Let me see… I went to a Palace that was not open today. I realized much too late that I forgot to replace the SD card into the camera so today’s photos were all taken using the phone. I climbed a VERY LONG flight of stairs followed by taking a VERY STEEP uphill walk that leads to nowhere just out of curiosity. I walked almost 1 kilometer and climbed two levels of stairs for 10 times, then walked 1 kilometer back just to buy a pair of jeans.
I think I did a lot of nothing today…
I’ll leave those nothings for more detailed posts in the future. Today’s update, I’m gonna show you my meals…
I was wandering along Istiklal Caddesi (some sort of high street in Beyoglu area) looking for dinner. But most of the restaurants that I saw, including those on the side alleyways, seem to be beyond my budget. 40 Liras might be US$ 13 (cheap) for you, but it’s RM 60 for me (fucking expensive).
And then as I was sleep deprived, I did not last very long before I felt myself going to collapse anytime soon. So I approached those pushcart vendors,
Grabbed a bit of everything from them, and headed straight back to the apartment.
You’ve already seen this on Instagram/Facebook.
These are basically the only things sold by the street vendors that I’ve seen so far. I think I’ve easily encountered over 100 different pushcarts throughout my walks so far, but the items they sell are either of these 3. So I consider these Istanbul Street Food’s Three Gems.
Kestane (10 TL for 150g) – Roasted Chestnuts. Simit (1.25 TL per piece) – Turkish Donuts/Pretzels covered in sesame seeds. Misir (3 TL per piece)- Corn, you can either have it boiled or roasted over coal fire like above.
All in all, I spent 14.25 TL (Turkish Liras) / RM 20 to fill my tummy and also to learn that Turkish street food is not for old people with weak teeth. The chestnuts and corn retains certain crunch in them, and the simit requires some strong gum strength to tear it apart when biting.
I noticed one thing from yesterday’s walk. There is a certain cafe chain called Simit Sarayi that exists in every street and every corner. Sarayi means Palace, so… Simit Palace?
I don’t know if this applies elsewhere or not, but here in this cafe chain, simit is not just donut shaped. It can be in any shape. As long as it is bread covered in sesame seed then it is a simit.
You’ve also seen this on Instagram/Facebook. Here’s what I got:
Boregi is flaky and resembles something that is made of puff pastry. I prefer this more than simit to be honest.
As I was seated and enjoying my breakfast, I noticed a lot of suit wearing and briefcase carrying people coming in, grabbing a piece of bread and a cup of drinks, and left. I presume they are the Turkish working class. So, I reckon this Simit Sarayi is sort of “where the Turkish locals really eat“… 🙄
At this point of time, I have already done close to 4 kilometers of uphill/downhill walking and climbing of stairs. I have just made it down from the Galata Tower and was totally famished. I basically just barged into the first restaurant that came into my sight. That’s how I found myself inside Ozturk Pide.
This is a small and neat restaurant. One thing I immediately liked about this restaurant is their menu. Their menu is basically a photo album. What you see is what you get.
Also, I spotted a coal fire oven in one corner of the restaurant, where a chef is busy making pizza and pide (Turkish pronunciation for pita bread).
Also, the restaurant was empty when I entered, but it quickly filled up to full capacity by the time I placed my orders. I think this restaurant must be good, and that I lucked out by being early.
Anyway, here’s what I ordered for drinks…
Do not be deceived by how “big” the cup is. Here, a better shot with more perspective…
A very small cup in fact, but this is one potent m****rf**ker! After finishing this coffee, my brain was quickly rejuvenated and ready!
And here’s my food…
Wait, let me turn the plate around…
I am slowly realizing that the myth of Turkish people eating only bread bread bread and meat meat meat is basically just that, a myth. In fact, I think they eat more vegetables than meat. Even with the kebab, only that stick of meat cooking is big, but the actual serving size is not that big, and the load of vegetables served together is easily much more overpowering.
I think the Turkish are eating healthier food than we do…
I wasn’t sure what to have today. I did not feel like heading back into the crazy chaos of a crowd that is Istiklal, so I wandered into another street adjacent to it. And then I came across this restaurant called Selvi Restaurant.
I was curious because instead of the usual kebab cooking on the store front, I spied many trays of dishes instead…
The place was also somewhat full so I think this must be another of those “what the locals really eat” place. Intrigued, I made my way inside.
Apparently, this is a self service restaurant where you pick the dishes you want and then pay accordingly before you eat. It is very much like our zhap fan (mixed rice), except the dishes are served on separate plates instead of a pile of mess.
The rice is called pilaf (rice cooked in seasoned broth). Then there’s grilled bittergourd and eggplant. Then there’s a meatball dish. And lastly there’s a salad dish. These four dishes came up to a total of 23 TL.
You might think that I am just randomly picking dishes. But no, I was not. I actually looked around and saw most people eating with dishes like this. And do you notice it is again 1 meat dish, but 2 vegetable dishes, together with rice? That’s what most people do, some of them replaced rice with bread.
From my dining experience today, I think all I can say is that, I thoroughly enjoyed my food. They are mostly new flavors that I have never had before, and they’re not nasty so I had no problems with that.
But I probably won’t be able to handle a prolonged stay and facing similar food for weeks. So far what I can see is that they only season their food as they think it should be (lightly) or not at all. Less seasoning = better health but less delicious too. That’s Malaysian for you… 🙄