I always wanted to visit Istanbul. I fell in love with the city even before we met in December.
It is one of the best cities I ever visited and I did visit few (Paris, London, New York…). Istanbul is of a magical beauty and exceptional history.
For a city that sits on two continents, a city that was the capital of the world for the Romans, Byzantine and Ottomans , being a trove of delights and succulent food is a no surprise.
So if you ever visit Istanbul and I strongly advise you to, here is a not so complete list of what you must taste and experience there.
During my stay in Istanbul, after a long day of playing the tourist and strolling the streets, there was nothing like the coffee break.
The Turkish coffee (Turk Kahvesi) is nothing like the Americanised chain coffees, it is a way of life, it all started in the beginning of the 16th century when Kahvesi meant much more in the Ottoman cultural life than simply something to drink.
It is not that hard to find this unique dark pleasure across Istanbul. Every restaurant and café serves Kahvesi.
Coffee sets and coffee are great souvenirs and gifts from Istanbul.
- Turk Lokumu
“Hard candy! I’m tired of hard candy!” the sultan growled as he cracked a tooth on yet another sourball. “I demand soft candy!”
That is how the story of Lokum began.
They are served with Turkish coffee and you can also buy them from the spice bazaar , the grand bazaar and shops around the city.
My favourite is the Lokum with pistachios and flavoured with rosewater.
Kunefe is a sweet salty dessert typical to the regions belonging to the former Ottoman empire. It is made with shredded filo pastry filled with semi soft cheese and soaked with sugar syrup. And topped with chopped pistachios.
Kunefe is an absolute pleasure, an excellent dessert to try.
- Baklava & Kadayif
For anyone with a sweet tooth, Istanbul is heaven especially the old city, the Sultanahmet area.
Baklava and Kadayif are the finest exemple of the turkish dessert passion.
My first night in Istanbul, my friends took me out for dinner. I asked them to choose for me. Basically I sat there and I was fed huge amount of food. My main was a kebab, of course.
Grilled lamb meat served with grilled green peppers and grilled tomatoes. HEAVEN!
Another heritage from the Ottoman empire, kebab is very popular in Istanbul and it is everywhere and for every taste. Whether you like meat, fish or vegetables, there is always a kebap for you.
- Mercimek corbasi
If your Turkish language is as good as mine, I have probably to mention that Mercimek corbasi means Lentil soup.
This classic, well loved Turkish dish kept me warm while strolling the streets of Istanbul in cold December.
It was a first for me but I loved it so much that I made it when I went back home.
It is healthy, hearty and delicious.
This is the Turkish version of pizza, a thin dough topped with spiced minced lamb and diced peppers, dressed with parsley and served with lemon juice. You roll it up and yum!
It is definitely one of the most delicious things I tasted in Istanbul.
You also need to try the Manti, the pomegranate juice, rice pudding, oh I can never list everything you need to taste in Istanbul.
So yeah, if you did not visit Istanbul yet, go ahead and book that holiday.
It is a gorgeous city, the architecture is stunning and the food…Did I tell you about the food there?
The cook inside me