One of the most exciting aspects of traveling is trying out the local cuisine. Istanbul, for foodtrippers, taste-test junkies, and just plain old food lovers, is a 24-hour gastronomic feast. A fusion of Eastern and Western delights, the delicacies of Istanbul will invade the senses. From traditional Turkish and Mediterranean fare to international dishes, there is something to be found for every kind of palate.
Photograph by Maisy Mouse via Flickr Commons
The gala of food can be found anywhere and everywhere in Istanbul, such as the Divan Yolu and Akbiyik Caddesi in the Sultanahmet, but for a true ‘taste’ of variety, head to the Beyoglu. Walking along the Istiklal Cadesi, you’ll find an array of restaurants and eateries. Ranging from doner kebap places to international style taverns, there’s little chance of leaving this area on an empty stomach.
Photograph by Damien Roue via Flickr Commons
Another prime area for food aficionados is the Kumkapi fish market. With rows and rows of fish restaurants, you’ll feel as though you’ve entered some strange “fish wonderland.” At nights, the area is ablaze with firelamps, fairylights, and glittery tambourines. It’s also a prime shopping location, with stalls and wandering sales people selling everything from rugs to rag dolls. Here you can get your fill of fillet kebaps, tamarind juice, arabic hummus, fish chowder soup, and ayva dolmasi (stuffed melon).
For those wanting to do a cook’s tour of the city, check out the local markets. If you still havent had enough of fish from the Kumkapi, check out the Eminou waterfront where you can literally, buy the ‘catch of the day’ from the fishermen who’ll even cook their catch for you for the all-inclusive price of 1 Euro. Another great area is the Egyptian market on wednesdays, where you’ll find a diverse selection of spices, dried fruit, sweets, and yes, fish.
Istanbul is a city for the senses and food is its most tangible delight. With specialty restaurants, historic markets, and mouth-watering street food, eating is not only a passion and a pleasure in Istanbul–it’s a way of life.