My final post on Istanbul focuses on two of the aspects of Turkish food culture that I was really looking forward to enjoying: the incredibly fresh seafood and the historical markets. One of my favorite seafood dish was a sizzling shrimp casserole with mushrooms and onions, karides guvec. Julie and I tried it at many different places and each slight variation was still consistently comforting and flavorful. The sophisticated spicing reminds me of the Silk Road, intermingling tastes the Middle East and Europe with a touch of India.
At restaurant 360, we indulged in a fabulous view of the Istanbul skyline and its equally glittering Beautiful People. To start we had circassian cheese-stuffed calamari – the thought of squid and cheese together was intriguing, and was actually a winning combination.
In the Kumkapi district along the Sea of Marmara are some the city’s best fish restaurants with the freshest seafood in town – here’s today’s catch at Fener restaurant. The fat roundish dorades are a white fish that tastes like snapper.
Once in the spice bazaar (a maze of tunnel-like galleries of stalls and shops), all of the spices and teas and dried fruits and nuts you stuffed your face with are awaiting your suitcase for the trip home.
Everywhere you go as a tourist, you’ll be offered sweet and tart apple tea and beautiful blooming pomegranate tea. You can find both here along with maybe a hundred other kinds of tea that I’d never seen before.
And along with other treats, goodies and sweets – you can find all your favorite Turkish flavors here in the spice bazaar (mine were pomegranate, pistachios, and rose). The only thing that was missing was a Turkish cookbook to put it all together – luckily, I found a gorgeous and well-researched one right in the airport. Hopefully I can recreate some of the aromatic flavors of my favorite Turkish dishes and share them with you soon.