There are many reasons to go to Turkey, but one of them is the food. The shops and markets are full of fresh fruit and vegetables, fish caught in the Marmara Sea, spices, grains, olives, pastries, baklava, Turkish Delight, and more. Carts in the street sell fresh bread, roasted chestnuts, corn, sweets and other snacks. Fresh orange juice, squeezed as you watch at street-side stands, is sweet and refreshing. In May, I spent five days in Istanbul with a group of writers. (See my post at CarolineArnoldArt.blogspot.com for May 23 .) Every day during our stay we went to a different restaurant and sampled new and delicious foods.
|Simitci cart on Itskial Street|
On our first evening, after our visit to the Museum of Innocence (see my post of May 28), we ate at a restaurant near Taksim Square called Kardesler, Kebap Salonu (Kebab Salon). I was at a table next to the kitchen and watched them make the lahmacun (a pizza-like bread dough topped with meat, cheese or vegetables, and cooked on paddles in a hot brick oven.) We drank ayran, a salty yoghurt drink, a bit of a strange taste at first, but refreshing with the rich food. We also sampled an icli kofte, a stuffed meatball inside a coating of bulgur wheat.
|Datli Maya restaurant|
Lunch was at Datli Maya, a tiny health food restaurant in Cucurcuma featuring a large stone oven, where we filled the few tables in the upstairs room overlooking the street. The meal began with nettle soup followed by various lahmacuns and a sweet Halvah dessert.
Lunch on our fourth day was on the Asian side of Istanbul. We took the ferry to Kadikoy and, after wandering through the small market, filled with everything from fresh food to carpets, clothing, and household items, we met at Ciya Restaurant, famous for its Anatolian dishes.
|Olive stall at Kadikoy Market|
There are many reasons to go to Turkey, but for a wonderful variety of new and delicious foods, it is definitely a food lovers delight.
|Fish stall at Karakoy market|
If you want to read more about food in Istanbul along with a list of restaurants, check out this article in the Sunday travel section (August 4, 2013) of the LA Times by food critic Irene Virbila.