Turkish Delight

We recently had an opportunity to spend four days in Istanbul. Its a fantastic city, incredibly beautiful, totally walkable, gorgeous weather, pleasant people. Go if you get the chance....
Turkish food, on the other hand is a little more curious.

Perhaps because we were in Istanbul and in the main tourist district at that, we found it all fairly homogeneous and fairly expensive. Lots of grilled meat and vegetables, kebabs everywhere. There is lots of street food which is more interesting and affordable, though.

Kagit Helva- Sugar waffles. At around 2p, the sugar waffles come out. They are sold everywhere by people carrying stacks and stacks of them. They are like giant sugar wafer cookies. Quite tasty, albeit non-nutritive snack.

Gozleme- This is a very thin almost pancake like bread stuffed with meat, cheese, spinach or potato. We had them as an appetizer and were going to go back to the quite expensive place where we tried them first, when my son spotted a guy near the hippodrome making them from a stall for 4lira. They were better than the fancy restaurant ones too!

Apple tea- Every restaurant serves apple tea. Its sugar with a powdered apple flavoring mixed into hot water. The kids absolutely loved it. I have to say I don't really 'get' it. But it definitely was fun for them to have a hot beverage after dinner with us while we sipped our coffees...

Pide- Restaurants call Pide 'Turkish Pizza' but it isn't really like pizza at all. It's usually a cigar-shaped dough folded around meat, cheese, and egg with a big hot green pepper baked in the middle. I ADORED these especially when they were hot out of the oven, my DH, not so much. The meat is definitely a little dodgy, but into every trip a little intestinal trouble must fall....

Simit- We were departing on the opening day of the Simit Festival so we didnt get to catch it. They are a circle-shaped dough. Ever so slightly sweet and washed with egg. Very light, reminds me of challa.

Corn- This is another thing I don't get but THE snack of choice in Istanbul seems to be corn-on-the cob. This is not New England Sweet Corn. Its what we would consider corn that was picked WAY too long ago. Its served either boiled or grilled with just a bit of salt. Mr. Muffin Puff Cake was enchanted by the idea of corn-on-the-cob available on every corner for 1lira, but even he admitted it wasn't very tasty.

Eventually we found two good places. One a total hole-in the wall that we sort of stumbled on near the Kukuck Ayasophia served delicious food no different from any of the more expensive places and all freshly made for about 50tl ($32!) to feed the whole team.
The other is opposite the Four Seasons Hotel which although you would think would bode ill for the pricetag, ended up being VERY reasonable, around $65- 70 to feed a family of 5 in a quite nice atmosphere.

Next post, I'll tell you about my favorite meal...


  1. Those waffles sound amazing! I've heard that Turkey is beautiful.

  2. We had friends recently back from holidays telling us the same thing about the corn and we were "like really how different". A very different street side snack?!

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