We have been eyeing the street carts on our excursions for a while. After a night of thorough reading of Rick Steve’s guide for Istanbul, specifically marking down all the street foods we want to try. We set out bright and early.
Then we set out across the bosphorus river to the Asian side of Istanbul, a more authentic corner of the city devoid of aggressive merchants found in the Grand Bazaar. The local markets were just opening and with merchants starting to setup their displays. We found delicious dolmas- rice and vegetables wrapped in grape leaves, and mussels stuffed with rice for a mid-morning snack before returning to the old city for lunch.
It took us a long time traversing through the back streets, coordinating with GPS and reading street signs to find THE spot – a tiny restaurant that serves up roasted whole head of lamb – complete with brain, tongue, cheek and eyeball. The spices were simple, with a prominent hit of cumin (my favourite spice of all time) and the meat roasted to perfection. Seeing how much i liked the dish, the adorable chef brought out the heads on a large roasting rod for me to see.
Food memory of the city continues: from delectable marshmallowy turkish delights, to freshly squeezed pom juice, to aromatic apple tea, and the bitter turkish coffee etc. A city visit is not complete without a taste of culinary hidden gems found in its narrow alleyways and backstreets. Here’s to the next journey.
- fish sandwich: found on the old city side of Gelata Bridge
- roasted head of lamb: somewhere in old city
- spice market and grand bazaar: old city, practice bargain skills