A few enterprising fisherman had an idea: Why not cook the fish right on the boat and offer it for sale ready-to-eat?
They built grills and fryers right in their boats, built fires in them, grilled fish fillets, stuffed them in half a loaf of bread, and handed from the boat to thousands of hungry, thrifty Istanbullus every day.
Balik ekmek! Balik ekmek! They shouted. (Fish in bread! Fish in bread!)
Then came Turkey's aspiration to join the European Union, and such old-fashioned, romantic, but perhaps unsanitary practices were outlawed.
Istanbul's newspapers were filled with requiems for the Galata Bridge fish sandwich, paeans to its flavor, nutritional value, cheapness, and tradition. A part of Istanbul's age-old culture died.Or did it?
Favorite Dish: I'm happy to report that the Istanbul fish sandwich lives! still continues !!!
Although the boats-with-fires-in-them are long gone, Istanbul fish sandwiches are still
being served daily at little restaurants beneath the Galata Bridge.
Just go to Eminönü, then to the western (Golden Horn) side of the bridge's lower level, and you'll find several small restaurants with low tables and chairs. Waiters will cajole you in with shouts of Buyrun! ("Come on in! Help yourself!")
Sit at a table and a waiter will bring you balik-ekmek, a grilled fish fillet inserted in a half-loaf of bread along with a scoop of salata (lettuce, tomatoes and onions).
Order a drink—I recommend ayran, the yogurt drink—and enjoy. (No alcohol served.)
If you're there in the evening, you'll have a sunset view of the Golden Horn, and a good, cheap dinner: the bill may be less than YTL5 (about US$3) per person.Cheap and efficient ))))
One day at around lunch time we decied to have a fish sandwich (Balik ekmek) at the Eminönü pier near the Galata Bridge.
At the stall "Tarihi Eminönü Balik Ekmek" the fish (mackerel) is directly grilled on the boat and then put in a half-bread together with some salad and onions. It costs 5 TYR.
In front of the boat you can take a seat at one of the many small wooden barrels and tables and enjoy some people watching.
My fish sandwich was tasty but I must admit that my fish had quite a few fishbones, whereas others were more lucky.
Upon disembarking from the ferry at Eminonu we came across a boat that was selling grilled fish sandwiches to hungry patrons on the shore. I had read about this and it was one of the things on my "must-do" list. Despite still being pretty hungry from lunch I just had to get one. A grill on the boat that was tied to shore was manned by a single gentleman keeping an eye on the fish. No protocol here...just get the attention of the attendant on the shore and tell him how many sandwiches you want. I don't think there's really any other choice on the "menu". "Beer" for one, "ee-KEE" for two, "ooch" for three.
Two grilled fish (bluefish I think) with sliced onion and tomato slapped into a fresh baked crusty sub roll (nice and soft on the inside). A bit of bottled lemon juice and voila! Although the fish was minus its head and tail, it still had the spine and other bones which required some bone-spitting. But it was pretty good I have to say. The sandwich was all of 3 YTL ($2.40 US). A great local experience!
Besides this one, there are many other boats that serve up balik sandwiches along the pier in Eminonu. Take your pick!
Favorite Dish: Grilled fish sandwich
These boats are one of the symbols of Istanbul. A few years ago they were prohibited to sell fish because of the pollution or something. This year, their prohibition is dismissed and we all can enjoy their existence.
They are selling fish sandwiches in Eminonu. In my childhood, they were selling grilled or fried bonito. There were men cooking the fishes in the boat, and some other men passing the sandwiches to customers and collecting the money. I was wondering how they could do their job while the sea was wavy. They usually put the half of a fish into half of bread. There were big buckets full with onions and small salt bags on the parapets. You could add salt to your fish and eat onions as much as you wanted. They were the best part of going to Eminonu for me.
Now they are selling mackerel imported from Norway. I am not sure about the onions, may be they add it into the sandwich. Also some people have some pickles and brine from the street vendors with fish sandwich; they are really good together.
Favorite Dish: Fish sandwich with onions
In front of Eminonu pier, you will see many boats selling fish after 3 years of ban by the Istanbul municipality. Starting from June 2007, they are back again. They put the grilled fish inside a half-bread with some side dish and you are ready to enjoy your meal with the magnificent view of Istanbul. All the boats serve almost the same quality with same price so try to choose the place which has the best view. Some restaurants in Galata Bridge also provide the same menu so take the best available view as your priority.
Favorite Dish: Make a guess :)
We saw locals crowded around a boat, eating sandwiches... of course we wanted to find out more: two fishermen were grilling fish on the boat, placing it in a bread bun, and selling it... it looked tempting.
Favorite Dish: The sandwich to end all sandwiches: have it plain (no kethup, no sour cream), with veggies if you want... it's mazing how good it tastes. It cost 1 million turkish lira, which now would be one lira.
When you find yourself in Eminonu pier, the first spot you will catch is the small fish boats where they sell grilled fishes..
Dare to try or not.. It is your choice but one real authentic thing in Istanbul is to try these fishes which they serve inside a part of Bread..
All those fresh fishes, the smell of the cooking, tomatoes and peppers.. And your lunch or dinner is ready in a couple of minutes...
Dining at the fishing boat is not something you get a chance to do every day. We had some fine weather so decided to pick up a snack just in passing. This is Eminonu's answer to McDonalds...and much tastier (not to mention HEALTHIER)....Here at the Golden Horn, just down from the Topkapi Palace you will find several fishing boats anchored at the pier. The pier itself is covered with tiny chairs and tables where you can sit...but first you get your meal off the boat itself as it rocks to the waves in the sea.
Favorite Dish: Tarihi Eminonu Balik, okay, not sure what that means, could say "sit and eat" or it could be an advertisement for cigarettes...but whatever that is what it said on the boat. If anyone who knows Turkish could help me out here please.
You can get fish sandwiches on and around the Galata Bridge. On the north side is the Galatasaray fish market where you will get the cheapest sandwiches 3YTL. On the bridge there are other sandwich restaurants that look quite nice 5YTL. On the south side are sandwiches that are cooked on boats on the river and served on tables by the river 5YTL.
After doing the Turyol ferry boat tour, the floating fish sandwich is a great hunger reliever since it's just beside the ferry dock.
At YTL4, big fish sandwich, tasty and well, kinda different for me, but it's delicious. Big bun and a whole de-boned fish with some lettuce and onions all over it. Yummy!
There are a lot of people especially during Sundays, so grab a seat in one of their nooks covered by plastics and get served with staff there in local uniforms.
Try it at least once.
Favorite Dish: fish sandwich, was there anything else?...no!
I discovered the pier after a walk across the Galata Bridge. For 3YTL you get this wonderful sandwich with fresh grilled fish and onions. It's totally superb. The temperature dropped to 5 degrees one of the days but it was too hard for me to fight my craving. I ate here thrice during my trip. I think that says it all....
Along Eminonu, you can find some fish restaurant/snack corner which are serving the best fish sandwich around.
It is fresh, simple and cheap !
This is a great experience and you should not miss it !
Favorite Dish: Fish Sandwich with fresh onions
From the best things i done in Istanbul that eat fast fish meat near Eminonu tram station ,i liked so much
Favorite Dish: just try it and you will see the diffrence ,here you can feel istanbul life
Make sure that you give yourself some time to try the sardines straight out of the boats at the Port side.