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The Hungry Nomad: Sweet & Savory Streets (Istanbul, Turkey)

January 30, 2011

Sweet & Savory Streets (Istanbul, Turkey)

Another great post from our resident blogger, Kim. Enjoy!

Surely I love a good restaurant as much any other girl. But sometimes the best treats can be found out there on the streets. Just imagine enjoying fresh ice cream while strolling in the summer sun or warming up on spicy hot cocoa on a crispy winter day. So when I went to Istanbul, of course I had to try all the Turkish on-the-go delights. 

It took a long time for me to open up to chestnuts, but on a cold cold day these hot roasted little treats are exactly what you might need to warm up and continue your adventurous walks around town. I have seen chestnuts stands from Northern Italy and Geneva to Athens and also in Istanbul people munch happily on chestnuts while out and about. Also, keep your eyes out for chestnut treats in coffee shops and restaurants as there are some seriously deliciously chestnut cakes and deserts to be found. 

A new discovery for me when I went to Turkey was fresh pomegranate juice. All around the city you may notice small coffee shops and kebab stands squeezing and selling orange & pomegranate juice to take away. Extremely refreshing, I love how it makes for a healthy change from sipping on (also very enjoyable) Turkish coffees and black teas.

Much less greasy than the varieties I have tasted in Greece, kebabs in Istanbul are a popular fast food. My favorite is the döner kebab with a thin pita, lamb meat, sour pickles and veggies (which you see in the picture), yum! Couple it with a pomegranate juice, relax on a bench and enjoy the bustle of the city around you.

Salep is a sweet and spicy drink which will definitely do you good on a rainy and chilly day. Originally made from the salep orchid, it is now usually made with hot milk, cinnamon and salep flavorings. You can see salep being sold by some traditionally dressed men pushing their carts and shouting "Hot Salep, hot salep!". A word of caution: Salep is extremely hot, so don't burn your tongue. 

Simit ("koulouri" in Greece) stands are present on every street corner in Istanbul. Considered breakfast by many in this neck of the woods, you almost can't go wrong with these simple bread rings sprinkled with sesame seeds.

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