Updated Date : 09.03.2023
Istanbul Street Food Markets
Being the busiest city in Turkey population-wise, Istanbul offers one of Turkey's most perse food choices. Majority of the people living in Istanbul are originally from different cities of Turkey. They did come to Istanbul starting in 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. It is safe to try street food in Istanbul. All street foods are under the inspection of the municipality. Here are some recommendations of places to try Istanbul street food.
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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 of 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 wrapped 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.
Visit Information: The Grand Bazaar is open every day except Sundays and the national/religious holidays between 09.00-19.00. There is no entrance fee for the market. Guided tours are free with Istanbul E-pass.
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
Visit Information: The Spice Market is open every day except the national/first days of religious holidays between 09.00-19.00. There is no entrance fee for the market. Istanbul E-pass provides guided tours to Spice Bazaar with professional licensed English-speaking guide.
View Top 10 Turkish Desserts Article
If you love meat, the place to go is Kadinlar Pazari. The location is close to the Fatih Mosque and within walking distance of the Grand Bazaar. Here you can see a natural market where 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 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
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.
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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 a simit as a part of their breakfast routine. Simit Sarayi is the biggest cafeteria restaurant that serves 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
Roasted Chestnuts: In every corner of Istanbul aside from simit, you may also recognize street vendors grilling little brown things on the side of corn. Those are another big tradition in Istanbul, roasted chestnuts. There are many street vendors on Istiklal Street also grilling chestnuts. Grab them!
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
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 on Istiklal Street.
Dikembe Soup: Iskembe means the 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 on Istiklal Street.
Istanbul-Style Wet Burger (islak burger): Wet Burger is one of the first street food that everyone tries when they come to Istanbul. Ground beef, onion, egg, salt, pepper, dough bread, garlic, oil, tomato puree, and ketchup are used in the making of the wet burger. The wet burger is served directly from the steam machine after being in the steam machine for a few minutes. The most famous place to eat wet burgers is Taksim square, you can find some restaurants at the entrance of Istiklal Street.
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 pickle 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 European cities and the Middle East.
Kumpir (baked potato): Kumpir is the most indispensable street food in Istanbul. Kumpir is a food that has almost no limit in terms of material. The most popular mixture is cheddar, boiled corn, pitted olives, pickled gherkins, ketchup, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, Russian salad, butter, grated carrots, and purple cabbage. The most famous place for eating kumpir is Ortakoy, mostly both local tourists and foreign tourists goes to Ortakoy for kumpir, and also enjoy the Bosphorus view by eating kumpir at Ortakoy.
Kelle Sogus: Another interesting meal to try on Istiklal Street is Kelle Sogus. Kelle Sogus means head salad. It is done by cooking the lamb head in a tandoori-style pit with a 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 on Istiklal Street.
The Final Word
We will surely recommend you 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.