Flavors of Istanbul

Flavors of Istanbul

 

Turkish Chai - Beautiful, Gorgeous, Amazing flavor
 
It was love at first sip. Served in a tulip shaped glass on a small plate with sugar cubes. It is consumed without milk. It seemed like a very important part of turkish culture. Wherever we went, in shops, supermarkets, hotel lobby, everywhere, everyone was having tea. Most of the tea is cultivated on the black sea coast. I bought 8 packets of tea, but on reaching back I realized that turkish chai is not made the usual way. It requires 2 stacked kettles called çayadanlik to prepare, although the method is quite easy.
Each time, holding the cup of crimson turkish tea in my hand gave me immense warmth and comfort.
 
 
Kumpir - Never knew a potato could taste so good
 
A delight for vegetarians who visit Istanbul. Amazing comfort food for me. Ortaköy was full of Kumpir stands. When we ordered for a portion of Kumpir, we were given a slip with toppings and check-boxes. There were many options to choose from - sausages, green olives, black olives, olive paste, mayonnaise,pickles, different sauces and many more. I chose some. What we got was a huge potato loaded with toppings of our choice. 
 Simply Delectable.
 
                                                             
Kebabs
 
There are many different types of kebabs which are made of chicken, lamb, beef. They are served with meze - grilled tomatoes, jalapenos, eggplant, fresh herbs, dips, and breads. Breads occupy a significant place in the diets of turkish people.
Some popular kebabs are Adana and Urfa kebabs. They are made of beef and lamb. Doner kebab is a popular street food. Its a full meal. The meat is roasted vertically on a skewer. The shavings of the meat are served with bread.
 
 
Stuffed Mussels
 
For me mussels are exotic food, however in Istanbul, its sold on the streets. I remember getting absolutely excited on spotting a hawker selling mussels on Istikal street. And something that astonished me further was that one stuffed mussel costed 1 TLR. Awesome. I had 2. They are served with a lime wedge and they are absolutely tasty. 
 
 
Baklava
 
Its a rich dessert made from layers of filo pastry, filled with nuts, sweetened with sugar syrup. Fresh baklava tastes far better than the packaged one.
This super rich and luscious turkish dessert definitely qualifies to be the food of sultans. 
A must try!!
 
 
Salep - A glass full of comfort in winters
 
Its a hot, sweet and thickened milk drink. It reminded me of the saffron and turmeric milk in India, but it was actually quite different from that. Its main ingredient is the flour made from the tubers of orchids. its served with powdered cinnamon.
 It was late at night and it was freezing. I spotted a hawker selling salep. A few people surrounded him. I think its the drink of winters in Istanbul.