Culinary backstreets: Eating our way around the markets of Istanbul

Midye dolmaThere are many great things about Turkey but one of the biggest highlights is the food. Turkish cuisine is fresh and full of vegetables, spices, perfectly cooked meat and excellent fish. It can be tasty and quite healthy (though people with a sweet tooth and/or an appetite for all things greasy will find many things to their liking).

Every street of Istanbul is lined with dozens of eateries of all kinds,. Knowing this, we worried that we wouldn’t go to the right places during our short time in the city. Not wanting to miss out on any of the good stuff, we decided to book a food tour with Istanbul Eats/ Culinary Backstreets. Best idea ever!

Choosing which our food tour was tough as each of them seemed so interesting.Out of the four choices, we picked the ‘Two markets, two continents’ tour,which was going to bring us through the small fish  market in Karakoy, then on to Kadikoy on the Asian side of Istanbul. We didn’t  know what to expect, other than the fact that the reviews on TripAdvisor were beyond good (many people named this tour as the top experience of their trip).

Boy were they right. I won’t go into details about the tour itself, other than the fact that we spent a lovely day with two friendly couples and an excellent guide, Ugur. I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves. Keep in mind that we ate all of this over the course of 6 hours. It was a large amount of food but we couldn’t refuse anything and everything we tasted was excellent.

IMG_0249aistanbul culinary backstreets_kaymak

Kaymak (clotted cream)

istanbul culinary backstreets_simit

Simit (turkish bagel)

Restaurant tucked away in a building

Restaurant tucked away in a building

Pastirma (Turkish pastrami)

Pastirma (Turkish pastrami)

Karakoy Gulluoglu a legendary baklava bakery

Karakoy Gulluoglu a legendary baklava bakery

Serving midye dolma (stuffed mussels)

Serving midye dolma (stuffed mussels)

Fresh salmon

Fresh salmon

Fish at the market

Fish at the market

Fresh nuts, only the best ones available

Fresh nuts, only the best ones available

Fried sardines with lemon and arugula

Fried sardines with lemon and arugula

Mouth watering baklava

Mouth watering baklava

Turkish coffee

Turkish coffee

Lahmajun preparation, every employee has their specific step to follow

Lahmajun preparation, every employee has their specific step to follow

istanbul culinary backstreets_ayran

Ayran

istanbul culinary backstreets_lahmacun

If I remember correctly, this is called tantuni

If I remember correctly, this is called tantuni

Kokorec

Kokorec

Tripe soup with tons of garlic

Tripe soup with tons of garlic

Tel kadayif with Kaymak (shredded wheat, honey, pistachio, clotted cream)

Tel kadayif with Kaymak (shredded wheat, honey, pistachio, clotted cream)

istanbul culinary backstreets_grape leaves_

Meat borek

Meat borek

Cheese borek

Cheese borek

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2 thoughts on “Culinary backstreets: Eating our way around the markets of Istanbul

  1. kirsten

    Hey, we were on this same tour with you and your brother!! Also from Canada, if you recall, we lost all our pictures, you kindly emailed me some of yours…. well, we managed to retrieve some of them! Loved seeing your pictures and your write up here! Great memories, loved the tour too.

    Reply
    1. lapetitelea Post author

      Hi Kirsten! Of course I remember. I still have fond memories of the tour! A few weeks ago I hosted a turkish food party and made some of the recipes that we tasted on the tour. I couldn’t replicate them completely, but it was still a great success and I think I convinced my friends to go to Turkey one day!

      Reply

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