In our new issue, the doyenne of all things delectable, Darina Allen, takes us on an exclusive tasting tour of Istanbul. Here, she dishes up 20 delicious Turkish street foods you don’t want to miss…
1. Simit Chewy sesame crusted ‘Turkish bagels’ brushed with pekmez and grape molasses.
2. Misir Freshly boiled or grilled sweet corn.
3. Baklava Buttery flaky pastries filled with nuts, dripping with syrup or honey. Seek out Karaköy Güllüoğlu bakery, and Develi Baklava in Eminönü for a flat breakfast version with pistachio.
4. Pide Bread stuffed with mince, vegetables, cheese and egg filling, cooked in a wood-burning oven.
5. Lokma A traditional Ottoman Palace dessert. Little fried dough balls, soaked in a honey-syrup.
Above: View through a Turkish bagel (simit) of Galata Tower, Istanbul. Photograph by Savtekin Ozturk (@diaphragm) on Instagram.
6. Doner kebab I’ve never been quite brave enough to try a doner kebab until I visited Istanbul. Chicken, lamb or beef sometimes interspersed with vegetables, chargilled on a vertical spit and served in lavash bread. Sooo good.
7. Dolma Vine, cabbage or chard leaves, stuffed with rice and meat.
8. Midye dolma Mussels, still in the shell, stuffed with spicy rice.
9. Balik ekmek Freshly grilled fish sandwiches from the Karaköy Eminönü area close to the Galata bridge.
10. Kestane kebab Roasted chestnuts.
Above: Kestane kebab, image courtesy of @taylanyuksel on Instagram.
11. Dondurma Turkish ice cream whipped in the Kahramanmaraş tradition.
12. Gösleme A flatbread pancake rolled with a variety of savoury fillings, then cooked on a saç or metal griddle.
13. Lahmacun Flatbread with a paper-thin crust, topped with spicy minced lamb and cooked in a wood oven. Eat with lots of flat parsley and freshly squeezed lemon juice
14. Kokoreç An old Ottoman dish of rolled sheep’s intestines roasted on a horizontal spit over a charcoal fire. Mixed with ripe tomato, dried thyme and red pepper flakes and served with crusty bread.
15. Borek Flaky savoury pastries filled with cheese, meat or vegetables.
Above: Borek, image courtesy of @candankiramer on Instagram.
16. Içli köfte Crisp little croquettes stuffed with minced meat, walnuts, spices and red pepper flakes.
17. Kunefe Made from kadayif, a shredded wheat pastry, tossed in melted butter. Filled with melting cheese, soaked in syrup with pistachio nuts sprinkled over the top. Divine.
18. Lokum Turkish delight in a myriad of delicious flavours. Seek out Altan Şekerleme, a fourth-generation family business in Küçükpazar, where they make their own Turkish delight.
19. Kebab Some of these come on skewers but others like little patties. A restaurant in the Kurdish area under the viaduct served buryan, a kind of pilaff, with shredded chicken, currants and some gentle spices in a crispy pastry crust decorated with almonds.
20. Manti Turkish ravioli, tiny meat or vegetable-filled pasta served with a garlic yoghurt sauce and hot paprika butter drizzled over the top just before serving.
For Darina’s exclusive full guide to the foodie highlights of Istanbul see the May/June issue, on shelves now!