Food in Istanbul (Part 2)

Turkish Breakfast

This was served by the hotel as a standard breakfast fare, so I will be seeing this again for 2 more days.

Okay, yeah, this is probably the cheaper, toned down version of a Turkish Breakfast Platter. If you pay 40 TL (Turkish Liras) or more, the platter would be nicer, there would be simit, the cheese would be the fresh and more expensive type, etc. But heck, this one’s free, so…

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Turkish Breakfast Platter

Even better, breakfast is served on the terrace, with a view that would make any breakfast feels more enjoyable by 50%. This view…

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Sea of Marmara

Can’t say I enjoyed the breakfast a lot though, if we speak purely in terms of food. I don’t think an expensive, full fledged version would do better. I’m just not used to having cheese in blocks and olives for breakfast. Or for any meals

Anatolian Lunch

Remember I said I was going to cover the Sultanahmet area (Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia etc) yesterday and head over to the Asian side today? Well, I swapped my plan the moment I stepped out of the hotel. I wanted to visit Dolmabache Palace and they close on Thursdays. So I ended up hitting that palace, and then took a ferry ride across the Bosphorus to Kadikoy in Anatolian Turkey (Asian side) instead.

So I had lunch on one of the many side alleys just across the ferry terminal. Well, it was a restaurant that looked somewhat fancy and expensive. I needed to go somewhere where they at least speak a little English, so to speak.

Here’s how my Anatolian lunch in a fancy restaurant looks like…

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Black Mulberry Sherbet

Sherbet is a traditional Middle Eastern sweet drink. I thought this one tasted like a hybrid between a typical Chinese wolfberry drink and Ribena. It was very nice!

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Mumbar is stuffed intestines. In this case, stuffed lamb intestines. It might sound disgusting to some, but perfectly fine for me, someone who enjoys eating pig intestines. The intestines here are stuffed with minced lamb meat, rice, onions, red/green peppers, and cooked with spices. Oh the spiced gravy, it really does pack a punch, nothing like the toned down crap in touristy Sultanahmet. Excellent!

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Pumpkin dessert
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Rose tea

The pumpkin dessert and rose tea comes together as a dessert set. The dessert is basically a slab of dried pumpkin, filled with honey, and topped with a crushed nut sauce. The nut sauce reminds me of our kacang tumbuk (Malaysian peanut candy). It was sweet, very sweet, so they have tea to balance things out.

Total damage to the wallet? I spentΒ 39 TL for all these.

Touristy Dinner

I got back to the Sultanahmet area for some quickfire exploration of the bazaars. By quickfire I mean really quickfire. I spent 5 minutes in the Spice Bazaar and 15 minutes in the Grand Bazaar before deciding enough if enough. If you are a shopaholic you should most definitely come here, but I’m not and I don’t do crowds, so I won’t be coming back again.

Then it was time for dinner and to call it a day. Boy this area is really a giant tourist trap. Unlike in La Rambla where tourist trap means cheap but unauthentic food, here tourist trap means overpriced food.

This was dinner, in one such touristy restaurant…

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Eggplant Kebap

Yeah it looks nice and fancy, but it’s just one dish. And the portion only looks big because of close up. It’s one egg plant and 4 small meat patties with some other stuff. This eggplant kebap and a glass of water sets me back by 42 TL. That’s right, more than what I paid for a 2 course meal in Anatolia where water is complimentary.

Also I have to say, having stayed here and in Taksim previously, I can safely declare that if I ever come to Istanbul again, I will never opt for the Sultanahmet area again. I will stick to Taksim. I’ll explain further in due time…



  1. I am surprised to hear about their very expensive food and no chicken. I will have to eat beef or lamb la. I would get frustrated when I had difficulties to find the right food to eat even in China. I had problems with Chengdu where they ate mostly spicy hot Sichuan hot pots. Bluergh!

    I am okay with all your Turkish food so far. The pumpkin dessert is interesting and nice. This sweet thing goes well with coffee!

    • They do have chicken, but it is not that common compared to lamb and beef.

      I think there should be some Sichuan dishes that are not spicy, maybe next time you could go for those..

  2. The breakfast, I can only eat the egg and that puff pastry thing. I don’t like olives and I generally don’t like cheese (except cheddar). Your lunch looks better. It would be something I can stomach since I like intestines and I enjoy spices. I’m quite curious about the pumpkin. It does look very sweet with all that sauce going on. I like eggplant, so your dinner suits me. Eh, got raw onion πŸ˜€ So what did you do with it? πŸ˜€

    • That pumpkin is really sweet! Actually all Turkish desserts are sweet..

      I… (refer to my reply to Mun) ATE ALL THE ONIONS!! πŸ˜€

  3. The dinner is so expensivee ?. We never really ate at the Sultanahmet area, apart from snacks in the fancy cafe in front of Haga Sophia, a hidden restaurant in the Grand Bazaar and a cafe outside the Grand Bazaar for light breakfast.

    The expensive meals we had in Istanbul were all seafood based. I am still stumped on why.

    • I guess most locals don’t eat seafood, so they have to import to cater for tourists like us, hence they are so expensive πŸ™„ …


  4. I felt that Sultanahmet was touristy as a whole too. We ate there probably a couple of time when we were visiting the mosques and I remember it was all expensive okay food. The stuffed lamb intestine looks gross but sounds kind of yummy haha. And that breakfast looks kind of terrible :P. Oh! Once I went to a little cafe thing and just got simit with clotted cream and honey (not an entire breakfast platter) and that was pretty cheap. I looooove the clotted cream with fresh honey because I’ve never had that before. If you’ve never had that before and like sweet things, I’d try it!

    • I’m really disappointed with Sultanahmet to be honest. Now that I’ve experienced staying here, I think the only reason to come here is to visit the mosques and churches then get the hell out of this area ASAP.

      You love spices, so I think you will love these intestines. Just think of them as sausage casings! πŸ˜€

      Well, I have (pre-packaged) clotted cream, (pre-packaged) honey and blueberry jam. I actually don’t enjoy simit as I find it too tough to chew on. So I guess this terrible breakfast platter is fine for me πŸ™„ …

  5. I love to eat lamb so the stuffed lamb intestines should be ok for me except it is too fiery hot spicy burning so I wouldn’t be able to stand the pain in my mouth.

    The free breakfast looks good enough but too much cheese and butter and not enough bread, in fact I don’t see any bread at all except for something that looks like a puff pastry or croissant. The egg is half or hard boiled?

    No where else to eat except for tourists trap restaurants? Looks like a vegetarian meal with that big eggplant and big white onion. Did you eat all the big white onion? If yes your mother would be so proud of you.

    The eggplant, did you eat all its skin and chew properly? If you did but didn’t chew properly it will come out exactly like the skin, hehehe.

    • Oh there is a basket of bread for you to self-service. I did not take picture of the bread hahaha… The egg, I think they intended it to be half boiled, but probably sitting around for awhile in the kitchen, so it was almost hard boiled when we got them.

      Sultanahmet is a really touristy spot, so all the restaurants also somehow tweaked the food (AND PRICE) to cater for tourists. I have not found cheaper alternatives in this area as I dare not venture into too dodgy looking side alleys here. The people here are too “friendly”, everyone wants to be your new best friend and invites you for a beer with them, so it is safer to stay where there are more people. πŸ™„

      The white onion… err… I ate half of that half (meaning only quarter) YES I ATE THEM ALL! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

      I don’t remember if I chew the skin properly or not. Probably yes, I don’t remember swallowing the skin in full pieces. Anyway this morning nothing weird came out from my behind hahaha! πŸ˜€

  6. okay mah the standard breakfast that comes with your stay, no need to add 40TL for anything better lah.. save that for better lunch and dinner, like in your case.. indeed very interesting food i am seeing here, all very new to me.. i would probably not go for the intestines, and the pumpkin is very sweet?? better not ask for “kurang manis” as this may be an offence, haha..

    • How to kurang manis? The sweetness is from that slab of dried pumpkin itself. Cannot undo it one… hahaha! πŸ˜€

  7. Turkish food is interesting, but I guess u went to the wrong place…lOL! I remember last time I eat up a huge feast and only paid 80TL, but that was outskirt Istanbul, somewhere nearby airport.

  8. I tell you one thing. I don’t think I’ll visit Istanbul anytime soon as the food doesn’t intrigue me. My hubby and boys will cry a river looking at what you had!

    • Hahaha, your hubby can accept la, but your boys… gotta teach them to be more open minded weh… πŸ˜€

    • I don’t know if you can find it in Middle Eastern restaurants here. Apparently this Mumbar is a Anatolian food (Turkish). Maybe they will have something similar but named differently. πŸ™„

  9. Sounds like you’re really eating fancy. But you’re on holidays and everyone deserves a treat now and again πŸ™„ At first I thought the pumpkin dessert was a meat kind of dish. Looks quite similar to the intestines πŸ˜€

    • I can’t believe I spent so much on food, gosh!!! Need to tone it down today.

      I was shocked when I first saw the dessert too. I didn’t expect “pumpkin” to mean “dried pumpkin” to be honest. πŸ™„

      • Cannot be raw pumpkin right? must be cooked and then dried? Raw pumpkin would be super hard unless sliced into very thin slices.

            • Oh yes, I recall that name, and the picture looks similar. Should be that.

              Actually that slab of pumpkin had the texture of dried pumpkin, like those jeruk. Then they pump honey inside the slab as filling. So the middle is gooey with honey.

              You very interesting. Thought you not interested with going to Istanbul, ywt you spend the effort to research even their pumpkin dessert. Aiyo just go la…

              • I like to travel to places In my mind or travelling through your posts and read up more so I have an easier time no need to look for toilet and etc, hehehehe. πŸ™‚

                • How do you travel to places in your mind?? Cannot one la, imagination alone is not good, most of the time the reality is very different. 😐

                • Can travel in the mind to know the place and info. I agree that the reality is very different and that I mean in a bad way – jet lag, need to find toilet, weather acclimatisation, flights delay and etc. The only good thing about travel is get to eat the local food but then need to spend lots of money on the food too as our currency is low so for the time being, travel in my mind through other people’s blogs and reading up more about what they wrote about is good enough lah.

                • I agree with your point on spending lots of money. That’s probably our constant frustrations with being Malaysian when it comes to traveling. Things that could be US$ 5 or 10 are NOT cheap for us πŸ™ .. And I am someone who prioritize food over sightseeing. I could miss out on attractions, but if I am eating well then I’m happy.

  10. I opposite with Princess Ribbon, she loves lamb, but me, tried once only, that time, eat a bit, don’t like the taste, gave the reminding portion to my friend to eat…

    • In Turkey either lamb or beef. I don’t see a lot of chicken dishes around. So if you come here, good luck πŸ™„ ..

  11. Eiiii, the stuffed intestines look so unique, I can’t wait to try if I’m you..I love lamb, I love intestines, so yes, I love this.. That day, I saw stuffed pig’s blood in Astro (Axian’s show).. Sedap giler..

    • Pig’s blood how to stuffed? You mean intestines stuffed with pig’s blood? Er… that’s too hardcore even for me. I can eat them separately, but stuffed together seems.. err… hahaha! πŸ™„

      • I believe Princess Ribbon is talking about black pudding – a type of blood sausage stuffed with pork blood and other things and natural sausage casings are made from intestines. I have eaten black pudding when I was in UK, taste quite OK. You did not try this when you were in UK?

        • Hmm, I don’t remember trying it. But I think I know what you mean. Those black sausages are actually Eastern European type of food. But then, if that’s the case, should be not what Princess is saying. Axian’s program where got show European cuisine one? πŸ™„

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