Putting together the words “Turkey” and “street food” naturally draws a delicious picture of Turkish Kebab in the minds of most foreigners. However Turkish street food consists of various unique recipes and Istanbul, being the multicultural hub of Turkey has the very best selection. While the food is almost always delicious, it’s best to do a bit of research in order to have a great experience.
Here are the 6 street food spots that you must try when you’re in Istanbul:
Fish Sandwich in Karakoy
Walking in this seaside district offers a great view accompanied by one of the largest fish markets in Istanbul. While you can shop for different types of fresh fish to cook, you will inevitably catch the delicious smell of grilled fish. As the fisherman of Karakoy knows how to cast a line they sure know how to spice and cook. Also having some great fish restaurants, these on-the-corner grilled fish sandwich stands are definitely a must-eat.
Kumpir in Besiktas
Kumpir is a traditional Turkish fast food whose recipe can consist of basically whatever you wish. Kumpir is made by baking potatoes in the oven and stuffing them with butter, cheese, and any extra ingredient you like. The most commonly used ingredients are sausage, corn, olives, mayo, and ketchup, but usually, there is a very large variety of ingredients from seafood to rice or pasta and you can add any of them into your custom kumpir. If you’re visiting Besiktas, you can find various kumpir places in the Carsi streets.
Kokorec in Beyoglu
Kokorec is a guilty pleasure for most Turks, as the main ingredient is lamb intestines on skew with special seasoning on the grill. Though intestines are cleaned thoroughly and don’t cause any health problems, the stance on the actual safety of the food is constantly questioned. One thing that is not questioned by anybody though, is the sizzling flavour of kokorec.
One of the most famous kokorec places in Istanbul is Sampiyon Kokorec, whose website you can find in the below link: http://www.sampiyonkokorec.com.tr
Turkish bagel (simit) and tea in the ferry ride
This is an iconic Istanbul classic, mentioned in many romantic songs, movies, and TV shows. Deliciously fresh tea and Turkish bagels are sold in all ferry rides in Istanbul and the passengers love to enjoy it along with the beautiful Bosporus view. Another classic activity while doing this is to feed the seagulls with some of your bagels, it’s especially fun to watch them catch the bagels you throw mid-air.
Rice with chickpea and chicken in Unkapani
This is another classic Turkish street food with a budget-friendly price. Usually consumed after a night out with friends, the best beverage to accompany the rice with chickpea and chicken is the traditional Turkish drink ayran. Just bear in mind you may get carried away by the flavours and eat more than you can handle, which may invite an upset stomach. This is also a good option if you’re a vegetarian as it comes without meat.
Here’s one of the most famous rice shops in Istanbul where you can enjoy various rice-based dishes:http://tarihiunkapanipilavcisi.com
Stuffed Mussels in Kadikoy
This is arguably the most popular and most consumed street food in Turkey. You can find it on almost any street where there’s a bar, sold on trays that the sellers uniquely carry on their heads. Called “midye” in Turkish, it is enjoyed with a squeeze of lemon and best accompanied with an ice-cold beer.
Frequently asked questions on street food
What is the most convenient transport within Istanbul to taste various different street foods?
Booking from a private transfer company would be the most comfortable way to travel to Istanbul and enjoy all kinds of street foods. You can also book one of the private tours: Full-Day Sightseeing, Half-Day Sightseeing and Sightseeing at Night in Istanbul, which will allow you to travel with ease, let you pick your own destinations and follow the most convenient route between your locations of interest.
What airport would be the best to travel from when it comes to visiting all street food locations and other attractions?
Since various street foods can be found in almost any district in Istanbul, you can choose either Sabiha Gokcen Airport or Istanbul Airport, and use a private transfer service to get around the city in the most comfortable and reliable manner.