are good and available almost everywhere, though not so cheap when compared to other soft drinks.
While maybe not a "local" custom as such, seeing roasting chestnuts was not something that we are used to in Israel, so for us trying them was a mini adventure. You can find them on all the corners of the city and it costs only a few YTL for 100 grams or you can ask for a larger package. It was fun eating this finger food as we walked the cool autumn streets of Istanbul.
Okay I know you are going to ask what this is....I am trying to decide if I should tell you or not and just let you order and try it out for yourself, that is what I did. But since you can see the label on the photo I will say that it is Fermented Carrot Juice. No, I did not make a mistake, I read the label very clearly.... The taste is unexpected, I finished the whole bottle. Make no error, this is a VERY local custom. Our local friend tells me that it is usually only found in a very small area of Turkey.
Tursu is very commonly consumed in Turkey by locals, especially by native foods as like nohut, kuru fasulye, bezelye and even with döner a sidedish .... :)
Besides consumed as "food", also the "pickle juice" is sold at almost every corner by vendors and in supermarkets to buy and enjoy ... In some receipes the tursu water (turşu suyu) is also drinkable and very popular in Turkey.
Tursu is the pickled vegetables of the cuisines of many Balkan and Middle East countries. The word "tursu" comes from the Persian word torsh, which means 'sour'.
Making tursu at home is still a widespread tradition during the autumn months, even in the big cities. Tursu is often served in restaurants or it can be bought prepared from large supermarkets.
Tursu is made with garlic, chili peppers, celery, cauliflower, carrots, beets, shallots, cabbage, aubergines (eggplant) and other vegetables, and dried aromatic herbs pickled in vinegar, salt, and different spice mixtures, which usually include whole black peppercorns, ginger, etc. Persian style torshi includes more vinegar, while Turkish style tursu includes more salt as an antibacterial agent.
As another receipt, tursu is made with cauliflower, red peppers, carrots, and celery. The vegetables are mixed with some salt and sugar and left overnight. The next day the juice is mixed with vinegar and boiled for several minutes. The vegetables are put in glass jars and pressed down with cherry twigs and a round river stone, then the jars are filled with the cooled pickle marinade.
I strongly advice u to taste Tursu as pure or as sidedish to ur local food ... :)
Döner .... " Turkish Fast - F ood " ... :)
Either meat döner or chicken döner, its one of the most, probably "the most" consumed local food in Turkey by locals and also by tourists ....
In each and every corner of the country, even in a megapol as like Istanbul or in a small village somewhere in Anatolia, you will find döner to taste for your lunch or dinner, or even packed for "on the go" ... :)
Döner Kebap is a Turkish dish made of meat cooked on a vertical spit, normally veal or beef but also a mixture of these with lamb; a cheaper version of chicken is also found. The sliced meat of a Doner Kebap may be served wrapped in a flatbread such as lavash or pita or as a sandwich instead of being served on a plate. Seasoned meat in the shape of an inverted cone is turned slowly against a vertical rotisserie, then sliced vertically into thin, crisp shavings. Toppings include tomato, onion, lettuce, pickled cucumber and chili.
There are many variations of Döner in Turkey:
*** Porsiyon ("the Portion", döner on a slightly heated plate, sometimes with a few grilled peppers or broiled tomatoes on the side)
*** Pilavüstü ("Ricetop", döner served on a base of pilaf rice that gets tastier as the fat in the meat drips into the rice)
*** Iskender (specialty of Bursa, served in an oblong plate, atop a base of thin pita, complete with a dash of pepper or tomato sauce and boiling fresh butter)
*** Dürüm, wrapped in a thin lavaş that is sometimes also grilled after being rolled, to make it crispier. It has two main variants in mainland Turkey.
*** Soslu dürüm (sos, sogan, kasar; in English: sauce, onion, cheese) (speciality of Ankara, contains İskender kebap sauce, making it juicier)
*** Kasarlı dürüm döner (speciality of Istanbul, grated kasar cheese is put in the wrap which is then toasted to melt the cheese and crisp up the Lavash)
*** Tombik (literally "the Fatty", doner in a bun-shaped pita, with crispy crust and soft inside, and generally less meat than a dürüm)
*** Ekmekarası ("in a bread", generally the most filling version, consisting of a whole (or a half) regular Turkish bread filled with doner)
Does not matter whichever type you choose, I strongly advice you to taste Döner ... :)
In Istanbul's Eminönü and other coastal districts, grilled fish served in bread with tomatoes, herbs and onion is a popular fast food. In the inner parts of Turkey, trout alabalık is common as it is the main type of freshwater fish.
Popular seafood mezes include stuffed mussels, fried mussel and fried kalamar (squid) with tarator sauce.
Popular sea fishes in Turkey include: anchovy hamsi, sardine sardalya, bonito palamut, gilt-head bream çupra or çipura, red mullet barbun(ya), sea bass levrek, whiting mezgit (allied to the cod fish) or bakalyaro, swordfish kılıç, turbot kalkan, red pandora mercan, tırança, istavrit and white grouper lagos.
Salep is a flour made from the tubers of the orchid genus Orchis Salep flour is consumed in beverages and desserts, especially in places that were formerly part of the Ottoman Empire. The word salep can also mean any beverage made with the salep flour.
This is a very well liked hot drink by the Turkish locals and nowadays also having tourist fans, especially in cold winter days in Istanbul ... :)
The beverage "sahlab - salep" is now often made with hot milk (süt) instead of water and is sometimes referred to as Turkish Delight, though that name is more commonly used for lokum. Other desserts are also made from salep flour, including salep pudding and salep ice cream. The Kahramanmaras region of Turkey is a major producer of sahlab known as Salepi Maras.
U shall sip and enjoy a "salep drink" in your next Istanbul trip ... :)