Tuesday, February 11, 2014

6 Favorite Eats (and Drinks) In Istanbul

Istanbul, Turkey
I'm on a plane to Turkey today! The little red star in the picture above is where you'll find me.
As I'm getting ready for another buying trip in Istanbul, I'm reminded of all the things to love about this country, old friends to visit and shopping of course. However, sustenance is usually first on my mind and it starts as soon as I get on the plane. I love flying with Turkish Airlines. Lots of the men are over-cologned. The airline staff take their jobs seriously, like to look good and are usually friendly and efficient. But it's the sour cherry juice, the raki and the ayran that get me going. It is a part of getting into character! 

Raki Istanbul Turkey
Mmmmm….sipping on raki in Nevizade Soka, Instanbul.
This is a scene you will often see me repeating on visits to Turkey.
Raki, the non-sweet, anise-flavored national drink of Turkey, is typically enjoyed with meze, seafood, fruit and cheese. It's a clear alcoholic beverage that turns milky white when mixed with water and is also known as lion's milk. Time Magazine named raki one of the "top 10 ridiculously strong drinks" in 2010. There's a debate going on about changing the national drink in Turkey to ayran…okay, okay you non-drinkers can have balic without raki.

Kebabs Istanbul Turkey

This lovely guy at this particular kebab joint in the Grand Bazaar is always front and center, ever present with his smile. There are so many great places like this one, but when traveling in far-away lands, familiarity and routine make me feel a little bit more like a local. It's usually my first stop before hitting the Grand Bazaar to see what's new and trending in the marketplace.

Ayran Istanbul Turkey

Ayran is a yogurt-based drink that is served cold and mixed with salt. It's non-alcoholic, a bit similar to Indian lassi and is especially wonderful during hot summer months.

Turkey Stuffed Grape Leaves
Stuffed grape leaves are pretty familiar in the States these day, especially those who frequent Mediterranean restaurants. They even come prepackaged in various sizes, from snack tins to giant buffet-size tins. In Turkey, everyone does them a little bit differently. I love them rolled up tight and thin.

Turkey Kunefe

My picture doesn't do this cheese amazing pastry any justice, but k√ľnefe is my all-time favorite Turkish dessert. Made with fresh kadayif (similar to phyllo) and fresh cheese (as in made that day), k√ľnefe is best when served piping hot. 

Turkey Pide

Pidea flatbread similar to pita or pizza, is so delicious and it's a treat watching it be prepared. Toppings vary just like they do on western-style pizzas. And just like pizzas, they're best when prepared in a brick or stone oven. A Turkish fast food, pide is cheap and can be found sold in street carts.  

I'll be traveling for the rest of the month. Keep up with me on Instagram (@theloadedtrunk) to see more yummy food shots and sneak peeks of what I'm seeing at market.

And if you're hungry for more travel stories, check out some of my older posts….

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