Hello I’m travelling to istanbul next week (from 22 to 28 August) and I want to spend less money, so I’m looking for where to find low cost food, far from expensive restaurants.
Street food in Istanbul is not only inexpensive, but also really amazing. I lived in Sarıyer for five months and would pick a street kabob stand over a restaurant chain any day. Restaurants are expensive in the Historic district, so look for street vendors on corners or markets. Also, check out istanbuleats.com for the insiders scoop on inexpensive, authentic Turkish food!
First of all you have to remember that you are landing at one of the tastiest countries on the globe.
The Turks bring their old nomadic tradition from central Asia, which means meats mostly served as kebabs - which means various ways of frying it on coals. The variety is superb and it's always delicious. Needless to say that since Turks are Muslims you will never see pork or anything that is not halal. I guess that is important for you, have no worries.
Just the same they have the culinary traditions coming from the Sultans' kitchens. Again superb sophisticated food based on excellent meats and fresh products- vegetables...
Okay, once established that you are going to have delicious food while in Istanbul, let's talk about cheap options. The cheapest option is of course to eat on the street - street food. The Doner Kebab served on the streets is usualy clean, delicious and quite cheap. You will find those Doner stalls at every touristic corner - at the Grand Bazaar, near the Sultanahmet Square (- the Imperial Hill) and of course around Taksim Square and Istiklal Caddesi street.
Second option is those local faimly restaurants. They look simple, yet the food is always tasty and fresh. It's really not rocket science to spot them, you will recognize them right away and you will love their variety.... The nice thing is that they are not exclusive just to markets.. you will find them even on Istiklal Caddesi which is quite central.
There is only one warning though I must mention - I've been to Istanbul more than 15 times. The only time I got quite a bad stomach problem was when I decided to try touristic food at an international chain (won't mention which it was). Conclusion - eat local food, enjoy it with the local folks an you are in for a real nice experience.
Post by Meir Jacob, founder of Trips for Photographers.
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