Street food in Istanbul

STREET FOOD IN ISTANBUL

Street food in Istanbul is amaaaazzzzing. Food is a massive part of travelling and experiencing different cultures and, if you’re like us, you won’t want to miss out on a single bite. Turkey is famed the world over for its array of tantalisingly delicious dishes and Istanbul is the epicentre where they all come together to help you feast into oblivion. Loosen your belt, the diet starts tomorrow, you can hit the gym on Monday, here are our top picks for street food in Istanbul.

Street food in Istanbul

Simit

We’re starting with simit because you will see it EVERYWHERE. Simit is basically a Turkish bagel covered in sesame seeds. Served up all over the country as part of a Traditional breakfast or perfect for a snack at any time of day. Simit and Cay (Turkish tea) go together like the moon and the stars. Simple and delicious.

1.5 TL (£0.20)

Street food in Istanbul

Kofte

If you’re wondering the streets of Istanbul and wonder what that wonderful smell is, it will most likely be kofte. Small balls of beef mixed with herbs and spices and grilled over open charcoals. Served up in fresh Turkish bread with onions, parsley and chilli flakes.

8 TL (£1.05)

Durum

You’ll typically find durum served up at little corner cafes and bufes and is most commonly eaten for lunch or dinner. Durum is made up of either chicken or lamb doner and rolled up in a wrap with salad, fries and chillies. Also great after a few beers.

6 TL (£0.80)

Balik Ekmek

Eminonu is the one and only area of Istanbul to enjoy balik ekmek, which translates simply to fish and bread. Fish caught fresh that day grilled up on the boat floating in the Bosphorus and served up in Turkish bread with lemon, onions, tomato and lettuce. Delicious.

12 TL (£1.60)

Street food in Istanbul

Midye

Whilst we’re on the topic of seafood, we can’t leave out midye. You’ll find someone selling midye pretty much every 100 yards along both sides of the Bosphorus. Mussells served in the shell along with a scoop of rice seasoned with black pepper.

10 for 10 TL (£1.35)

Street food in Istanbul

Lahmahcun

One of our absolute favourite foods in the whole country. Lahmahcun is a super thin, pizza-esque base covered in sauce, mince and herbs and cooked in a stone oven. Once served you fill it with your choice of salad and sauce, roll it up and enjoy.

5 TL (£0.65)

Street food in Istanbul

Borek

Amongst the endless line of pastries from which to choose, there can only be one king. Borek is one of those foods eaten at all times of day. Layers of pastry filled with anything from mince, cheese, potato and spinach and baked in the oven. Warning, these are extremely addictive.

6 TL (£0.80)

Street food in Istanbul

Pide

Imagine if pizza went on a backpacking trip to find itself, pide would be the result. Fresh dough rolled out in a long, thin, kind of half open calzone with the filling in the centre and loaded with cheese. Gooey goodness!

10 TL (£1.35)

Street food in Istanbul

Kumpir

You’ll want to ensure you have built up a nice big appetite before you tackle a kumpir. A massive jacket potato loaded with a dozen toppings including cous cous, olives, sausage, beans, cheese, sweetcorn and much more before being drowned in sauces. The best place to enjoy a Kumpir is Ortakoy.

20 TL (£2.65)

Street food in Istanbul

Kokorec

Not for everyone but definitely worth trying at least once. Kokorec is lamb intestines stuffed with innards and a whole bunch of herbs and spices before being slow roasted over a grill, copped up and served in a sandwich.

15 TL (£2)

Baklava

Let’s get onto the sweet stuff! You’ll find baklava on every street in Istanbul. Layers of pastry stuffed with a variety of chopped nuts including walnuts and pistachios, drenched in syrup and topped with more nuts. Sugar overload!

20 TL for half a kilo (£2.65)

Street food in Istanbul

Lokma

This simple little sweet treat is made of small balls of deep-fried dough, like doughnuts. They are usually covered in syrup or honey and sometimes topped with coconut or chopped nuts.

5 TL (£0.65)

Street food in Istanbul

Ekmek Kadayifi

We’ll round this off with the most delicious of deserts on offer. Ekmek kadayifi is a bread-based desert covered in, yeah you guessed it, sweet, sickly syrup and topped with a generous dollop of kaymak - a thick, rich cream.

15 TL (£2)

Street food in Istanbul

Writing about all this street food in Istanbul has made me hungry. No doubt once you’ve eaten your way through this list you’ll need to burn off some calories so check out our (((guide to Istanbul))) to give you some ideas for what to see and do in Istanbul and get moving.

Bon appetite. Enjoy. Afiyet olsun.

Street food in Istanbul

"‎One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regulary stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating."  

– Luciano Pavarotti