Fish and Bread(Balık Ekmek):
Fish and bread is a sandwich composed of grilled fish (usually mackerel or a similarly oily catch), onions, tomato, and lettuce. They are typically served from venues ranging from portable grills beside the Sea of Marmara to rocking boats on the Golden Horn, and to slightly more formal (but still completely casual) venues along the Bosphorus. The most famous vendors serve fish and bread from boats in Eminönü beside Galata Bridge. There, the sandwiches are undeniably cheap, but the quality of the fish is abysmal. For a slight improvement in quality, head up the Bosphorus for sandwiches sold near ferry landings and at cafes at the edge of the water. Regardless of where you find fish and bread, wash the sandwich down with pickle juice.
This ubiquitous baked dough ring is practically mass-produced at the Turkish mega-chain Simit Sarayı (Simit Palace), among other venues, but there are still plenty of bakeries that produce the sesame seed encrusted breakfast food in considerably smaller batches. Snag a simit fresh out of a wood-burning oven from a bakery storefront or buy them from vendors who circulate throughout the city and on its ferries each morning.
Chestnut sellers are one of the things you’ll find the most, when visiting Istanbul. Believe us, you’ll find true love inside that chestnut bag, the seller gives you.
Pickles are a beloved feature of the city’s cuisine, and pickling offers the possibility of preserving fruits and vegetables year-round, a necessity due to Turkey’s natural abundance. The city’s historic shops peddle all sorts of pickled produce, from plums and tomatoes to garlic and whole ears of corn. Depending on the shop or the item, the pickling liquid may be vinegar or salt brine. Every shop sells pickles to take away or to consume on the spot, ideally plunged into a glass of brine and seasoned with pickled peppers for an extra kick.
This grilled offal delicacy, which is popular throughout Turkey, Greece, and the Balkans, consists of lamb’s intestines wrapped around innards such as sweetbreads. The resulting loaf-like product is roasted, then sliced, chopped, and cooked on a grill with diced tomato, spices, and dried herbs. Kokoreç is best when made from young lambs, but the demand by large chains often leads to older animals being used instead, leading to a gamier quality than the milder, younger offal. Kokoreç stalls are particularly present near the city’s bazaars, offering a cheap and quick lunch for shoppers and vendors to enjoy on the fly.
Baked and Stuffed Potatoes(Kumpir):
Imagine that you have a gigantic potato and aloud to put anything you like inside of it with lots of cheese and butter. Yummy? It should be eaten at Ortakoy, where has the best potatoes and view of Bosphorus
Mystery meat patties are served on spongy buns, which have been doused in a sweet tomato and onion sauce, then left to steam in glass cases. These so-called “wet burgers” cost the equivalent of about a buck and are sold 24 hours a day from the shops in the southwest corner of Taksim Square. Though they are available around the clock, there’s an unsurprising surge on wet burgers right around the time the bars close.
Like grilled cheese with tongue and “wet burgers,” işkembe çorbası (tripe soup) falls into the drunk-food category, owing to its reputed ability to soak up alcohol and stave off a hangover. Ironically, many of the shops selling tripe soup are in conservative neighborhoods and therefore appeal to a much wider audience than the minority of Istanbul dwellers who overdo it at the bars. Early in the morning, the tripe shops are filled with men preparing for a hard day’s work slurping alongside staggering night owls.
Like many of Istanbul’s fast foods, these savory hand-rolled crepes have their origins in Anatolia. They are best when filled and grilled to order. The thinly rolled dough is folded around the fillings of your choice (chard, white cheese, potatoes, onions, or even meat), then seasoned with butter as it cooks. Live gözleme production — featuring women in archaic dress rolling dough in storefront windows — is a ploy used to entice visitors into tourist traps in Istanbul’s historic districts, but there are plenty of markets that sell better quality crepes.
This seasonal fermented drink appears in various incarnations from the Balkans to Central Asia. In Istanbul, boza is made from millet that has been boiled, crushed, and strained. The result is a thick liquid, which is fermented and ultimately garnished with cinnamon and roasted chickpeas. Popularized during the Ottoman period, boza is made mainly during the winter and sold by mobile vendors and from small shops or cafes.
Çiğ Köfte (Steak Tartare a la Turca):
Çiğ köfte, literally meaning raw meatballs, no longer contain raw meat due to hygiene regulations. The now vegan bulghur mixture is kneaded by hand and formed into spicy small patties. It is usually served with lavaş (thin dough wrap), iceberg lettuce, and nar ekşisi (thick pomegranate molasses). Its bright orange color hails from the tomato and pepper paste and various spices mixed into the bulghur base, most notably the spicy red and black pepper flakes from the South East of Turkey. Hüseyin Usta serves çiğ köfte directly from his cart come wind and rain from noon to evening, traversing slowly the area from central Galata down towards Karaköy. Traditionally, the first köfte is savoured immediately, wrapped in a leaf of green lettuce and sprinkled with a bit of lemon juice while waiting for Hüseyin to finish preparing the rest of your order.
During the summer, you can find street sellers offering freshly boiled or grilled corn (mısır) on the cob. Unless you want it generously sprinkled with salt, make sure to tell the seller in time to go easy on it
These are stuffed muscles. Nothing wrong with them and even delicious, but a huge risk when bought on the (sunny) streets. If you really want to try them, order them as a starter for dinner in a respected restaurant.