Istanbul Street Food
Nelson @ Istanbul: Almost everywhere you go throughout the city there are street vendors hawking street food. When we there in October by far the most popular item is mısır, which is corn. It is typically boiled (sut misir, which translates directly to milk corn) but we saw some grilled (köz) versions as well. The prices ranged from 50 TL to 2.50 TL. Just walking a few meters away from the one in front of the Blue Mosque saved us 50TL. We saw the 50 TL cart in a really remote area of town.
Without knowing any better we tried a boiled one. The corn itself is not like the one we eat in North America, but one that is hard almost gelatin-like and starchy. It may have been overcooked since it just sits in a pot of water and salted when removed. I didn't like it much, but perhaps the grilled one may have tasted better.
Apparently corn is popular in the summer, but Kestane (roasted chestnuts) become more popular in the winter. We just happened to go at a time when both were available. The chestnuts cost 5 TL per 100 grams. They all have a scale to measure it out. They tasted really good in comparison. They come really hot and nicely precracked so that it is easy to eat. They must be really popular in the winter.
We also tried Simit, which is a crisp circular shaped bread covered in sesame. Inside was smidge of goat cheese just enough to provide it some taste. They also seemed to be popular since almost every corner sold them.
Lastly, while we were lost in some random lower income neighbourhood I was getting hungry and popped into a store to pick up some bread. At first I was hoping that there would be something inside, but sadly there wasn't. Can't complain for 50 TL after all (about a quarter).
Turkey has a really strong street food culture. I wish I had the chance to try more!
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