The Best Turkish Street Foods in Istanbul

Istanbul is one of the busiest cities in the world. It is full of different types of opportunities and tourists attractions. Therefore, there is an endless diversity in the street food of turkey in Istanbul. Istanbul E-pass provides you a completely free guide of Turkish street food in Istanbul.

Updated Date : 04.04.2022

Istanbul Street Food Markets

Being the busiest city of Turkey population-wise, Istanbul offers one of Turkey's most perse food choices. Majority of the people living in Istanbul originally from different cities of Turkey. They did come to Istanbul starting from the 70s because Istanbul is the economic capital of Turkey. As you know, one of the primary purposes of anyone to plan a tour in Istanbul is due to the Turkish street food. Here are some recommendations of places to try  Istanbul street food.

View What to Eat in Istanbul Article

Grand Bazaar

Many travelers think that Grand Bazaar is just a place for shopping. Assuming that there are more than 4000 shops inside the market and more than 6000 people working, and it attracts thousands of visitors a day, this forces the bazaar to offer the best food. On the way to Grand Bazaar, near the Cemberlitas tram station inside the Vezirhan, you can find the best baklava in Istanbul. Sec Baklava brings their baklava daily from Gaziantep, more than a thousand kilometers away from Istanbul, by planes. In a tiny shop, you may taste baklava that you will never taste in Turkey. Continuing the Grand Bazaar, when you see gate number 1, if you make a right and finish the street, on the right-hand side, you will see Donerci Sahin Usta. You may recognize the shop from the line in front of the place no matter what time of the day is. Here you may taste the best doner kebab in Istanbul again hard to find a similar taste maybe around the country. To the left from the Donerci Sahin Usta, the best wrap kebab restaurant Tam Dürüm, offers its customers the best wrap kebabs made out of chicken, lamb, and beef. You may combine your wrap kebab with the mezes prepared daily and waits ready for its customers on the tables. You will not regret tasting the delicious Turkish street food in Istanbul. There are many other places in the Grand Bazaar, but these three places are a must when you get hungry close to the market.

Spice Market

The story about the Spice Market is more or less the same as the Grand Bazaar. Many travelers are having a look at the shops of the Spice Bazaar and leave with the idea that it is not that different from an ordinary shopping mall. For seeing the difference, you have to look outside of the market. When you see gate number 1 of the Spice Bazaar, don't enter but follow the street on the right side of the market. There you will see the famous cheese and olives market. You can see more than 20 different kinds of cheese and olives from different sections of the country. If you come all the way here, don't miss the famous Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi. Turks are renowned for their coffee, and the most famous brand of Turkish coffee is Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi. To be able to find the store, follow the smell of coffee. If you want to learn more about the spice bazaar, click here

View Top 10 Turkish Desserts Article

Kadinlar Pazari

If you love meat, the place to go is Kadinlar Pazari. The location is close to the Fatih Mosque and within walking distance to the Grand Bazaar. Here you can see a natural market that the items are generally brought from the Eastern side of Turkey, including meat. There is a local dish called  "Buryan," which means lamb cooked in Tandoori style. In addition, you can find honey, cheese, different kinds of natural soaps, dried fruits, different types of bread, and many more.

Eminonu Fish Sandwich

This is a classic in Istanbul. One of the most significant traditions of local Istanbul people is to come to  Galata Bridge and have a fish sandwich, which is cooked in little boats just on the seashore. These guys are having a barbecue in tiny boats and preparing fish sandwiches with mackerel and onion salad. If you have fish, another must is the pickle juice. To finish the meal you need the dessert which is just waiting for you in the same place. The total cost of this meal will be less than 5 dollars, but the experience is priceless. You will also experience the incredible fact that Turkish street food is not that expensive.

View Istanbul Dining Guide Article

Eminonu Fish Sandwich

Karakoy Fish Market

Just across the Galata Bridge from the  Spice Bazaar, there is the Karakoy Fish Market. This place is really what you can expect from a traditional fish market with only one slight difference. You can pick the fish, and they can cook for you in the same place—one of the cheapest places in Istanbul to try the freshest fish from the Bosphorus.

View Vegan Restaurants in Istanbul Article

Karakoy Fish Market

Istiklal Street

Being the center of Istanbul´s new city, Istiklal Street is also the center of local foods and eateries. The majority of the people come there for sightseeing, nightlife or tasty meals. On some weekends, half a million people pass through this famous street. 

Here are some excellent recommendations.

Simit:Simit is a bread roll covered with sesame seeds that you can find anywhere in Istanbul. Generally, locals have simit as a part of their breakfast routine. Simit Sarayi is the biggest cafeteria restaurant that they serve simit with different kinds of it during the entire day fresh. At the beginning of Istiklal Street, you may see one of their branch on the left-hand side. You can try one of the most famous fast-food traditions of Turkey there.

View Best Breakfast Places in Istanbul Article

Simit

Roasted Chestnuts: In every corner of Istanbul aside from simit, you may also recognize street vendors grilling little brown things on the side of corns. Those are another big tradition of Istanbul, roasted chestnuts. There are many street vendors in Istiklal Street also grilling chestnuts. Grab them!

Roasted Chestnuts

Stuffed Mussels:In Istanbul, you may recognize another group of street vendors selling mussels. The majority of travelers think they are raw mussels, but the truth is a little different. Those mussels are fresh from the Bosphorus. But before selling them, the preparation is a little challenging. First, they need to be cleaned and opened. Then, after opening the shells, they fill the shells with rice cooked with lots of different spices. And then, over the rice, they put the mussel back and cook one more time with the steam. It is served with lemon, and once you start eating them, it is impossible to stop. One important note, once you start eating them, you have to say enough when you are full because they will continue serving you until you say so.

View Turkish Appetizers - Meze Article

Stuffed Mussels

Kokorec: Another exciting street food in Turkey is Kokorec. Originating from the Balkans, Kokorec is the intestines of lamb, grilled on charcoal. After cleaning them thoroughly, one by one, they are taken on a skewer, and by the slow cooker, they are ready for empty stomachs. It is common to have Kokorec after a night out in Istanbul, and you will see hundreds of people having it after a fun night in Istiklal Street.

Kokorec

Iskembe Soup: Iskembe means stomach of the cow or lamb. It is quite a famous soup in Turkey and some countries in Europe. Some of these soup places work 7/24 with tens of different kinds of soups, but Iskembe is the most local soup you can try while in Istanbul. After having alcohol, people have this soup to sober up. People have this soup to wake up early in the morning. All in all, people love this soup in Turkey. One of the best places to try the soup is Cumhuriyet Iskembecisi in Istiklal Street.

Iskembe Soup

Lakerda:Lakerda is done with the famous fish from the Bosporus, bonito. This is a way of keeping the fish for a more extended period also. The technique is to clean the bonitos and pickling them with salt. Then, after some time, people have it as a side meal for raki, which is the national alcohol of Turkey. It is common in many of the European cities and the Middle East.

Kelle Sogus: Another interesting meal to try in Istiklal Street is Kelle Sogus. Kelle Sogus means head salad. It is done by cooking the lamb head in a tandoori style pit with slow fire. After the head is cooked, they take the cheeks, tongue, eye, and brain out, slice it into bread and make it a sandwich. It is generally served with tomatoes, onions, and parsley. If you want to try Kelle Sogus in the best place in Istanbul, you have to find Beyoglu Kelle Sogus Muammer Usta in Istiklal Street.

Kelle Sogus

The Final Word

We will surely recommend you to taste Turkish street food while on your trip to Istanbul. It might not be possible for everyone to taste a lot of street food in a limited time. But you can taste mentioned above to make memories with Istanbul E-pass.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the most common and famous Turkish food?

    Doner kebap is the most common and famous food in turkey, especially in Istanbul. You will find this food almost everywhere in Istanbul.

  • Do grand bazaar offer Turkish street food?

    Yes, there are plenty of Turkish food spots available inside the grand bazaar of Istanbul. Some of the most famous Turkish street food points have been mentioned in the article for your convenience.

  • Where is the Karakoy Fish Market located?

    When you cross the Galata bridge, you will find this karakoy fish market close to it. It is a traditional fish market available in Istanbul.

  • What are top 10 Turkish Street Food?

    1- Simit (Freshly baked, molasses-dipped and sesame-crusted dough)

    2- Kokorec (ıntestines of lamb, grilled on charcoal)

    3- Fish and Bread

    4- Lahmacun (Thin dough topped with a minced meat-onion-red pepper mixture)

    5- Doner Kebap Wrap

    6- Tantuni (Beef, tomatoes, peppers and spices wrapped)

    7- Stuffed Mussels (Stuffed with spicy rice)

    8- Kumpir (Baked Patato stuffed with appetizers)

    9- Rice with Chicken

    10- Börek (Patty)

  • Is it Safe to Eat Street Food in Turkey?

    Street foods are generally safe in Turkey. Small businesses often take care of taste and hygiene to retain their loyal customer base.

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