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Must-Eat Foods in Istanbul Put Down That Kebab; Try Something Different!

Famous for culinary variety, Istanbul is a gourmet's paradise. Laden with spices and flavors from Central Asia, the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and the Baltic, we challenge you to try some of the exquisite foods you may not yet know.

Freshly Made

We Istanbullians pride ourselves on food that is freshly made. At Hotel Büyük Keban, we are always advising our guests to go out and sample Istanbul's street food as a way to become familiar with local cuisine, with a proviso to “put down that kebab and try something different!” You can even order from our personal menu to enjoy the flavors of Istanbul in the comfort of your own room.

Meals on the Go

It is absolutely true that our way of life is dependent on the many snack shops or büfes you'll find in every neighborhood. Here are some of the most delicious and prized meals to sample, providing just the right touch for when you're on the go and need some sustenance to fire you up for hours of sightseeing:

Döners are ubiquitous and come from vertical spits holding beef, chicken, or lamb carved up and placed between bread with loads of salad, sheep cheese, and toppings. Try a Pilav Üstü Döner, an Iskender, or a Dürüm and you'll be more than satisfied.

Börek makes a marvelous light snack. Made from thin flaky sheets of dough filled with vegetables or minced meat and cheese, you can try ispanaklı börek filled with spinach, peynirli börek with cheese filling, kıymalı borek filled with minced meat, patatesli börek with potato filling, or a plain su böreği

Another flaky pastry food is pogaca, which is stuffed with cheese, minced meat, or black olives. It’s also delicious eaten plain.

Lahmacun is our Turkish-style pizza and usually comes with ground meat, pepper paste, onions, spices, and can be ordered with peppers and tomatoes. Served with salad and lemon, the locals roll it all up inside the pizza for a mouthwatering meal on the go.

Balık ekmek, otherwise known as fish bread, is a wonderful fast food meal consisting of grilled or fried fish that is stuffed inside bread. A great protein dish, this is a perfect meal for keeping your energy up, especially when followed by a Turkish coffee!

Simit is a ring-shaped roll covered with sesame seeds that you'll find everywhere you look. You can order them crisp (sokak simiti) or soft (pastane simiti) to sample a simple yet incredibly satisfying snack that makes the perfect breakfast or in-between meal. Açma has the same effect. This is a very savory bun that looks like a donut and is soft, a bit oily, and thoroughly delectable.

For those adventuresome spirits, order yourself a kokoreç, or grilled sheep intestines that are roasted with spices and placed on a skewer.  If you've had a bit too much to drink after a long night out, these babies will help you get right back on your feet!

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