Dubai Post 32: Turkish Cuisine

I was pleasantly surprised by how good the food was in Istanbul.  I learned from Sedef’s family that Istanbul cuisine is actually different than the rest of Turkey.  Below are some of the highlights that I had throughout my weekend.

You get a little messy:  I learned this during my first meal in Istanbul.  We had a number of different spreads including a meat spread in which we created lettuce wraps and sandwiches. We ate it all with our hands but it was delicious.  Sedef’s father even told me that he refuses to use utensils and they are more or less for show.

The spread at an eatery near Sedef's hosue. 

Even drinking Turkish wine. 
Some sort of walnut Turkish dessert. 

The spread her family made for me. 
Turkish Breakfast: Two of my favorite meals I had were the traditional Turkish breakfasts.  Unlike American breakfasts, they are traditionally light in nature but you end up eating so much because it is so tasty.  Typically there are a few different types of breads at the table accompanied with four to five jams and cheeses.  In addition to that, you can add an egg dish or a type of meat and then mix it all together.  The Gunisrays cooked me a home-style breakfast on my first morning which included their meat selection, cow's tongue (it was actually delicious.)

The spread at breakfast at the Cafe, very similar to
the one at the Guinsray's. The area in which we ate
was very local, near Anadolu Hisari. 
Enjoying a delicious breakfast. 
The fresh roses her mom uses to make jam.  Apparently
Turkey has some of the best roses in the world. 
Donor Kebabs: Kebab is known as the traditional Turkish dish.  However, in Istanbul, seafood is the main dish and kebab is only eaten because it is popular elsewhere in Turkey. That is irrelevant, if you are traveling to Istanbul make sure you have at least one meal with donor kebab because the meat is tender and delicious.  My suggestion would be Restaurant Konyali in Tokapi Palace.  

Sipping a heavenly juice drink at Tokapi Palace. They have
a similar rose drink that tastes like your drinking liquid roses.
This type of drink can only be found here so make sure you get it. 
Luckily Sedef is family friends with the owner of the
restaurant at Tokapi and we were able to get a seat over
looking the water.  Konyali has been around for
over 100 years and is worth going to when in Tokapi.  
The kebab I devoured. 
Stuffed Mussels: After I left a bar on Friday night, it was alarming when I saw a man with a tub full of mussels.  For the cheap price of 1 Turkish Lire, he offered me three.  It was the most amazing stuffed mussel I had ever had and I ended up having about 9 or 10 more.  This is actually quite common around bar time as you can find one of these mussel tubs on about every other corner.

It was a great surprise to see this guy waiting outside the bar
I was in.
They were so good I got them on the street the next day.
I kept going back for more and more. 
Waffles and Kumpir: Stuffed baked potatoes and stuffed waffles.  One word: AMAZING.  I will let the pictures do the rest of the talking.

 Kumpir is a baked potato in which you stuff it
with the ingredients from the bar seen abobe.  These stands
along with waffle stands are about as common as hot
dog  stands in New York. 
It is best to just let the guy do his magic.  My suggestion on
where to get these would be in Ortakoy.  It is a great little
district that has loads of terraces overlooking the Bosphorus.
It felt like four pounds.  
I was able to eat about half of it. 

Bar time food at its finest. It could be comparable
to Gins, Big Reds or Ian's in Madison.
Same story for the waffle, let the guy work his magic. 
Once again, a delectable experience.

Seafood, Seafood, Seafood:  Istanbul is home to some of the greatest seafood I have ever had.  Whether it be a fancy island in the middle of the Bosphorus or at a local market, you must have a few meals of the underwater cuisine.

The selection of fish we had to choose from
at the eatery on the island. 
We picked a small fish that I would think to use as bait.
It was actually quite tasty. 
One of my favorite meals was in the local fish market. 

For about 200 yards there was stands set up with fish,
lobster, crabs and shrimp all caught earlier that day. 

We picked some jumbo shrimp and had them cook it for
us on the grill. 
A simple fish sandwich is a must have in Istanbul either in
a fish market or on the Galata Bridge. 
The location and the food was incredible at this fish market.
It is right out of the old city.  Therefore if you are going
to Istanbul soon (Ellen and Stan Lattman), tell your guide
to bring you to Havuzbasi Balikcilk (fish house) for a one hour lunch. 

Baklava and Turkish Delight: I was usually so full from the meals that I hardly had room for the Turkish desserts.  Yet I would force myself to eat because it was worth it.  Having these tasty treats in Turkey is extremely different compared to elsewhere in the world.  It is like having bagels or pizza inside of the tri – state area (That is CT, NY and NJ for you outsiders).

A old Turkish candy that was served during the Ottoman era. 

It was pretty much all sugar, not recommended. 
On the other hand, Baklava is highly recommended.  You
will find all different types all over the city. 
Turkish delight is also all over the city.  I munched on some
while shopping in the Grand Bazzar


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