Foods I ate in Istanbul

I love Turkish food. I don’t eat it as much anymore, but at my old house in Bishkek, we lived near several Turkish restaurants that we went to all the time. When I went to Istanbul last month, I knew I would enjoy eating as much Turkish food as I could. My week of eating in Istanbul can be summed up as a lot of seafood and dessert. Since Kyrgyzstan is landlocked, I wanted to take advantage of a nearby source of abundant and fresh seafood. And dessert because, duh, I love sweets.

scaled_0452 A typical Turkish breakfast, it’s pretty much the best thing ever. I ate some combination of bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, cheese, jams, honey and olives every morning and loved it. This might sound weird, but I have some strange feelings towards raw tomatoes (I refused to eat tomato products for a few years when I was a kid), but somehow, in Turkish Breakfast format, I love them.

scaled_0995 Little fried fishes, spritzed with lemon juice and eaten with bits of raw onion.

scaled_1088 This thing? Oh this thing was interesting. It’s chicken pudding. Basically, it’s a regular pudding, good enough on it’s own, but there’s finely shredded chicken breast mixed in. Why? I have no idea. It gives the dish a bit more heft, a thicker texture. It’s interesting and nowhere near as gross as you might think. It doesn’t taste like chicken at all.

scaled_1099 Don’t stare at it too closely or you’ll see all the bits of stringy chicken.

scaled_1165 Blocks of mashed white beans and a plate of roasted vegetables, covered in olive oil and herbs.

scaled_1166 Another wonderfully fresh fish. Bishkek has many things, but decent seafood is still hard to come by.

scaled_1237 Luckily I didn’t eat this monstrosity: a greasy, soggy burger filled with doner meat, sitting in a steaming display box all day that Farrell talked about wanting to eat all week. It’s probably awesome hangover food.

scaled_1299 Looking at these photos is really making me miss those desserts. A tower of crunchy pistachio rolls, dripping with syrup? Yes, please.

scaled_1300 And another bowl of pudding, this time without chicken. Still delicious though.

scaled_0965 Best find of the week, ice cream without those horrible, horrible server dudes. (None for Darwin, womp womp!)

Not pictured, all of the many many Turkish coffees I drank throughout the week.

I always make sure I eat well when I travel, what about you? What was your favorite food find in a new country?

7 replies on “Foods I ate in Istanbul”

  1. I love Turkish food too, particularly the sweets! Anything with pistachios. I’m not so sure about the chicken pudding, however.. I’ll take your word on that one. Darwin’s face and the ice cream is classic. You can see him thinking “I don’t even know what that is, BUT I WANT IT!”

  2. Chicken puding; probably the oldest dessert, same recipe from the byzantium time, only sugar i/o honey now.

  3. HA! Love the ‘Don’t look too closely…’ comment. I tried that chicken breast pudding while I was there, and never EVER would have guessed that there was meat inside. Tastes totally sweet and desserty. Weird.

    Aren’t those hamburgers called something particularly appetizing like ‘wet burgers’? The friend I was staying with said they were something you only ever at when very, very drunk and very, very senseless. I guess that adds up 😉

  4. I liked the pide. Loved the various versions of “aubergine” (eggplant). Wasn’t crazy about the breakfasts. I like toast better than bread. Scrambled eggs better than hard boiled. Not a big fan of raw cucumbers or olives. Everything was cold and unspicy – I guess I’m just a breakfast burrito kind of gal…

  5. I must admit, I am not a fan of Turkish food, other than the breakfasts and sweets. How does it compare with Kyrgyz food (which I”m not familiar with), in your opinion?

    1. There are a few Kyrgyz/Central Asian dishes that I like, but it’s very meat and starch-heavy in general. I think if I had to choose which cuisine I had to eat for the rest of my life, I’d choose Turkish. It’s more varied, in my opinion.

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