One of the most enjoyable ways of tasting the best Istanbul has to offer is to work your way around the city snacking on the incredible street food, sold from carts and trays at street corners and other likely spots. This can be as simple as raw almonds on ice, but there are far more elaborate and substantial dishes available. From the new Rough Guide to Istanbul, here are five – some more adventurous than others – that you should try.


This typical Turkish breakfast food is sold on practically every street corner. Similar to a bagel, but covered in sesame seeds, it’s particularly good with white cheese.

Simit, Istanbul, Turkey

Çiğ Köfte

These patties of kneaded bulgur wheat, stained orange by the hot pepper paste that is one of their chief constituents, are served wrapped in a flat bread with salad, pomegranate concentrate and spicy sauce.

Cig Kofte, Istanbul, Turkeyphoto credit: Cig Kofte via photopin (license)

Midye Dolması

These mussels that have been cooked and stuffed with an aromatic spiced rice mixture are a favourite of many on their way home after too many drinks. they cost around ̈1 each and the vendor will continue to serve them to you until you say stop, before counting the shells to tot up the bill (note that midye are best avoided during the hot summer months).

Midye Dolması, Istanbul, Turkey

Tavuklu Pilavı

Served from glass containers on wheelable carts, this delicious buttery rice, studded with chickpeas, comes with or without shredded chicken and usually served with a sprinkling of black pepper and a glass of ayran.

Restaurant, Sultanahmet, Turkeyphoto credit: Turkish restaurant in Sultanahmet via photopin (license)


Not for the squeamish, this carnivorous treat is actually sheep’s intestines wrapped around other bits of offal, before being grilled over charcoals that are wheeled around the backstreets of Taksim. it is then finely chopped, and mixed with spices and salad before being served in bread.

Kokorec, Istanbul, Turkeyphoto credit: Gala Kokorec in besiktas istanbul via photopin (license)

rough guide istanbul cover


Explore more of Istanbul with the Rough Guide to Istanbul. Compare flights, book hostels and hotels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go. 

Leave comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *.