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My Escapes Turkey Istanbul Short Stay in Istanbul Eating and Drinking in Istanbul

Eating and Drinking in Istanbul

May 30, 2014

It's almost impossible to go hungry in Istanbul.
Know what you want to eat and a have a little money to spend. Then you can eat yourself around.

Turkish cuisine is sophisticated and the tastes are tantalizing. Unique, unrivaled...

But despite this, at my hotel I almost died of hunger. Breakfast was poor (very basic, rather biscuits and coffee), so I had to run out for a brunch...

But what can you eat and drink in Istanbul? Join me and you won't go hungry!


In Istanbul you will find countless restaurants

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First, let me apologize for not having photos for all of the foods and drinks that I'll mention here.

I didn't plan to write a gastronomical guide about Istanbul. But I just can't omit mentioning some of the Turkish delicacies.

Osmanlı Macunu

A sweet delicacy sold on the streets: Osmanlı Macunu

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Osmanlı Macunu seems to be a very popular sort of sweet delicacy. I saw lots of sellers preparing it in the tourist-agglomerated Sultanahmet area.

How the Osmanlı Macunu tastes remained a mistery until today, because after leaving the area I chose to have salty foods rather than sweets...

Spun, wrapped sweets

It's like spun candy wrapped around a stick

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I will most likely miss out on many other delicacies when I travel to Turkey again. Because: simply, there are so many, you are forced to choose.

Interesting to mention that besides the famous Turkish foods like lokum (Turkish Delight), baclava (baklava), kebab, the rakı (alcohol-containing drink), even yogurt is Turkish.

Strange sweets

Strange sweets being prepared

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Istanbul is an exciting place to visit and the gastronomy isn't less exciting either.

Here below, I'll go into both the "what to eat" and "what to drink" aspects. All in one.

Salty foods first, sweets next, drinks last!

#1 Kebab

Requires no presentation. Just let me underline that Turkish kebab is substantially different from what Western style fast food restaurants are selling.

#2 Döner Kebab

Sometimes simply "Döner Kebab".
It was invented by a Turkish kebab seller in Germany.

Cooked meat (either mixed meat on kebab pole or simply chicken) and fresh vegetables stuffed inside a bread (similalry to a Hamburger).

#3 Kaşarlı Pide

Essentially pita bread with cheesy topping and olive oil. Fluffy soft mostly, but the edges are crunchy.

#4 Lahmacun

Another pita bread food covered with tomato-based sauce, pepper, lamb sauce, vegetables and slices of lemon.

#5 Halva (Helva)

It's sweet confection, widespread in the Middle East, South Asia, Central Asia and North Africa, even in the Horn of Africa.

It's either flour-based or nut-butter-based. I only encountered the latter.

Essentially it's like a pressed "brick", which can be sliced before eating.

In general it is crumbly, dense, hard. Made from ingredients like sesame paste or nut butters (like sesame butter). It often contains pieces of pistachios, nuts, sunflower seeds etc.

#6 Künefe

Shredded phyllo dough and sweet cheese-based pastry product topped with shredded pistachios and honey.

#7 Baklava

Phyllo layers dilled with pieces of walnuts, sometimes pistachios, cinamon and covered in a sugery honey syrup. Generally shredded pistachios are on the top.

#10 Lokum (Turkish Delight)

The jello-like colourful cubes that have a very strong sugary taste.

It is made from a gel of starch and sugar. It often contains pieces of fruits (like dates, for instance...), pieces of pistachios, walnuts etc.

These are widely known in the Balkans as well.

#11 Rakı

The Rakı is a strong alcohol-containing drink. Generally has a concentration above 50 %. So that you know... it's very easy to get drunk.

#12 Aslan Sütü

Essentially a mix of rakı, small pieces of ice and water.

Consider it a diluted (lighter) version of the rakı alcohol drink, which can be great when having a major meal.

More photos of various foods that I had come across unintentionally...

The sweets bank

The sweets bank

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Gems of sweets

The gems of alluring sweets... just like at a museum!

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Turkish delight

Industrial quantities of Turkish Delight

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Plenty of sugar

Plenty of sugar. Not for those with diabetes.

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Just a kebab wrap

Just a humble kebab wrap. Small, less spicy than its Western counterparts.

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Escape Hunter

About the Author:

Escape Hunter, the young solo traveler in his early 30's explores the World driven by curiosity, thirst for adventure, deep passion for beauty, love for freedom and diversity.
With a nuanced, even humorous approach to travel, an obsession for art and design, Escape Hunter prefers to travel slowly, in order to learn and "soak up" the local atmosphere...


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