Best Istanbul Street Food Guide!
Even though Istanbul has many elegant restaurants and world-renowned cooks, there is a mysterious world in the streets of Istanbul in terms of food. In Istanbul, if you are local and are struggling with the Istanbul, traffic or generally with the life, street food will be your little helper through all of these processes. You just can’t walk even one kilometer without spotting one of the street vendors of little shops called ”büfe”. Don’t let the best street food title fool you since we are not only talking about foods that you can grab and eat on the go. There are lots of street vendors who will give you a chair while you are eating your börek (pastry), kebap (yes, seriously), döner of course and the köfte (meatballs).
So, let’s check what is must-try and what is must-avoid in this metropolitan city’s streets.
Hot-Eaten Street Foods In Istanbul
We will start our list with one of the famous foods in our country; Kebap and döner. Döner and kebap probably the first things that comes to the minds of the tourists when someone talks about Turkey or asked about a Turkish food. Even though it is hard to prepare kebap and doner, the birthplace of these foods are actually the streets of Istanbul. Most of the famous kebap restaurants in nowadays are derived from old street vendors and they still keep their secret in their kebaps.
Doner has many types and you can eat it on top of your rice, or as a wrap or as an Iskender Kebap. It is a tightly packed meat roasted on a large vertical skew and is the mother of all the fast-food snacks in Turkey. Nearly in every region of Turkey, you can find a doner place but if you want to eat a quality doner, you can start from Fatih. Besides the meat doner, you can eat chicken doner too and this type is starting to be more popular than the meat. There is a special doner called the Hatay Döneri and they make a sauce for it which consists of 40 different herbs and etc.
Pide is a Turkish version of pizza. It is a slightly leavened, flatbread in which you can find many ingredients such as potatoes, meat, spinach, cheese and etc. Just like the kebap, we have different versions of pide according to the region such as Samsun, Konya, Bursa and etc.
Lahmacun is the main fast food of the Turkish people with the doner. It is oval and kind of resembles the pizza but the ingredients are far different from it. Inside of it, there is the ground meat, onions, pepper paste, sometimes tomato, pepper, parsley and spices according to the region you are eating. With lahmacun, they usually give mezes or a salad with a few pieces of tomato and lemon so you can put them in if you want to. If you want to eat it like a local, first add salad inside of the lahmacun, then sprinkle some lemon and make a roll out of it. There you are! Enjoy your lahmacun.
Mısır or corn, is among the most consumed street foods in Turkey, especially by the children. It is sold by boiled or grilled on the cob and they often add salt or different spices. Especially in Summer, you will see hundreds of corn sellers in the streets with the push-cars.
Actually, the kestane is a famous thing for a neighbor city, Bursa. The story of kestane dates back to old times in which people didn’t have a radiator and central heating in their homes and had to use a stove inside. During the cold and harsh days of winter, families used to gather together and put some chestnuts on their stoves and let them roast. Afterward, they use a knife to open a breach and eat it with joy. Since it is an old habit, you can see many roasted chestnut sellers during Winter and the Fall mostly in touristic areas.
The translation of this one is ”fish bread”, which means fish between the bread. They grill or fry the fish according to your wish and stuff it inside of a large piece of bread called yarım ekmek (half bread) or tam ekmek (the full bread), which guarantees a full stomach. You can eat best of this type in Eminönü, on the next shore of to the Galata Bridge, which also very close to our Sultanahmet Hotel, Sura Hotels.
In our next article, we will give brief information about the cold-eaten street foods of Istanbul