Food in Istanbul

Food in Istanbul

Some details you should know about food in Istanbul.


Written by Anastasiya Skliarenko

Voiced by Vera Sokolova

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Food in Istanbul

One can talk endlessly about Turkish cuisine and I personally didn't expect it to be of such a good quality. The case is that the Ukrainians in Turkey normally spend their time in resort cities, like Antalya or Kemer where they prefer an extremely popular all-inclusive service, that's why it's rather difficult for them to differentiate between the local cuisine and the European one. But if you are an independent traveler having big choice of food, you can form your own opinion on the issue.

After arriving to Istanbul at around 8 p.m. and checking in at the hotel we were pretty hungry and decided to find a place to have dinner and spend some time in the evening. And the point of our destination was a bustling street called Istiklal.

It's an elegant pedestrian street housing music stores, bookstores, art galleries, cinemas, theatres, libraries, cafés, pubs, night clubs with live music, chocolateries and finally restaurants.

So practically you can do and buy anything there. And food is not an exception. Having wandered for a while we stopped at the so-called Turkish fast-food restaurant called “Ramiz”. Looking at the menu (thanks God it had pictures of already cooked dishes) we realized that we were at the right place. The restaurant offered a set of traditional Turkish beef kebabs (that I was dying to try) with a lot of green vegetables and culinary herbs, some sweets and drinks. What we especially liked was big choice of salads, which you could make yourself by putting any ingredient of your choice on the plate. The meat tasted heavenly, which for me was of first importance.

Another peculiarity, a bit surprising for us, was that meat was served with yoghurt. It complemented the dish (who could have thought?) and made its taste rather unusual at first. But you are getting used to it in no time. At the end of the meal we were more than satisfied and definitely not hungry. Out first culinary choice turned out to be a good one.

It is worth mentioning that in Turkey they serve either beef or lamb. So if you are not fond of the latter (as I am) be sure to specify the kind of meet you want to be cooked for your dinner.

Later even bigger “food” discoveries were waiting for us. And this time I mean pastries. Of course that can be a separate topic at all, but I am still eager to tell you that if you have a sweet tooth, Turkey is a paradise for you. After tasting all kinds of baklava, Turkish delight, halva, revani (a sweet cake made of cooked semolina and soaked in syrup, sometimes with coconut) and various puddings you will be in seventh heaven. I would like to stop in greater detail on baklava, cause before visiting Turkey the only baklava I had eaten was a multi-layered crispy sweet pastry sprinkled with sugar powder. This type of baklava is usually sold in the south of our country. I was pleasantly surprised to find it absolutely different in the former Ottoman Empire. The outer look and taste differ from our Ukrainian one as well. Turkish baklava is never crispy and is sweetened with syrup and honey. It simply melts in your mouth. One more thing is that whenever I tasted baklava it was always stuffed with pistachio nuts which made it even more delicious.

Turkey being a country of which three sides are surrounded by sea has been a fish paradise for years. That's why seafood restaurants can be found at every corner in Istanbul. Popular choices of fish include sea bass, sardines, squid, prawns, groupers and others. If you want to try everything at once, my advice is to take a made dish consisting of 6-7 kinds of fish and seafood.

Food in Istanbul. Vocabulary.

  • cuisine – a characteristic manner or style of preparing food – кухня, питание
  • resort city – a city frequented by people for relaxation or recreation – курортный город
  • independent traveler – a person who organizes things himself, rather than using a company who will arrange flights, hotels etc. – независимый путешественник
  • to form your own opinion – to have your own point of view on some issue/problem – сформировать собственное мнение
  • point of destination – the point at which the final course from the point of departure ends – пункт назначения
  • bustling – busy, noisy – суетливый, переполненный
  • chocolaterie – is a business which both manufactures chocolate confections and sells them, at the same location; небольшой магазин – фабрика, где производится и продается шоколад
  • kebab – a dish consisting of small pieces of meat, tomatoes, onions, etc., threaded onto skewers and grilled, generally over charcoal – кебаб
  • culinary herbs – plants which are used to cook with, in dished and salads – кулинарные травы
  • to be of first importance – to be very important – важнее всего
  • in no time – very quickly – мгновенно, моментально
  • to be worth mentioning – important enough to comment – заслуживать внимания
  • pastry – dough or paste consisting primarily of flour, water, and shortening that is baked and often used as a crust for foods such as pies and tarts; baked sweet foods – кондитерские изделия
  • to have a sweet tooth – to desire to eat many sweet foods-especially candy and pastries – быть сладкоежкой
  • baklava – а dessert made of paper-thin layers of pastry, chopped nuts, and honey – пахлава
  • Turkish delight – a candy usually consisting of jellylike cubes covered with powdered sugar – рахат-лукум
  • halva – a confection of Turkish origin, made chiefly of ground sesame seeds and honey – халва
  • revani – a sweet cake made of cooked semolina and soaked in syrup, sometimes with coconut – ревани
  • semolina – the large hard grains of wheat left after flour has been bolted, used for puddings, soups, etc – манная крупа
  • soaked – to immerse in liquid for a period of time – вымоченный
  • to be in seventh heaven – to be in a state of great enjoyment and satisfaction – быть на седьмом небе
  • crispy – firm but easily broken or crumbled – хрустящий
  • to melt in your mouth – to be very, very tender – таять во рту
  • sea bass – морской окунь, сибас
  • sardine – сардина
  • squid – кальмар
  • prawn – креветка
  • grouper – групер, разновидность морского окуня
  • made dish – a dish consisting of a number of different ingredients – блюдо-ассорти