Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Turkish street food

Turkey had some of the best street food that I've ever seen. Some of it I already knew I loved, some of it I was too afraid to eat, and some of it I only experienced by proxy, via my children.

You can't see the actual spit in this picture, but the rotating roast chicken that is sliced and placed into sandwiches is ubiquitous in Turkey. I actually like the taste of that stuff, but I got sick from it once in Syria and then I also saw a guy with a really hairy back (and no shirt) tending the spit one time and I haven't been able to eat it since. Too bad, since it is delicious and cheap.

One thing I did love was the also-ubiquitous watermelon. If anything keeps me from buying watermelon on a regular basis here at home, it's that I hate trying to find a good one, and then slicing it properly, and then cleaning up the mess and finding a place to store the leftovers. HASSLE. It was heaven to have these random Turkish dudes do all of that for me.

Roasted chestnuts, mmm. Who knew that was a real thing that existed outside of a song? These were more atmospherically appetizing when we were in Istanbul during the winter of 2004, but it turns out they taste pretty good on a warm summer evening, too.

Popcorn, cooked over a coal fire. Yum.

More watermelon.

We stumbled upon this guy one afternoon in Sultanahmet park, near the Blue Mosque. I asked him what the heck this stuff was, and he gave the girls a free sample. They were hooked, and we went back as often as could for the rest of the time we were there.

But guess what? I still don't really know what this stuff is. Some kind of taffy, maybe?

Fresh-squeezed orange juice.

Notice the wheeled cart on the right foreground. These carts were also everywhere - they sold some kind of ring-shaped sesame bread. They were cheap, but not super delicious. Maybe you have to get them fresh for them to be really good.

Turkish delight! A Narnia fan's dream come true.

Ice cream cones were a big hit, and in Istanbul at least, you could find them for one lira, which was fantastic.

Ugh, then there were these dreadful snack kiosks that sold many varieties of chips and creme-sandwich biscuits/cookies, and that's IT. I only grimace at the thought because there were too many times on our trip when this was the only food available. Still, these Hello Kitty chips were a nice break from the monotony - we only ever saw them at this one kiosk, and Magdalena couldn't stop talking about them.

More assorted food kiosks in Sultanahmet Park.

Ah, corn on the cob, boiled or roasted. This was a favorite of Miriam's.

Hooray for yummy street food!


Craig said...

How could you tell which street foods were safe to eat?

Crys said...

Hello Delish! I need to eat lunch or something, I'm dying here :) Magda's hair cracks me up in that picture. Gigi does the same stuff with her headbands...little girl plus headband = crazy hair!

Bridget said...

Well, the doener kebaps would have been the biggest risk (what with uncooked vegetables, mayo, and meat), but we didn't eat them. The watermelon was probably the next biggest risk, and I was nervous at first, but since you see them cut it open and slice it right in front of you, I figured it was probably ok.

The corn was fresh out of hot boiling water, so it was ok.

The candy worried me a little...but the girls ate it and didn't get sick, so. :)

Crys, yes, gotta love how these girls wear their headbands.

Jennifer said...

We lived off street food on my mission in Taiwan. YUM! However, the stuff you were eating is totally different and looks amazing. :)

Liz Johnson said...

I really love street food, almost anywhere. And that taffy thing looks so amazing. In Romania, they had these cheese-filled pastries on the street... oh man, I still have dreams about them.

Joana said...

We visited Turkey back in February (after we were evacuated Cairo actually!) and the food was great! I really loved Istanbul.

Anonymous said...

the one in the cart (circle bread with sesame seeds) is called SIMIT. i dont like simit that they sell in the cart either, but there are street sellers go around every morning in the neighbourhood shouting "SIMIT! SIMIT!", they are nice and warm. there are also special shop selling this (Simit Sarayi, etc) and they have different filling inside such as cheese, they are YUMMY!


Bridget said...

Yana, when I ate it, I could tell it was supposed to be good. I love sesame seeds and I liked the idea of the bread, but in reality it was too dry. If I could get a fresh one, I think I would love it.

Sherwood family said...

I was wondering what that colored stuff was! I was never brave enough to try it. Did you get any turkish doughnuts? They were my absolute favorite; we only ever saw them by the boat terminals.

Bridget said...

No, I don't recall seeing any Turkish donuts. Darn!

Rumy Erfa said...

Hey , I am a Türk :)
And Turkish food is very tasty. I think everyone should try to Turkish cuisine. Dolma (yaprak sarma) , Kebap , Mantı , pilav , kuru fasulye , börek... etc... :))


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