I might have done a few excellent and good restaurants in Istanbul, but I wanted to experience the best of street food as well.
I had heard a lot about what this country offers for street food lovers in addition to traditional kebab and doner of course, and I just couldn’t miss it.
Below are all the delicious foods I tried and what I thought of each of them!
Midye dolmasi – Rice stuffed mussels
Not so traditional mussels!
These little treats are available everywhere on Istiklal Street and Taksim. The mussels are stuffed with rice and seasoned with a blend of herbs including caraway. Once out of the oven, they are ready to savor with just a squeeze of lemon. This is an unusual way of having mussels, and I enjoyed them. For 1 Turkish Lira each, everyone can try them!
Midye Tava – Deep fried mussels!
The surprise! I was still convinced that this was fried fish fillets until I did the research for this post. In fact, it turned out that these are fried battered mussels! Thread on wooden sticks then deep-fried and served with tarator on a simple paper, we all agreed that they were delicious without being able to tell what they were. Haha
I’ve had better sandwiches!
Very similar to our shawarma, with both chicken and beef options, durum wraps are found everywhere in Istanbul. Wrapped in what looks more like tortilla bread, I tried the beef sandwich (with onions and tomatoes and fries I guess), and I can’t say I really enjoyed it. It is not bad, but it’s just that our shawarma is way tastier.
These carts can be found everywhere
The Turkish version of our own Abou Arab kaak, but much tastier! And, good news, it’s for 1 Turkish Lira only! Available everywhere and usually enjoyed for breakfast, these fresh sesame rings are delicious with beyaz peynir cheese (Add around 2 Turkish Liras). Yumm!
Take me there again 😦
For all baked potato lovers, welcome to heaven! Whole potatoes are baked, then emptied and mixed with cheese and butter before being refilled. You can choose different toppings from a real large variety, giving you endless possibilities for combinations: pickled beetroots, hot dogs, corn, pickles, pasta and mayonnaise salad, itch… You can always ask for complementary ketchup and mayo (I didn’t). This 2000-calories treat was definitely my favorite!
The Turkish meat pie
Turkish meat pies that are slightly different from the Lebanese ones: a very thin dough is topped with minced meat, onion and red pepper mixture then baked. Have them with a squeeze of lemon and some Ayran. Delicious!
The fish stand
We were told that this fish sandwich was the must-try street food in Istanbul, so we just headed to Karakoy under the bridge to enjoy the freshest catch: it’s a good fillet fish sandwich in a baguette, with some mayo and vegetables. But it definitely needed some lemon juice for extra taste!
I admit that I did not try street borek because of the lack of time, but I did try them in bakeries, and they are delicious. The best were at Simit Seray, where we had cheese borek, spinach borek and meat borek, for very affordable prices. The prices almost doubled in the Airport branch though.
The dough is deliciously crunchy and the filling is generous with a homey feeling. Recommended!
Chestnuts & corn on the cob
Grilled chestnuts – called Kestane Kebap – carts are available everywhere on the streets, and you can hardly resist their smell! Same for corn on the cob! Yumm.