Istanbul's Unforgettable Street Delicacies from Kokorec to Chestnut

  • 06 April 2023

Istanbul's Street Delicacies: From Kokorec to Chestnut

Eating at a delicate restaurant is a great experience, but nothing beats the aroma of street delicacies that suddenly makes you crave food while wandering around the streets of a city. Istanbul has an indisputable variety of street delicacies that make it one of the most gourmet cities in the world. In this article, we take a short walk through the unique streets of Istanbul and discover the most iconic tastes that are unforgettable once experienced. Here are Istanbul's street delicacies that are not only delicious but also popular and nostalgic.

A Familiar Flavor: Street Food Chickpea and Rice

Although chickpeas and rice are commonly cooked at home, the flavor of the one on the street is never the same. Especially when combined with chicken, chickpea, chicken, and rice make for a special treat. To get the most out of this flavor, we recommend trying it from a rice wagon and ordering ayran, a yogurt-based drink, to complement it.

Haunting Taste: Kokorec

Kokorec, one of the most characteristic dishes of Turkish cuisine, is one of the first things that come to mind when it comes to Istanbul's street delicacies. You can find this flavor in food wagons, snack bars, and restaurants.

Kokorec is made from calf or lamb meat. The small and large bowels are skewered and cooked by rotating. After cooking the meat, spices such as black pepper, chili pepper, thyme, and salt are added. The meat is finely chopped and served on half or quarter-size bread, depending on your preference. Pickles go well with kokorec; ordering ayran or pickle juice will make it the best Istanbul street delicacy. To taste the best kokorec in Istanbul, head to the towns of Çengelköy or Kadıköy.

With Plenty of Toppings: Ortaköy Kumpir

Baked potatoes, butter, and kashar cheese make for an unbeatable trio. Kumpir is prepared by cutting a baked potato in half and blending the inside with kashar, salt, and butter. Adding a colorful salad, appetizer, and garniture enhances the flavor. This dish has a stable place among Istanbul's street delicacies, and the best place to try it is Ortaköy. Get your kumpir prepared with your favorite toppings, and enjoy eating it while taking in the fragrant seaside air.

Warm and Sincere: Simit

Simit is the most popular Istanbul street delicacy for its nostalgic associations and flavor. It's virtually the savior of moments of hunger while walking on the crowded streets of Istanbul. A well-steeped tea complements it perfectly.

The crispy simit has a unique attraction when it's fresh out of the oven and smoking hot. The best simit in Istanbul can easily be found with sellers on food wagons at squares, town markets, or side streets.

Scenery Companion: Fish Sandwich

We can't talk about Istanbul's street delicacies without mentioning the excellently smelling fish sandwich. With onions, greens, and soft bread, this unforgettable taste attracts the attention of both Istanbulites and local and foreign tourists. Karaköy and Eminönü are heaven when it comes to fish sandwiches. The smell of fish sandwiches cooked on boats will make you stop in your tracks, and you can suddenly find yourself eating a fish sandwich while enjoying the sea view.

Even Its Smell Is Enough: Roasted Chestnut

The unique smell of roasted chestnut is enough to make you say "I am in Istanbul!" This street delicacy is a must-try during your Istanbul trips, especially in winter.

An unforgettable experience: Turkish ice cream

Turkish ice cream, also known as "dondurma," is not only a delicious dessert but also a unique experience that adds to the charm of Istanbul's street food scene. What sets Turkish ice cream apart is its unique texture and the way it is served. The ice cream is stretchy and chewy due to the use of salep, a type of flour made from the root of a wild orchid. And the way it is served is also an experience in itself: the ice cream vendor will often play tricks and jokes on the customers as they try to grab their cone or cup of ice cream.

One of the best places to try Turkish ice cream in Istanbul is the famous Ali Usta Dondurma shop in the district of Kadikoy. Be prepared for a fun experience as the vendor teases you while you try to grab your ice cream!

Final Thoughts

Istanbul's street delicacies offer a unique culinary experience that should not be missed. From the familiar taste of chickpeas and rice to the haunting flavor of kokorec, from the warm and sincere simit to the scenery companion fish sandwich, from the irresistible stuffed mussels to the unforgettable experience of Turkish ice cream, Istanbul's street food scene has something for everyone.

So, next time you're in Istanbul, make sure to hit the streets and try some of these iconic street delicacies. Not only will you be treating your taste buds to an explosion of flavors, but you'll also be immersing yourself in the city's rich culture and traditions. Enjoy!