Where the continents of Asia and Europe meet, the city of Istanbul is one of the major melting pots in the world. Here, there is such a large variety of foods to try that you can spend your entire holiday eating your way around the city and it would still take you years of leaving the best Istanbul hotels and eating all day to get through a fraction of them. With its location on the Bosphorus, which connects the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea in the north, there is a great amount of seafood to try, and if you are out and about and find yourself a bit peckish or want a traditional, quick meal outside of the dining rooms of Istanbul hotels, you can find a variety of street food vendors selling tasty treats.
Eating on the Streets
While you are wandering around the city and exploring the multitude of historical locations, you probably won’t want to spend the time to pop into one of the best Istanbul hotels to sit down for a long meal. A solution is to eat like a local. You will have seen the street vendors walking around selling their good, like the men in traffic jams selling simit from sticks or large stacks they often carry on their heads.
These baked goods are like round pretzels and are often eaten for breakfast. For something a bit more substantial, and that you may recognize from food you get on the way home from a night out, the kebap or döner is something different in Istanbul. Here, it is both a street food item of high quality, and a set of dishes that you can order in the finest restaurants. For a traditionally-familiar Turkish treat, try the version of Turkish pizza, lahmacun. This is a thin bit of dough, baked with tomato sauce, minced meat and is served with onion, lemon juice and lettuce and eaten rolled up like a burrito.
If you are wary of eating things that you don’t recognize, then why not try the börek, which is similar to dishes served around Europe in that they are a flaky pastry crust served with a filling that can be sweet or savoury. Try the ıspanaklı börek, or spinach börek, which is one of the local specialties. Finally, before you call it a day and go back to your room in one of the best Istanbul hotels, stop and grab a selection of sweets such as macun, which is a candy that is similar to a melted lollipop, and the favourites: Turkish delight and baklava.
Istanbul is truly a seafood lovers’ paradise. Many of the best hotels are located in the coveted areas along the waterfront of the Bosphorus and put you in a prime position to try some of the best seafood restaurants in the city. From your hotel you will likely be able to see the local fishermen getting up early and standing on the shorelines fishing the day away. If you feel like fish and don’t want the time and formality of a restaurant, then go down to one of the vendors by the water, which often have their own boats bringing in fresh catches. Here, you can choose your fish and the vendor will clean it, grill it and serve it to you on a bit of bread.