Travel Tips


Istanbul's Street Food:

A Delicious Off-the-Menu Adventure

Introduction to Istanbul Street Food

With its crossroads location between Europe and Asia, Istanbul is a true melting pot of cuisines and flavors. Much of the most authentic and tasty food is served not in restaurants, but from the city's bustling street stalls, markets, and mobile food carts. Venturing beyond hotel buffets to sample Istanbul's street food provides an edible education into Turkey's diverse culinary traditions. Follow along for highlights of the city's can't-miss street bites and where to track them down.

Favorites of the Spice Bazaar

Istanbul's Spice Bazaar lives up to its name, overflowing with vibrant pyramids of sumac, dried chilies, and cured fruits and nuts. But don't overlook the incredible street food stalls lining its perimeter. Grab a piping hot bowl of kokoreç, grilled lamb intestines wrapped around spices and offal, for true Turkish street food at its finest. Those with a sweet tooth will love stopping by one of the bazaar's lokum shops for indulgent Turkish delight.

Meat-Full Meals near the Grand Bazaar

After visiting the historic Spice Bazaar, head over to the equally famous Grand Bazaar to peruse its thousands of shops selling handcrafted wares, vibrant textiles, jewelry, and more. Once you've had your fill of shopping, wander the streets around the bazaar for a taste of authentic Istanbul street food. Grab a tangy fish sandwich called balık ekmek from one of the vendors near the docks, taking in the sights and sounds of the ferries coming and going. Or try the melt-in-your-mouth kebabs at popular Sur Ocakbaşı, known for perfectly grilled meats served with pilaf rice, salad, and grilled tomatoes on the side. Don't miss out on the delicious sweets like baklava, Turkish delight, and flaky börek pastries, sold by street peddlers and shops throughout the area. Sampling these iconic street foods will give you a true taste of daily life in Istanbul.

Go Nuts for Snacks Along İstiklal Street

One of the best areas in Istanbul to sample delicious street food is along İstiklal Street in the lively Beyoğlu district. Take a stroll down this pedestrian thoroughfare and its side alleys to discover an array of snacks and flavors. Stop to try SIMIT, the classic Turkish bagel coated in sesame seeds, sold by street vendors carrying baskets of the freshly baked rings. You can also find locals lining up at pudding shops to enjoy creamy, rice-based kazan dibi served warm from the oven. For on-the-go snacks, opt for roasted chestnuts or nohut - crunchy chickpeas sold from carts throughout the area. And don't miss the chance to recharge with a refreshing glass of şalgam suyu, a salty sour carrot juice that perfectly complements İstiklal Street's endless snacks.

Fish Sandwiches and Streetside Tea in Kadikoy

On the Asian side of Istanbul, Kadikoy's crowded food markets and harbor stalls showcase regional specialties. Munch on a balik ekmek, or fish sandwich, as you watch the ferries come and go – just be sure to squeeze some lemon on it! Sample the finest Turkish tea from Çay Iskelesi, a vintage tea shop with tables spilling onto the sidewalk. And save room for the osmanli mutfağı, a sweet pudding of milk, mastic, and sugar found at street dessert vendors throughout the bustling district.

Late Night Street Meals in Ortaköy

As night falls over the Bosphorus River, the Ortaköy neighborhood comes alive. Musicians, shopping stalls. Street food vendors serve hungry crowds until the early morning hours, making Ortaköy the perfect spot for late night bites. Fill up on a döner kebab sandwich, watch whip up creamy maras dondurma ice cream, or fortify with a warming bowl of işkembe çorbası, tripe soup loaded with lemon and spices. With its cornucopia of food, music and people watching, Ortaköy offers a quintessential taste of Istanbul after dark.


Whether it's a quick snack between sights or a full meal on the go, sampling authentic street fare is an essential part of experiencing Istanbul's dynamic food culture. As this culinary tour shows, the options for tasty street bites across the city are practically endless. So leave the hotel restaurant behind, dive headfirst into Istanbul's street stalls, and enjoy the rich variety this crossroads city offers.


Things you need to know to enrich

your travel experience


Top trends and news. Learn more about the passion that Powers a Superior Living!


Check In