Saturday, November 10, 2012

Istanbul Food I - 15 dishes and drinks I tried on Day 1

How much food can you pack in a day? Here is all that I was able to get a taste of on my first day in Istanbul with two of my friends. 

1. Islak Hamburger (Wet Burger) - It is wet burger with a small beef/lamb patty inside it. It is available in Taksim Square at many spots. Look for a case where you find steaming small burgers stacked in a small case. It can be bought for 2 Turkish Lira.
    Called Wet burger, Islak hamburger is a small, moist burger with beef and lamb patty
    Steaming case - Small case to put in Islak hamburgers to keep them hot and moist
2. Simit - It is a bagel covered with sesame seeds. 
3. Salep - The drink was served during the Ottoman rein. It is made out of roots of orchids. Can be bought for 3 Lira.
    A poster on the Salep selling cart displaying key ingredients of the drink.
    Special metal dispenser with fire underneath to keep the drink hot.
    Cinnamon dusted cup of Sahlep/Salep
4. Iskender Kebabs - thinly cut lamb like doner kebab and some pita bread pieces soaked in tomato sauce with butter and yogurt. The dish is named after the person who invented it.
    Iskender Kebab, Chicken Seekh and Turkish bread
5. Chicken Pide - it is a variety of Turkish Pizza. Very delicious but different from Lahmacun, they say in terms of shape and thickness. 
    Bits of Chicken Pide
6. Baklava - yes, I managed to eat some Baklava but my friend who ordered the dish lapped it all up. May I daresay that whose baklava is it anyway is won by Turkey. Turkish Baklava is better than Greek. 
    Pistachio baklava and cappuccino at a cafe in Taksim Square 
7. Mezze - Yummy cold mezze gave me immense variety on one plate. On the house Lavash bread provided to me made me order a plate of mezze with 8 different preparations including chilli paste, egg plant salad, garlic yogurt, red peppers, mushrooms, hummus, and a couple of other things. This was for about 28 Lira. Turkish hummus was grainier than hummus I have had so far.
    Hummus and Bread
    Plate of Cold Mezze
8. Tavuk Gogsu - No jokes. This is really a dessert with shredded chicken breast. You take a bite and after a few seconds you can feel the chicken in your mouth. Yes, I ate it. No, I didn't finish it. Definitely will not order it again. 

    Chicken Dessert - Tavuk Gogsu
9. Tavuk Sultan Hurrem - I could not find this dish anywhere on my return. This was a dish with cheese in tomoato sauce with lots of chicken pieces and mushroom and red peppers bubbling in a clay pot. Let me know if you recodnize it and know what it is.
Bubbling dish in tomato sauce cooked in clay pot

10. Turkish Tea - It is a bitter tea served without milk in a small glass

11. Turkish Coffee - It is bitter, sweet drink with ground coffee remaining at the end.

12. Turkish rice - Boiled rice with trace of vermicelli. It tastes very rich!

13. Pomegranate Juice - Available for 5 Lira in Sultanahmet outside the major attractions, this is a very refreshing drink. The vendors have a special machine to extract the juice to avoid the rigour of peeling and removing seeds.
    Vendors in Istanbul have a special machine to extract the juice to avoid the rigor of peeling and removing seeds.
14. Chicken Seekh kebab - Spicier than other kebabs I have had.
15. Lavash - It is a giant blotted thin bread on display in many restaurants. A restaurant owner where we walked for a coffee offered it on house when I asked about it! It was lovely crispy and thin. He served it with oil and a lemon dressing.
Needless to say my stomach is like an acid factory reminding me of my Amritsar trip but I am getting ready for tomorrow.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

read it while wAiting for a flight ... nice read ... n ya ... making me hungry now ..