7 Street Foods You Need to Try When Visiting Istanbul

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With its location on the edge of both Asia and Europe, Istanbul's food scene is a culinary melting pot of various cuisines that have come together to form the unique delicious eats found on the streets of the city. Cheap and delicious, the amount of mouthwatering food here is endless - you're gonna want an empty stomach when you land.

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7 Street Foods You Need to Try When Visiting Istanbul:table of contents

Lahmacun

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A kind of Turkish pizza, Lahmacun is a comfort food you can't miss out on when visiting the metropolis of Istanbul. You'll find them everywhere from street vendors to high-end restaurants. Using a flatbread similar to the dough of pizza, the bread is smeared with a filling of minced meat, vegetables, spices and herbs and baked in an oven at high heat. After you've tried it this humble Turkish street food will definitely have you coming back for thirds and fourths.

Icli Kofte

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A kind of Turkish stuffed meatball, the 'shell' is made mostly from wheat bulgur with a delicious filling of minced meat, onions and spices. A perfect snack for on the go, these pockets of joy are usually boiled rather than deep-fried, meaning they're not only delicious but also reasonably healthy. For some of the best of these snacks in the city head to Sabırtaşı Restoran, who've been making them for aeons.

Iskender Kebap

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A delicious marriage of tomato sauce poured over thin, tender slices of seasoned beef and lamb, served over traditional pide bread with a healthy dollop of yogurt on the side. It won't be hard to come across this popular dish during your stay in Turkey. A specialty of the Bursa region where it was invented by Iskender Efendi in the early part of the 19th century, it can now be found all across the globe, but of course is still best enjoyed in its motherland.

Doner Kebab

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The perfect food to soak up an alcohol-induced evening, traveling around Turkey and not trying the ubiquitous doner kebab is just not done. You might have tried it abroad, but as you might expect it just tastes better in its country of origin. For the non-initiated, the doner is a made of de-boned meat packed onto a spit roast and slowly cooked until it melts in your mouth. The meat is shaved off with a special knife and usually stuffed into bread of some kind along with fresh vegetables.

Kokorec

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Not for the faint-hearted, but those who do gather a little courage try it often fall in love at first bite. Kokorec is made up of goat intestines and various offal that are mixed with spices, herbs and often tomatoes and peppers before being grilled and then chopped up. The resulting mix is usually stuffed inside a piece of bread, which is perfect for soaking up the delicious fattiness of the grilled offal.

Balik Ekmek

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Simplicity at its best, balik ekmek is fresh grilled fish that's put in a sandwich with vegetables such as onions and tomatoes. Usually using mackerel, you'll find vendors selling it all over the city but avoid the tourist spots and try it at a fish market instead such as Karaköy for the most delicious offering of this delectable fish sandwich.

Kumpir

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You may have tried baked potato before, but when you try the Turkish version, you'll never want to go back. This street food is found all over the city, where piping hot potatoes are stuffed full of, pretty much whatever you fancy, from kebab meat to an array of colorful vegetables. Be warned however, they might look small but these loaded potatoes are filling, one is usually enough, two is carbageddon.

Conclusion

With a long history of serving meals to those on the go, if street food is your thing then Istanbul is one of the best places you can head to in the world, its food scene has developed over centuries, influenced by all kinds of cultures.

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