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Food To Try In Istanbul, Turkey - Updated 2020

food to try in istanbul
Annelene
Annelene
Updated

Experience the transcendent beauty and ethereal charm of the city of Istanbul. Istanbul is the magical meeting of the East and West and it is an explosion of diverse flavours, people and cultures. Ancients wonders harmoniously stand side by side with cutting-edge modern buildings, creating an alluring charm which paints the iconic skyline of the city. As the sun goes down, the sky light up in warm sunset hues which welcome in a pulsatingly eclectic nightlife to be enjoyed. The cuisine of the city is as diverse as the heritage and culture of the city and it is an appreciation of flavour, spices, tastes and traditions. From the spicy Asian dishes to European classic, a journey through Istanbul is a gastronomic adventure. Embark on a tantalising trip through the bustling streets of Istanbul and sink your teeth into these foods which you should try when you visit Istanbul. Scroll down to find out more.

1. Kuzu Tandir


Savour the delicious flavours of Kuzu Tandir which is a popular lamb dish. The lamb is prepared to perfection giving off a pleasant fragrance, it and is tender as you sink your teeth into it. The meat just melts in your mouth and it is a burst of flavour. Tandir refers to the ancient way in which the lamb is prepared. The traditional way requires the lamb to hang over a coal pit in the ground suspended by a hook. There is a myriad of restaurants in Istanbul which serve this famed Turkish dish. Kuzu Tandir is served with Ic Pilav which is a rice mix of nuts, diced liver and currants.

Borsa Restaurant

Address: Harbiye Mahallesi, Gümüş Cd. No:4, 34367 İstanbul/Şişli/Şişli/İstanbul, Turkey

Website: Borsa Restaurant

2. Pide


Pida is Turkey’s take on the traditional pizza. An authentic Pide is a sort of flat bread which is topped with tantalising ingredients and placed in a stove oven. There are various varieties of the Pide with the toppings varying widely from cheese, onions, pepper, pastrami, eggs, mushroom, parsley and much more. This is the perfect snack to have on the go as you explore the city and can be bought at an affordable price from any street food vendor.

Hoca Pasa Pidecisi

Address: Hoca Paşa Mahallesi, Ankara Caddesi & Hoca Paşa Sokak No:11, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey

3. Menemen


Start your adventures in Istanbul with a tantalising breakfast and a Turkish Flair, by tasting menemen. Menemen is a Turkish omelette that is packed with flavour and is an experience in each bite. To prepare this dish, roasted onions and peppers are boiled with tomatoes and added to a mix of eggs, parsley, pepper, herbs and grounded red pepper. The taste is addictive and can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Based on the popularity of the dish, there are other varieties which tourists and locals can enjoy with ingredients like grounded meat, mushrooms, cheese, sausage and much more.

Karaköy Lokantası

Address: Kemankeş Caddesi No.37A Karaköy

Website: Karaköy Lokantası

4. Döner


Discover the taste of Istanbul which the Turkish have graciously introduced to the world. This is a favourite late night snack or a quick meal. The Dönerkebab comes in a variety of options from the traditional durum which is a Döner wrapped in a lacas bread or an iskender kebab which is served on a pide bread and drizzled with yoghurt, tomato sauce and butter. The meat used in a Döner kebab is traditionally lamb but the delicacy has evolved and it now includes beef, chicken and even fish.

Borsa Restaurant

Address: Harbiye Mahallesi, Gümüş Cd. No:4, 34367 İstanbul/Şişli/Şişli/İstanbul, Turkey

Website: Borsa Restaurant

5. Kadınbudu Köfte


Kadınbudu Köfte is a delicious traditional Turkish meatball. In Turkish, Kadin budu means “lady’s thigh” and it is meat which is mixed with rice, covered with beaten eggs and flour and fried in a pan. These tantalising meatballs are shaped a bit elliptic and are sizable enough to make one full from just one of these delicacies.

Hunkar Restaurant

Address: Mim Kemal Oke Caddesi No:21 Nisantasi - Istanbul

Website: Hunkar Restaurant

6. Hünkar Beğendi


Hünkar Beğendi translates to “the Sultan liked it”, is a Turkish dish drenched in tales of ancient history. There are two stories for the derivation of the name with the first being that the meal was served to Sultan Murad IV and he liked it. The second being the dish was served to Empress Eugenie, the wife of Napoleon III, in Sultan Abdülaziz’s Beylerbeyi Palace who loved it so much she was reluctant to share the recipe. Luckily the tastes have been duplicated, and travellers and locals can enjoy this cuisine. Hünkar Beğendi is a wholesome lamb stew made with butter and melted kasar cheese which is presented on a bed of creamy eggplant puree.

Hunkar Restaurant

Address: Mim Kemal Oke Caddesi No:21 Nisantasi - Istanbul

Website: Hunkar Restaurant

7. Kuyu Kebabi


Hailing from the city of Kastamonu, take a bite out of the flavoursome tastes of Kuyu Kebabi. This kebap is derived from the cooking style where kuyu literally means “well.”. This dish is prepared by hanging a whole lamb in a special hole over a charcoal fire and allowed to slow cook. The meat gets its unique flavours by incorporating pine tree branches.

Hamdi Restaurant

Address: 19 Mayıs Mah. 19 Mayıs Cad. No: 2 Şişli - İstanbul

Website: Hamdi Restaurant

8. Künefe


Looking for the perfect dessert to curb your cravings for something savoury? Be sure to try a Künefe, which is a cheesy Turkish dessert. This dessert is a crispy cheese-filled savoury made with kadayif which is a blend of traditional shredded wheat dessert and pistachio killing. Künefe is best enjoyed hot, straight out of the oven to capture the soft, stringy texture of the cheese. These desserts are served in a shallow, round metal pan specifically designed for the dessert. Künefe will send you into a food coma.

Hamdi Restaurant

Address: 19 Mayıs Mah. 19 Mayıs Cad. No: 2 Şişli - İstanbul

Website: Hamdi Restaurant

9. Balik Ekmek


As you leisurely stroll along the picturesque Bosphorus shore, you are bound to hear the jovial calls from the local food vendor to try one of Istanbul’s iconic tourist snacks. Balik Ekmek can be bought on the go from a street vendor as you are about to head out on your next adventure of the city. Balik Ekmek is simply a grilled fish fillet sandwich accompanied by onions, tomatoes, parsley, and lettuce. The sandwich gets its unique flavour from the sauce which is a blend of lemon juice, salt and pickles called tursu.

Emin Usta Balicisi

Address: Karakoy Pier | next to the Karakoy fish market, Istanbul 34425,

10. Baklava


Baklava is an age-old dessert with the recipe being passed down from generation to generation. This rich, sweet dessert pastry is a highly sought-after Turkish delight. The finest selection of nuts like walnuts, hazelnuts or pistachios are roasted to perfection and sandwiched between phyllo dough. The dessert is then dressed with a layer of butter, baked with care and then finished by soaking it in syrup. You can feel the dedication and passion of the craftsmanship that went through creating this delicacy with every bite.

Hamdi Restaurant

Address: 19 Mayıs Mah. 19 Mayıs Cad. No: 2 Şişli - İstanbul

Website: Hamdi Restaurant

The tastes of Istanbul

food to try in istanbul | the tastes of istanbul
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Unlock the flavours of Istanbul by trying these flavoursome cuisines of the city

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Annelene is a marketing graduate with a zest for life and a passion for travel. She believes these things help bring new perspective, introduce new cultures and educate us about life.

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