Friday, October 21, 2011

Istanbul - a feast for all the senses - Part 1

If the earth was a single state, Istanbul would be its capital
Napoleon Bonaparte
If one had but a single glance to give the world, one should gaze on Istanbul
Alphonse de Lamartine

Ever since we first went to Istanbul quite some years ago and "did" the sights (Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, The Cisterns, The Grand Bazaar etc.) we fell in love with this wonderful, amazing, vibrant, lively, energetic, overwhelming town. So back we went, this time concentrating on exploring the street life and culinary wonders of Istanbul. As you can see above, Istanbul greeted us with pouring rain and very low temperatures, so we had to adjust our program somewhat, looking as much as possible for shelter and warmth.
One adress that gave us both was Takanik Balik where we found all the delectable fish dishes I had just seen on Anthony Bourdains "No Reservations". You will find these fun and very watchable episodes on YouTube when you google "Anthony Bourdain Istanbul". But be warned: you will want to pack your bags and fly to Istanbul asap!

I don't think I have ever had mussels as good as these: stuffed with a very moreish mixture of rice and spices - there was some cinnamon in there and they are served at room tempearture.

And then there was Hamsi of course. These tiny Black Sea anchovy, known as the "little princes" of fish, were just coming into season and all along the Bosporus we saw men fishing for them. The way Hamsi are served couldn't be simpler - dusted with some flour and panfried - an absolute delicacy.


  1. Glad you enjoyed the hamsi here! Yum! So fun to meet you in person this week too!!

  2. Joy: Great meeting you, too - please stay tuned for the next Istanbul posting!

  3. Hmmm, it looks like you were in Istanbul at the same time as us. Just in time for the lovely weather! :) We were there for the marathon, same as last year so we knew to head straight for the hamsi as soon as we arrived! Yum.

  4. A diffent exotic world. I would like to go someday but I find it hard to get enough time just to come to Sablet as often as I would like. The food looks yummy. Thanks for sharing your memories.

  5. It was so much fun to have you here after meeting you in September! Pity the weather was so absolutely awful - the sun shone the very day after you left. Takanik is a great place - my daughter and SIL go there often. Did you try the fish soup?

  6. Claudia: Yes we did and liked it very much.