Street Foods of Istanbul
 
 
As many metropoles around the World, Istanbul has a rich street food culture. One of the must-see stop for street food, eating out in Istanbul is a part of daily life. From street vendors to small buffets streets, Istanbul’s street food is full of choice . It’s whether just out of the oven simit or a balık ekmek boat there is always a tantalizing smell lingers in the air. Istanbulites swing by these street vendors at any time of the day: For a quick breakfast, to have lunch, for a snack in between or to end a long night.
Street food in Istanbul is mostly being cooked and sold by skilled and experienced masters. Pastries like simit and borek are mostly distributed from bakeries and some of the food you see at the streets are home cooked by the family of the vendor.
 
Balık Ekmek / Fish sandwich
 
Encircled by Marmara, Bosphorus and Golden Horn, sea has a definite influence of Istanbul. This influence no doubt appears on menus; even at street food. Balık ekmek which is a fish sandwish is one of the most common food in Istanbul. These cheap sandwiches are simple: mostly a mackerel fillet quickly grilled, salted and sprinkled with pepper and served with lots of greens and preferably onion, accompanied by a little touch of lemon.
Balık ekmek can be found anywhere around the fish markets, both at Karaköy and Kadıköy, Bosphorus shores and Golden Horn but the most delicious balık ekmek you will find in Istanbul will be at the Galata Bridge and on the boats at Eminonu.
 
Borek / Pastry
 
Borek is a family of baked or fried pastries made of several thin layers of phyllo. There are different kinds, based on fillings, shapes or cooking type. Fillings vary such as cheese, minced meat or vegetables like potatoes or spinach. A popular element of Ottoman cuisine, borek is an essential food around Turkey. Mostly accompanied by tea, borek can be eaten as breakfast or a snack. Found at trolleys, there are also small and big sized shops called borekci all around Istanbul. It is a popular food for breakfast actually for the people running to their shops in early morning.
 
Buzda Badem / Almond on ice
 
Buzda badem literally on ice is a well known street food, generally served around pubs or restaurants. This is simply a tray with a big ice cube and fresh almonds on it. These fresh almonds were left in water for a few hours and served on ice to peed cover easily. A delicious snack to go with the drinks, almond on ice also gives an energy boost.
 
Cig Kofte / Steak Tartare a la Turka
 
Literally translated as raw meatballs, cig kofte is a popular street food speciality of southeastern Turkey, Cig kofte originally prepared by bulgur ( a kind of cracked wheat rice ), onion, tomato, pepper and raw mincemeat. The mixture getting kneaded  by hand like a dough with a lot of spices so that the meat got cooked. Although this is the traditional recipe, the version on the streets and a small franchise shops that can be seen all around Istanbul sell meatless cig kofte due to hygienic necessities by law.
 A totally vegan street food today, the favorite way to eat cig kofte is to roll it in a lettuce leaf and squeeze some lemon on top. Ask for pomegranate syrup or some chilli if you want to spice it up.ıt might be served as wrapped in lavash.
 
Doner / Doner Kebab
 
This Turkish dish made of meat cooked on a vertical spit, traditionally veal or beef but also a mixture of these with lam bor chicken. Probably the most familiar Turkish street food sold in other countries as well, doner kebab served wrapped in lavash or pita or as a sandwich. Toppings include tomato, onion, lettuce, pickled cucumber and chili, doner kebab is also served as a full meal such as Iskender kebab or on the rice. Doner is a common fast food and can be found almost everywhere in Turkey. Drinking Ayran is highly recommended with your doner kebab.
 
Kagıt helva / Wafers
 
When you wonder around Istanbul, you meet round shaped  pastry wafers sold inside plastic bags; mostly at street peddlers or at ice cream shops. This round wafers are called kagıt helva, which can literally translated as paper helva. It can be filled with ice cream or eaten plain.
 
Kestane / Roasted Chestnut
 
Roasted chestnut is an easy snack that can be found on the streets of Istanbul especially at autumn and winter season. Roasting chestnuts is a tradition around Turkey. It has almost nostalgic sense on people of certain age. It brings out the childhood memories on winter. Before central heating became so popular, stoves were in use. At long winter nights, it used to be a custom to gather around the stove and roast chestnuts. Still alive with its modern ways, roasted chestnuts is a delicious way to warm yourself up at cold days of Istanbul.
 
Kumpir / Jacket Potato
 
There are a number of stalls or small shops making jacket potato around Istanbul. Wrapped with foil and baked in special ovens, the potatoes are cut from the middle and insides are mixed with butter and yellow cheese. After this, all sorts of food and sauce can be added like pickles, mushrooms, sausages, olives and mayonnaise. There are a numerous of ingredients you can have your custom made jacket potato.
 
Kokorec / Grilled Sheep Intestines
 
Kokorec, which is grilled sheep intestines with tomatoes, green peppers seasoned with spices and roasted on a screwer is a traditional snack. It is a popular street food and eaten especially after a night out.
 
Mısır / Corn
 
Boiled or grilled corn on the cob is cold from carts around the city, especially during the summer season. Freshly boiled or grilled corn on the cob mostly served on green corn leaves and sprinkled with salt. This fantastic walk around snack’s mostly cheap but price may vary from cart to cart and area of the city.
 
Midye Dolma / Stuffed mussels
 
Midye dolma is one of the most  commonly seen street food in Istanbul. These little stuffed mussels are a must taste for seafood lovers. It’s simply boiled mussels with a spicy rice filling inside. Just open one, squeeze some lemon and eat it in one bite. As for some people it is always hard to leave the midye dolma stall, some people had never tried it in their entire lifetime. If you have concerns about bacteria, maybe you can save yourself for a dish restaurant. At this point: To try it or not to try it, that is the question            
 
Nohut & Pilav  / Rice & Chickpeas
 
Displayed inside a glass cabinet, this rice dish a cheap option for hungry Istanbul wanderers. Nohut pilav comes with chickpeas and boiled chicken on top as your choice. Most people add black pepper as complement. Ayran, traditional yogurt drink, similar to plain lassi in India and Pakistan, would be the best choice to eat like a local at a nohut pilav stall.You can have pilav with chicken.
 
Pamuk Seker / Cotton candy
 
Also called as candy floss, this street taste is undoubtedly one of the most popular street foods especially between the kids. Well-known around the World, this colorful cloud shaped candy is a form of spun sugar. In past made by street vendors with a simple machine, today the candy floss are manufactured and packed than sold by vendors. A nostalgic street food for many years, it is the cheapest way to add some color to a day.  
 
Simit / Bagel
 
Simit is simply a circular kind of bread covered with sesame seeds. Common in Balkan and Middle East countries simits size, crunchiness and taste vary by region. Simit is the cheapest and easiest way to eat. Generally served plain or as breakfast with tea, cheese or jam, simit has its own rituals. Like drinking tea with simit is a custom, another yet more fun custom is to feed the seagulls with simit from the deck of a ferry.
Often sold by street vendors on trolleys, simit can be found at bakeries. At the last few years, chain simit bakery, cafes are common with their variations of simits such as with olives, sunflower seeds or yellow cheese. Dipped in molasses syrup and covered with sesame seeds, this centuries old recipe is an essential must taste food of an Istanbul trip.
 
Tursu / Pickles
 
Pickled vegetables are very popular in Turkey, especially during the season. Most of the households make their own pickles as a preparation to winter. A companion for many Turkish food, pickles are also outside of the houses.
Sold at street vendors and small shops, different kinds of pickles can be found all around Istanbul. Not only pickles, but also Tursu suyu, Pickle juice is loved and drank by many people.
If you are having fish and bread in Eminonu then a cup of tursu suyu would go well with it.
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