Ten Most Popular Street Foods You Shouldn't Miss In Istanbul| MENAFN.COM

Monday, 05 December 2022 08:24 GMT

Ten Most Popular Street Foods You Shouldn't Miss In Istanbul

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) The Peninsula

Doha: As one of the world's most-exciting cities in terms of geography, culture and history, Istanbul is also renowned for its delicious and diverse street food culture. Istanbul's abundant heritage – the coexistence and influence of different cultures throughout the ages – is the foundation upon which the city's culinary richness is built.

This deep-rooted culture is beautifully manifested in the city's award-winning restaurants, where Turkish chefs present brilliantly crafted interpretations of traditional and modern dishes. Istanbul has further highlighted its well-deserved reputation in the culinary field with the city's selection as the 38th international destination of the Michelin Guide.

Prepare to embark on a tasty tour of the street foods that will keep you returning to Istanbul… We present the 10 most popular street snacks – satisfying, healthy and affordable! 

“Afiyet Olsun” (bon Aparetit) in advance!


Now a staple worldwide, 'döner' is undoubtedly the city's most famous street food. More a meal than a snack, döner is a hearty sandwich of fresh bread or flatbread brimming with greens, tomatoes, onions and grilled meat. The most delicious examples of döner kebab, also available in restaurants as a main dish served with rice, are found in historic districts such as Sultanahmet, Eminönü, Beşiktaş and Üsküdar in Istanbul.


Warm, crunchy and vegan… The ubiquitous 'simit' is found everywhere in Istanbul, and with good reason! According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a simit is“a type of ring-shaped bread roll originating in Türkiye, typically coated with molasses and encrusted with sesame seeds before baking”. An indispensable element in the famous Turkish breakfast, simits are sold in bakeries and restaurants – as well as from bright red carts on every block. Simits are beloved by Istanbul's animals and the city's humans: When crossing the Bosphorus on a ferry or other seagoing vessel, it is a common ritual to toss pieces of simit to the seagulls.

Stuffed Mussels (Midye Dolma)

'Stuffed mussels' are extremely popular in Istanbul and every city along Türkiye's coastline. 

Served on a mussel shell and eaten by hand, this delicious snack features a filling of mussels, rice, onion, salt and lots of spices, topped with drizzles of fresh lemon juice. 

While stuffed mussels can be ordered in restaurants, they are most commonly sold from specialized vendors with traditional trays. 

They are sold by the serving, with one serving generally being one mussel – but you will most certainly want to eat more than one! 

This irresistible flavour is found almost everywhere in the city, especially in the famous districts of Istanbul, such as Beyoğlu, Karaköy, Kadıköy and Üsküdar.

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A uniquely Turkish snack, 'kokoreç' is street food available in abundance at stalls in Istanbul Beloved by Istanbulites, kokoreç is a sandwich made with spiced sheep's intestines that are grilled over an open fire. 

Some kokoreç masters offer a spice-free version as well! Whichever you choose, do not leave Istanbul without sampling this dish.

Chestnuts (Kestane)

'Roasted Chestnuts' signal the beginning of autumn on the streets of Istanbul. As soon as there is a chill in the air, the streets of the city are redolent with the exquisite fragrance of chestnuts cooked over a hot fire. Healthy and delicious, these little morsels warm both the hands and the belly. 

Chestnut vendors, primarily identified with Istanbul, can be found on nearly every block of bustling streets such as İstiklal, Bağdat and Bahariye, and on almost every corner throughout the city.

Baked Potato (Kumpir)

The creative culinary culture of Istanbul is revealed even in the humble potato. The 'kumpir', an enormous potato, is baked in embers and served with various toppings selected by the customer. These toppings include butter and kashar cheese, along with others ranging from sausage to boiled corn and from olives to pickles. 

The snack offers an almost endless combination of flavours. While kumpir stalls are almost everywhere in Istanbul, one of the best places to sample it is in the Ortaköy neighbourhood, which is famous for its competitive kumpir stands.
Fish Sandwich (Balık Ekmek)

Simple yet satisfying, the 'balık ekmek' is a favourite – and historical – Istanbul-style street food. A warm sandwich of grilled fish, fresh greens and onion atop fresh crunchy bread, balık ekmek is sure to become one of your favourite meals while visiting Istanbul. Although it is available in numerous areas of Istanbul, this classic Turkish delicacy is best enjoyed along the seaside.

Pastry (Börek)

One of the most popular dishes in Turkish cuisine, 'börek', is a pastry of handmade filo dough filled with cheese, spinach, minced meat or potato. Like most Turkish dishes, each region of the country has its own interpretation and speciality. In Istanbul, the Sarıyer neighbourhood is particularly renowned for its börek.

Chicken & Rice (Tavuklu Pilav)

This hearty chicken and rice dish is another favourite street dish for people on the go. Usually dispensed from mobile carts, this dish includes plain rice or rice with chickpeas topped with slices of boiled chicken.

Pickle Juice (Tursu Suyu)

Pickle juice is indisputably the most health-friendly beverage to be found on the streets of Istanbul. Sharp and salty, pickle juice is served with finely chopped pickles in small glasses. The drink continues the city's centuries-old tradition of pickling. With countless probiotics, pickle juice will undoubtedly add a healthy accent to your trip. 


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