One of the most enjoyable ways of tasting the best Istanbul has to offer is to work your way around the city snacking on the incredible street food, sold from carts and trays at street corners and other likely spots. This can be as simple as raw almonds on ice, but there are far more elaborate and substantial dishes available. From the new Rough Guide to Istanbul, here are five – some more adventurous than others – that you should try.

Simit

This typical Turkish breakfast food is sold on practically every street corner. Similar to a bagel, but covered in sesame seeds, it’s particularly good with white cheese.

Simit, Istanbul, Turkey

Çiğ Köfte

These patties of kneaded bulgur wheat, stained orange by the hot pepper paste that is one of their chief constituents, are served wrapped in a flat bread with salad, pomegranate concentrate and spicy sauce.

Cig Kofte, Istanbul, Turkeyphoto credit: Cig Kofte via photopin (license)

Midye Dolması

These mussels that have been cooked and stuffed with an aromatic spiced rice mixture are a favourite of many on their way home after too many drinks. they cost around ̈1 each and the vendor will continue to serve them to you until you say stop, before counting the shells to tot up the bill (note that midye are best avoided during the hot summer months).

Midye Dolması, Istanbul, Turkey

Tavuklu Pilavı

Served from glass containers on wheelable carts, this delicious buttery rice, studded with chickpeas, comes with or without shredded chicken and usually served with a sprinkling of black pepper and a glass of ayran.

Restaurant, Sultanahmet, Turkeyphoto credit: Turkish restaurant in Sultanahmet via photopin (license)

Kokoreç

Not for the squeamish, this carnivorous treat is actually sheep’s intestines wrapped around other bits of offal, before being grilled over charcoals that are wheeled around the backstreets of Taksim. it is then finely chopped, and mixed with spices and salad before being served in bread.

Kokorec, Istanbul, Turkeyphoto credit: Gala Kokorec in besiktas istanbul via photopin (license)

 

Explore more of Istanbul with the Rough Guide to Istanbul. Compare flightsbook hostels and hotels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go. 

Share

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

chevron_leftPrevious feature
How Africa became the new music festival destination

How Africa became the new music festival destination

Next featurechevron_right
This Greek beach looks like it's on another planet

This Greek beach looks like it's on another planet

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Mandatory - can not be deselected. Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

PHPSESSID,aelia_cs_selected_currency,cookie_notice_accepted,RS,bp-message,bp-message-type,id,UIDR,w3tc_logged_out,__cfduid
__cfduid

Statistics

Statistic cookies help website owners to understand how visitors interact with websites by collecting and reporting information anonymously.

__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid,__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xt
__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid
__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xtc

Marketing

Marketing cookies are used to track visitors across websites. The intention is to display ads that are relevant and engaging for the individual user and thereby more valuable for publishers and third party advertisers.

__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID,__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll,c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs
__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID
__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll
c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs