Eat or not to eat?!
In Istanbul – eat, no doubt! Food is essential in Turkey. I have tried to experience different tastes of Turkish cuisine and not been disappointed once. I have been tempted to taste local street food – eating grilled corn and drinking sahlep on Sultanahmet Square; have been eating at countless restaurants and cafes, enjoying picnics in the courtyard of Süleymaniye mosque and on the shore of Bosphorus. Still, I am very sorry that I have not been able to participate at iftar during Ramazan. But that day will come, that´s for sure.
Actually, my absolute first experience with real Turkish food was on a conference dinner in Istanbul, near Topkapi palace. The dinner venue was luxurious and so was the food. Six courses and my gastrointestinal tract was totally overloaded. The best of Turkish kitchen was presented at this dinner and, of course, I could not resist. My poor stomach… and foolish me… It resulted with a 2-days diet – only tea, no food. Such a thing can easily happen when you are curious about newly discovered tastes. Now I am smarter, just order a little.
Another unforgettable memory of fantastic food is connected to Canim Cigerim and liver. Yes, simply grilled lamb liver! Tender, delicate and mouthwatering. Accompanied by thin flatbread, grilled onions, tomatoes, parsley, peppermint, rucola, ezme salad – a mix made of tomatoes, red pepper and onion. Heavenly simple and tasty meal. That was our first serious meal in Istanbul together with my dear friend Kaire. We won´t forget that! Canim Cigerim you´ll find in Beyoglu, near Istiklal. We found this place thanks to some local guidance.
Can´t keep myself from telling you what kind of food I like to eat while I´m in Istanbul.
I´m rather fond of pide (so-called turkish pizza, but its not quite the same idea). Its a thin boat-shaped bread with different fillings or toppings – meat, cheese or vegetables. Baked in oven, served hot and sliced up. Pide is enough for a light lunch but also goes for a proper evening meal. Mmmm! Delicious, I´m afraid…
What else I like besides pide and liver? Stuffed vegetables, fresh simit, cheese, sarma, dolmas, beans (yes, beans in tomato sauce and white bread!), lamb, lentil soup, pilaf, Iskender kebap, sigara böregi (turkish cigar pastry), helva, ayran etc, etc. Everything can´t be listed here…
If you happen to explore Kadiköy and if you are looking for interesting, little extraordinary food, check out Ciya restaurant. I got this tip from Özgür. Ciya is a food temple. One can find high quality authentic Turkish regional dishes there. But also dishes from nearby regions/countries. Present day and history. Very priceworthy as well, as I discovered. There I had Perde pilavi (drape pilaf), and some kind of pumpkin dessert with tahini paste (unfortunately I don´t remember the name of the dessert). I´ll give this place 20 points of 10.
Now, I´d like to summarize this post by giving you a recipy of my own. My recipy for eating good food in Istanbul is very simple. I just stroll on the streets of Istanbul and pop in small local eateries, try out different dishes or mezes, drink lot of Turkish tea. And check out Istanbuleats.com
Good food… This is life! Isn´t it?!