Monday, 14 November 2011

Istanbul, it's all about the food

The first time we stayed in Istanbul we struggled to feed ourselves anything remotely edible, this time it was hard to stop eating. The difference was all in the area we stayed in. If you stay in the old part near the mosques you will be subjected to tourist pap and little else, unless you are on an unlimited budget. This time we were located away from the tourist attraction, more centrally where local people lived and worked. The difference was immense, with amazing cake shops and copious cafes selling a far broader range of traditional foods, not just kebabs but casseroles and soups and salads.
We were spoilt for choice.
We also discovered that in the smaller cafes you could order small plates like tapas and have them brought to the table and top up as and when, until you were full, the most expensive plate came in at around £3.50 so hardly busting the budget. In fact we spent very little by using public transport and eating this way.
My favourite cafes were out of the main fray down side streets, where the locals eat, and the locals all seemed to eat out, there appeared to be no such thing as a packed lunch. My favourite time to photograph was just as they were getting ready for lunch, the calm for the storm.

I started to seek out the smaller cafes, with their slightly retro air and hotch potch interior design

The really urban cafes would have bags of bread on each table to help yourself to, and best of all a sink or hygiene wipes to clean your hands before and after you've eaten, real Turks only use a fork plus bread to eat with! Looking back at the photographs this is something I would like to have spent longer on photographing.

Everything is washed down with tea, copious bucket loads of tea, it's consumed throughout the day, I missed more than anything the chance to have my food with a glass of wine, not a single drop passed my lips all holiday, I can live without it, but I must confess I find life a little duller.


lin said...

I love your Istanbul posts - Turkey is a country I very much want to spend weeks in. When I visit very touristy countries I enjoy staying away from where the main attractions are, even if it means it's quite challenging and overwhelming sometimes.

indigo16 said...

Lin, Turkey is a very rewarding country to vist if a little overwhelming sometimes, but we are lucky in having many friends and relatives there which makes it easier to explore the lesser known areas.