Ortakoy street food
I mentioned it earlier in the semester, but one of the most magical things (to a college student) in Istanbul is the abundance of cheap, delicious street food. Some of it could kill you (don’t eat the mussels), but for the most part it’s safe and a fantastic pick-me-up that can be found on literally every corner.
By accident or on purpose, every neighborhood in Istanbul has unique types of street food. While something like simit can be found everywhere, fresh squeezed juice stands are particularly abundant in Kadiköy. Beşiktaş has a higher-than-average amount of honey balls. Turkish Delight- or really tourist’s delight- can be found in Sultanahmet among all the other touristy things. As for our neighborhood (Ortaköy), two particularly tasty treats are centered here: kumpir and waffles.
I haven’t yet had the pleasure of eating kumpir- I just never am in the mood when I’m in the area of all the shops. Kumpir is a baked potato stuffed with all sorts of imaginable fillings. I’ve seen beets, chicken, carrots, and all sorts of other things piled high, waiting for customers to give their orders. The potatoes are huge, which means it’s a full meal, and it’s cheap!
My personal favorite, however, are the waffles. The stands are right next to the kumpir (power of suggestion?), and for $15 lira, you get a dinner-sized portion of dessert. It’s a waffle, but covered in chocolate/hazelnut/vanilla/pistachio/strawberry sauce (your choice) and then rolled and stuffed with bananas, strawberries, kiwis, chocolate/vanilla chips, pistachios, walnuts, and/or whatever else your heart desires. You can make hundreds of combinations or let the chef decide for you. There’s no easy way to eat a stuffed waffle (the chocolate sauce goes everywhere) but it’s entirely worth the mess. Best of all, the stands are open late, so you can head down well after dark to see the bridge at night, and grab a waffle on the way by.