Sunday, July 01, 2007

Yemek ve Içmek

I was talking to a couple of my friends today over lunch and coffee, telling them about Istanbul and just how lovely it is (yes, the trip is over unfortunately...I am still a bit dazed as a result of all the moving and unpacking so it hasn't quite sunk in yet I guess)......anyway, the food in Istanbul, I told them, is a good enough reason to visit the city.
Before I left, Elizabeth (thank you!) told me to eat everything and said she'd probably be hunkering in front of her computer with hunger envy once I was in Istanbul. Well, I haven't posted specifically on the food there, but I really ought to, so here goes.

Staple Turkish fare - Döner Kebaps. Cheap, yummy and available every hundred meters.

Balık. At the Eminönü docks there is a row of stalls that sells fish sandwiches. Simple stuff - freshly caught fish, grilled, sandwiched in bread with some salad leaves.
In Istanbul balık is sold everywhere - Istiklal, Kadiköy, Karaköy. And people fish everywhere too. The bridges on the Golden Horn, the shoreline along the Bosporus is always lined with people with their fishing rods, waiting patiently for a fish to catch.

Kokoreç. It's brilliant. (For some reasons the LP says it should be avoided at all costs. I think they are out of their minds.) I like the ones you get on the streets in Beyoğlu. There it's made on horizontal skewers around which the intestine is wrapped. When you want to eat, a sections of it is cut and chopped up along with tomatoes, chillies and spices.
Patlican. I don't think any country loves a vegetable more than the Turks love their eggplants. It's used in every possible dish. In the most innovative ways and is always, always just really yummy. There's even, most amusingly, a web portal called (the site has nothing to do with aubergines though). Which made me wonder whether the Indian equivalent would be Anyway, I have to confess that all my life I hated baingans. This probably has to do with the fact that the only eggplant dishes I ever got to eat were baingan bharta and baingan aloo. Not very appetising. So I was stunned by just how yummy the vegetable tastes in Turkish and Middle - Eastern cooking. By the way, I love hunkar beğendi. Yum.
Türk kahvesi. I love the taste of the coffee towards the near end of the cup. When you can taste the dregs and the liquid of the coffee.
How much çay did I drink in Istanbul? Loads and loads of it. Sade çay, not the elma (apple) flavoured one. Early in the morning, around noon, after lunch, in the evening - a couple of times, anytime I wanted to just sit down and rest. How much çay must be consumed in the country I wouldn't venture guess, except to say it would probably be some mind boggling number. They drink çay like water - only more probably.

Karpuzlar. I think it occupies pride of place among all the fruits sold in the summer months. Stalls selling fruits were all over and the watermelons always looked so mouth wateringly delicious; especially in the heat.

People always say Indian desserts are ridiculously sweet, but Turkish desserts are about a hundred times sweeter. I adore them though. The gazillion types of baklavas (my favourite is sütlü nuriye, but I like fıstıklı also), sütlaç and yummy dondurma. It's a minefield for someone with a sweet tooth like mine.

Other stuff that I need to mention - simits (which were eaten for breakfast everymorning), mısır (corn on the cob) and those amazingly delicious mussels stuffed with rice you get on the streets. Tamam. I need to stop now before I become a mass of drool just thinking about all that food.....sigh, Istanbul.


niTin said...

This is probably like commenting on the frame while looking at a masterpiece painting but I just had to do you manage that font?
This is an excellent travelogue. Very well illustrated, we'd be totally lost without all those visuals.
You should write for Lonely Planet perhaps.

Tabula Rasa said...

informative, thanks :-)

MISSquoted** said...

Oh information much lovely :)
I am headed to Istanbul in august (yeah!!) and will peruse your blog thoroughly for obvious reasons.

the wannabe indian punkster said...

This post easily qualifies as food porn.

But you knew that, didn't you?


Szerelem said...

nitin: write for the LP? I wish....ummm and the font is cut, copy, paste....I have no idea hpw to do that otherwise!!

TR: you're welcome :)

miss**: You're going to Istanbul? Sigh, I'm envious. So many people I know are headed there and I am not and its depressing :(
How many days? Mail me if you want...I'd be happy to share my limited knowledge of the place.

Punkster: food porn?? What are you saying??!! :P
So you can imagine whjat it was like to be there!

cubano said...

The best food that I had in Istanbul was at Haci Abdullah in Beyoglu. It first opened in 1886 in Karakoy. The menu is a bit extensive and overwhelming. It was expensive but the quality of the food and variety definitely makes up for the price.

The Poodle's Friend said...

Oh my god, stuffed mussels. Midye, we call them. Best had on the beach in dozens. And hunkar begendi, my god, best food in the world. I am just a helpless mass of drool as you are, I think.

Szerelem said...

cubano: I ate at Haci Abdullah too!
The food was really good and they had the most fabulous sutlac.

TPF: midye dolmasi, evet? :D SO yummy.....blah thinking of them makes me hungry.

Chimera said...

like every country,Istanbul also seems to have it's exotic food but seems more exotic in ur lovely fotos...

Anonymous said...

Looks very delicious all of them. I suggest you to try also other delicious Turkish food