A video guide for Istanbul, about how to get where, costs, and how to spend your precious time in this beautiful city. Please note that prices are subject to change, we will try to update as much as possible here in the description, but you can also check the websites underneath. At the time of filming the exchange rates were: 1 US$ : 2.86 TL 1 Euro :3.26 TL As of January 2017, the exchange rates are 1 US$ : 3.62 TL 1 Euro :3.84 TL As of November 2018, the exchange rates are 1 US$ : 5.50 TL 1 Euro :6.25 TL This is god news for visitors, as Turkish Lira prices are mostly unchanged, or changed very little. You can check the following links for additional information on the subjects covered in this video: Museum Pass Official Website : http://www.muzekart.com/en/museum-pass/about_27.html Timetables, maps and everything for public transport : http://www.ulasim.istanbul/en Topkapı Museum official site: http://topkapisarayi.gov.tr Hagia Sophia Museum : http://ayasofyamuzesi.gov.tr/en Archeology Museum : http://www.istanbularkeoloji.gov.tr Places appearing in the video: Istanbul Bookstore: http://www.istanbulkitapcisi.com/magaza/ Barba Vasilis Rum Meyhanesi : http://barbavasilis.com/en/barbavasilis-istanbul-greek-taverna/ Sultanahmet Köftecisi : http://www.sultanahmetkoftesi.com Hotel Troya Balat : http://www.troyahotelbalat.com/ Karadeniz Pidecisi : http://www.karadenizpide.com.tr/ Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi : http://www.mehmetefendi.com/eng/pages/index.html Secret Food Tours Istanbul: https://www.secretfoodtours.com/istanbul/
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Turkish sticky ice-creams, or Maraş Dondurması, is believed to have originated in the southeastern city of Turkey, Maraş. The stickiness comes from the special ingredient called "salep", which comes from a type of orchid widely found in Maraş. A good Maraş ice-cream should be made from goat's milk, but it is probably very difficult to find such. wikipedia : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dondurma
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This is a new invention of the 90's. The best place to eat it is Ortaköy in Istanbul, right next to the Bosphorus Bridge, but you can find it anywhere around the city sold at their peculiar stalls. We do not recommend you to do what Zoe did, foryour own health, be a little bit more restrained when you are in front of those colorful mezes and salads.
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Yes, alll this food was for this small cup of coffee :)) Now all the items in this breakfast deserve special explanation, but since there is no space, we will just give the names. Standard Breakfast : "White Cheese"; in turkish literally "beyaz peynir", is the most common type of cheese in Turkey, and the backbone of Turkish breakfast. A good white cheese should be fatty. Black Tea; must be served in those "thin waist" glasses, otherwise the taste is radically different. (it is true) Olives are also indispensable in Turkish breakfast, in a typical shop you can find tens of types of olives. Tomatoes and cucumbers, nowadays available yearround. Big Turkish Breakfast: Aged Kaşar, İsli Çerkez cheese, otlu peynir, (herb cheeese), tahin-pekmez (molass and tahini), helvas, dried nuts, pastirma, süzme yoğurt (thick yoghurt), jams, ezme, bal-kaymak (honey and thick mik cream), menemen (omelette with vegetables), sucuk, börek, tulum cheese, and finally Turkish coffee.
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This is a special street food in that, it is made famous mostly by the tourists visiting Istanbul. The origin of this street food is Bosphorus, which was very very rich in tasty fish varieties once, and "Boğaz Palamudu" was the variety used in fish&bread. However when it became a luxury, imported fishes started to be used, and fish&bread continued to stay affordable. It is always served with lots of onions, this vendor used red pepper also, but this is not normal and it does not go well with fish. Tell the vendor to remove the inside of the bread as Zoe did, so that you will better get the taste of the fish : "ekmeğin içini alır mısınız?"
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Fresh fruit is always in abundance in Turkey because of the country’s diverse geography.
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Cag Kebap, is probably the ancestor of döner, and now it is a rarity, found in very small number of shops in Istanbul. The difference from döner is that the skewer is horizontal, and when sevicing, the meats are sliced thicker. The taste is considerably different too, it is more like shish kebap rather than döner. But it is very tasty ))
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If you are in a hurry, then your breakfast is likely to be a "börek" rather than a full Turkish breakfast, which are flaky doughs layered on top of each other and filled with typically cheese, spinach, potatoes or minced meat. It comes in different shapes and cooking methods, almost all of them are baked in the oven, but one of the most popular varieties, "su böreği", is first boiled and then baked. Börek shops are very common, in addition to dedicated börek shops, almost all pastry shops have börek as well, but interestingly the tastiest böreks are sold in baklava shops. Chain börek shops are also good.
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Please note that you should order only one at a time of those desserts, this video was for demonstration purposes only )) Turkish cuisine has a whole section devoted to milky desserts, and these are traditionally sold in special shops called "muhallebici", even though recently "muhallebici"s broadened their menus to include other desserts and foods. "Tavukgöğsü" dessert may scare people away, but in most shops it is prepared without chicken, and normally the chicken is very little and negligible in the overall taste anyway. You may find other varieties of "sütlaç" (rice pudding) in other shops, but insist on finding the one which is baked in the oven. It will look different with its crusty top as in the picture, and you will find that the taste is much much better than a typical rice pudding you might eat at home. This video was filmed at "Saray Muhallebicisi" at its historic place at Istiklal Street, famous for introducing "tavukgöğsü" to the public, but now has many branches all over Istanbul. wikipedia tavukgöğsü : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tavuk_g%C3%B6%C4%9Fs%C3%BC
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Döner is probably the most known Turkish street food. It is made of meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie. As the price of meat skyrocketed recently, Turks invented the chicken variety, and this is the most common variety you will find, however the original doner is made of beef slices laid on top of each other. A little amount of minced meat is used, about 20%, more than that would make the döner low quality, and this is the type of döner you will find in super-cheap shops, some of them big chains. As a rule of thumb, if the döner is cooked on charcoal fire, you have found a good döner shop.
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The most classical street food of Istanbul, simit is simply dough soaked in grape molass before being covered with sesames and baked in preferably firewood oven. A good simit should be crispy, tough it will be difficult to find such in the street. Every Turkish town probably has its own variant of "simit". Classically sold only in the bakeries and street vendors, recently there emerged shops all over the country, specializing in simit and other pastries. Simit and çay has been the typical lunch of poor working class Turks for decades. The current price is around 1 Lira. wikipedia article : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simit
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You'll mostly find two basic types of this food. Urfa and Adana, named after two cities in the south where they originated. Adana variety is hotter, Urfa is not so much, but still a little bit hot. A good şiş kebap, is prepared from basicly beef, and lamb meat and lamb fat.
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Coffee was introduced to West through Turkey, and was the primary drink in the country until 1900's when the Ottoman Empire collapsed, and it became expensive to procure. At this point it was replaced by tea. Even tough Turkey is number one tea consumer in the world today, coffee still has symbolic importance, it is like a must to serve coffee in important meetings and after big dinners. Altough filtered and espresso type coffees spread in Turkey recently, under the influence of western culture and international chains, turkish coffee can still be found in most restaurants, cafes, shops and all houses. wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_coffee
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In Turkey, kokoreç is usually prepared by wrapping sheep intestines on sheep fat and then roasting on a skewer. It is always served with lots of spices, black pepper, red pepper etc. and tomatoes, pickles which can be opted out. You can also ask for the inside part of the bread to be removed, so that only the crust will remain. Just say "ekmeğin içini alır mısınız?" for this. Better known shops should be preferred. One link is below. http://www.galakokorec.com/subeler.php wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kokoretsi
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Originally a raw meat dish, "çiğ köfte" is now found in thousands of small shops around Istanbul and Turkey, in vegetarian form, because of food safety regulations. In its meat version, the meat is kneaded for hours with the "bulgur" during which it slowly cooks. In the vegetarian version, the bulgur is still the main ingredient, flavored by various spices and vegetables, and it is expected that çiğ köfte will be little bit hot. It is probably the most common street food in Turkey now, even ahead of "simit". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%87i%C4%9F_k%C3%B6fte
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"Tost" in Turkish means two slices of bread, usually a special kind of bread for this purpose, toasted with something inside in between, and 80% of the case, this is "kaşar" cheese. "Tost" is the classical street food, together with "simit", and it is sold everywhere, from grocery stores to restaurants, but most commonly in special fast food shops such as this one, called "büfe". Unfortunately büfe owners economize too much on cheese, so it is a good idea to order to order your tost with double cheese, "çifte kaşarlı". The quality varies, if you find a good shop, the classical "kaşarlı tost" is the tastiest one.
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"Dried Beans and Pilav with Chikpeas". If there was a survey, probably this couple would come first among favorite foods of Turks. We couldn't seperate them so we sticked with that title, but in fact dried beans is not a street food. Pilav is commonly sold by street vendors in small carts together with chicken meat, but if you wanted to find them together, then you can drop by any Turkish restaurant or "esnaf lokantası" where working people regularly eat. wikipedia pilav : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilaf wikipedia kuru fasulye : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuru_fasulye
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You can find "Turşu suyu" or "Pickle Juice" by street vendors as well as the pickle shops, near big crowds like football matches, demonstrations etc. Tursu Suyu is a surprising snack/beverage made from pickled vegetables and pickle brine. http://www.thekitchn.com/not-your-typical-juice-tursu-s-129200
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Chestnuts and corns are actually foods from opposite seasons, chestnuts are winter fruits, and corns become ripe at the end of summer naturally. You can find them any season nowadays thanks to freezers, but we recommend eating them in season. Chestnuts are a very valuable delicacy, they usually come from forests around Marmara, and sell rather expensive, 6 Liras for 100 grams at this vendor. Corns are cheap, 1 or 2 Liras at most, but the varieties sold nowadays usually are extremely tasteless, "industrial" type corns, grown probably as animal food. Tasty corns are from heirloom seeds, and the difference is visually obvious : The grains are same size and orderly in industrial types, whereas it is just the opposite in the organic traditional corns. They are highly recommended.
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"Sarma", together with its cousin "dolma", is considered one of national foods Turkey, and is the favorite food of many households. When it is "sarma", it is usually cabbage or vine leaves filled with rice, pine nuts, herbs and spices and cooked with olive oil. When minced meat is added, the name usually turns to "dolma", and it is always eaten hot rather than hot or cold as in sarma. "Dolma" is also used for stuffed vegetables, usually zucchinis and eggplants, and they are equally popular among Turkish folk. Preparing sarma is extremely labor intensive, so it is not found in most restaurants, except ones specializing in home-food, but cooking it well such that the rice grains do not stick to each other is even more difficult, and finding such a restaurant is "news" such that you may spread among your friends.
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Turkey is comprised of many geographic regions, each having its own cuisine and specialties. Among those, the triangle of Adana-Antakya-Antep is probably the richest in the country, and also the favorite of many people by and large. In this restaurant in Kadıköy Çarşı, (link below) zahter salatası, tabbule, içli-köfte, sembek, ayvalı kebap, kuru patlıcan dolması, mücver were on the table. http://www.ciya.com.tr/
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Lahmacun is a round, thin piece of dough topped with minced meat (most commonly beef or lamb), minced vegetables and herbs including onions, tomatoes and parsley, and spices such as cayenne pepper, paprika, cumin and cinnamon, then baked. Lahmacun is often served with ayran or şalgam and wrapped around vegetables, including pickles, tomatoes, peppers, onions, lettuce, and roasted eggplant. This is what wikipedia says, and it is true )) Lahmacun spread in Istanbul in the last twenty years, it was not a common streetfod before. Nowadays it is found in most kebap restaurants, and some chains which specialize in this street food.
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Even though it is supposed that pide spread from the north of Turkey, nowadays pide restaurants, "pideci"s are one of the most common restaurants in Istanbul (and Turkey). You are likely to find in the same restaurants milky desserts, such as "sütlaç" which are also common in the Black Sea region of Turkey, so you may end your meal with them. The word "pide" in Turkish is used both for the bread itself, without toppings, and with toppings (or fillings). So, depending on the restaurant you may order your pide "açık", which is literally "open" as in the film, or "kapalı", literally "closed", meaning the canoe shaped variant when the bread is filled in with stuff, usually minced meat. There are three types that are popular; - "kıymalı", means minced meat - "ıspanaklı", means with spinach, may also include cheese - "peynirli sucuklu, pastırmalı..." , means with cheese and sucuk, pastirma and probably vegetables, primarily green pepper. Sucuk and pastırma are Turkish sausage varieties. The servant may also ask whether you prefer an egg on the top, (yumurtalı mı?), and unless you are very fond of eggs, prefer one without eggs, so that you will better enjoy the taste of pide itself. The cheese variety used most commonly is "kaşar", but in more authentic restaurants, as in the film, you may also come accross "Trabzon cheese". The Italian "pizza" most probably originates from the same word "pita" as pide has originated, and has arrived Italy by way of Arab or Greek influence from the south of Italy to Naples. However the tastes are substantially different, both because of the cheeses used, "kaşar" is saltier and more fatty than mozzarella, and the bread, pide is thicker and fluffier.
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"Köfte" is one of the flagships of Turkish cuisine, and according to a private study, (link below), there are 291 kinds of "köfte" in Turkey, and this may be an underestimation. Actually even this famous restaurant at Sultanahmet, has created its own type of köfte, "Sultanahmet Köftesi". Köfte is the more popular way of consuming meat in Turkey, (rather than steak for example), and when consumed as a fast food, "köfte ekmek", "köfte and bread" is the equivalent of hamburger of the West. When not consumed as a fast food, it has become customary to eat it with "piyaz" as in the film, which is boiled dried beans, onions and some salad. There is a horde of ways of cooking köfte, but most commonly Turkish köfte contains 25% lamb, 75% beef and fat, spices and bread as the binding element. 291köftes in Turkey : http://www.haber7.com/yasam/haber/79587-turkiyede-291-cesit-kofte-var
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