Istanbul – Street Food

During my May holidays Markus and I took a trip to Istanbul. Thankfully this was before the riots and political uproar. When we were there all was lively, but peaceful. I remember the only political complaint was from a taxi driver who said that politicians close down streets for public bus lines. This didn’t seem like much of a problem to complain about. But now that I look back, I can’t remember any parks, any green areas, any places for recreation at all. Which coming from Hamburg does seem strange. As a tourist my goal wasn’t to keep fit, instead I wanted to eat. And eat we did.

Street food! We tried a lot of nice restaurant and bars. But we quickly found out that the good food was not coming out of a star kitchen, and good drinks were not coming from bars of any kind. Instead the best drinks were probably the fresh squeezed juice that was everywhere to be found.  And the best food was on the street.

My least favorite street food were the Turkish hamburgers. Precooked (steamed I think) hamburgers were stacked in display boxes ready to be eaten . . . hours later.  This was not as tasty as a good ol’ American hamburger.

We did like the mussels filled with rice sold directly on the street. We also liked Kokoreç, which was chopped lamb intestines!  Yes, this isn’t even allowed in the EU.  But if you didn’t know what it was, you wouldn’t be grossed out. It is wound up and grilled on a horizontal skewer — almost like a döner on its side. Then it is chopped up and put in a sandwich.

The fish sandwiches were also something to crave.  We split one on a corner fish cafe. Breakfast consisted of cheese, olives, sausages and eggs (usually eaten together). And dinner (meze) was full of little plates of grilled vegetables, meats, and anti-pasta.


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