Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Istanbul Eats: A Serious Eater's Guide to the City

With a name and billing like this, who could resist?

Yesterday I had such fun: I led my first culinary walk for Istanbul Eats, a Guardian Travel Blog of the Month and a truly excellent website and source of information about all things foodie in Istanbul.
For me, this represents a new string to my foodie bow and I am looking forward to every minute of it.

The walk I have been inducted into is called Culinary Secrets of the Old City. The groups are deliberately kept small so yesterday towards 9.30am I met up with Helin and Josh, Jeremy and Oscar in front of  Yeni Camii next to the historical Spice Market/ Mısır Çarşısı in the old traditional area of Eminönü.

It was a beautiful day, seagulls swooping, sunny blue skies, just the right sort of day for a walk through the warren of colourful back streets and discovering their culinary delights.

my ferry arriving to take me to Eminönü

sights you will see along the way: dried peppers and eggplants

Of course not only do we discover but we EAT! The good news is that we only have tasters – unless we really like it! - quarter loaves stuffed with delectables here, a few baklava there,and all sorts of other typical Turkish street food washed down with glasses of çay along the way. The tour culminates with lunch in an excellent proper sit-down restaurant at around 1-1.30 pm.

you will sample the lightest of pides

It would be fair to say that you probably wouldn’t need dinner after this experience!

If I were a tourist in Istanbul, this tour would be an absolute must.
The likelihood of being able to find these little tucked-away places  on your own is slight, and even if you did, you would perhaps not be brave enough to order and sample like we do!  Let’s face it, trying the local food is yet another aspect of  discovering the rich history of this vibrant, sprawling city.
you will eat döner such as you have never eaten before

If you’re interested in experiencing something more than just the classic sights of Istanbul, amazing though they are, a culinary tour like this will enrich your stay immeasurably.
Helin and Josh, Jeremy and Oscar, I loved meeting you yesterday and hope that your holiday in Turkey continues to live up to expectations!
I especially appreciated the fact that you were up for everything and didn’t flinch even from grilled lambs’ intestines!
here they are: koköreç by any other name

Thanks so much for joining me on the Istanbul Eats Culinary Tour and for making my very first walk so truly memorable!