Turkey's food, tea and simit

These are the most popular street foods in Turkey

A list of the 10 most famous street foods in Turkey includes simit, fish sandwiches, stuffed mussels, roast potatoes, chestnuts or çiğ köfte.

The Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism has compiled a list of the most popular street foods that can be found throughout the country, highlighting some such as the famous simit, fish sandwiches, chestnuts, midye dolma (stuffed mussels) or kumpir (roast potatoes).

The list, compiled by the official Turkish tourism website goturkey.com and published this week in numerous Turkish media, includes the most typical and popular foods that can be found in streets, and is headed as it could not to be otherwise by the simit, which is described as a bagel bread covered with sesame seeds, and which is recommended to eat “alone or with cheese and a glass of tea.”

“In Istanbul, many people share this delicious snack with the seagulls while crossing the Bosphorus by ferry,” explains the website when talking about this popular but simple snack, considered by many as the national food of Turkey.

After simit, the second place on the list of most popular street foods is for the famous fresh fish sandwiches (taze balık sandviçleri), which many consider irresistible and an almost obligatory food if you are walking around Eminönü (Istanbul), while in In third place we find the roasted chestnuts (kestaneler), which we can find in any corner of each and every single city of Turkey, especially during the winter months.

The midye dolma (stuffed mussels), another irresistible food

It is followed in 4th place by tantuni, a kind of minced meat rolled with parsley, tomato, pepper and onion, native to Mersin, in southern Turkey; next we find on the list another irresistible “dish” of the street gastronomic culture of Turkey, the midye dolma (stuffed mussels), which are found in streets in any town by the sea. “Once you start, you may not be able to stop,” warns the web.

Roasted potatoes or kumpir, essential if one walks through the Istanbul’s neighbourhood of Ortaköy, occupy 6th place on the list: although all kinds of ingredients can be put inside, it is recommended to eat it with sausages, pickles, sweet corn and olives.

Also on this list of the most famous street foods is rice with chicken (tavuklu pilav), a classic in the popular cuisine of Turkey, and it is recommended to eat it accompanied by some pickles and a glass of ayran, a typical fresh drink made made from yogurt, and also very popular throughout the country.

Ayran, the perfect drink for every food

The 8th place on the list is occupied by çiğ köfte (raw meatballs), made from lamb or beef and a typical Anatolian dish since immemorial times; however, despite its name, it does not consist mainly of meat but of bulgur kneaded with minced onion to which tomato paste, spices, and very finely minced and fat-free meat are then added. Again, it is also recommended to consume it accompanied by ayran.

The penultimate place on the list is occupied by the buz üstünde taze badem (fresh almonds on ice): it is a typical aperitif in the hot months consisting of boiled and peeled fresh almonds, served on ice. Finally in the last position of the Top 10 of street foods we find şalgam (or şalgam suyu), a refreshing drink from southern Turkey that has been part of traditional Turkish cuisine since Ottoman times.

In fact, the origin of the most popular street foods in Turkey is found in many cases in the Ottoman cuisine or – even further back in time – in the times when the Turks were a nomadic people who travelled along the steppes of Asia on horseback . “In each city, you can find street flavors that are unique to that region… Turkey offers delicious delicacies that will satisfy your appetite,” says the website … And there is little more to add to that.