Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar is famous for being the biggest covered market in the world. If you want to experience delightful Turkish cuisine, I highly recommend that you book a food tour with Culinary Back Streets.I’m excited to share with you the wonderful experience I had with Culinary Backstreets Food Tour Istanbul
Meeting with Sanem of Culinary Back Street
Sanem of Culinary Back Streets met us by the Train Station. It’s great to have a guide because you are sure that you can make the most out of your trip.
While we were there, she showed us around and we looked with awe at the beautiful mosaic tiles that decorated the station.
As we made our way to the Grand Bazaar, she used the time to strike up some interesting conversation.
It turns out that she knew the people who toured us in the Culinary Backstreet in Tbilisi. She also shared some details about how she grew up in Istanbul. She even talked about the chai guys who knew everything you wanted to know about the place.
On a side note, she also explained why they don’t drink Turkish coffee with their first meal. Perhaps because it is too strong for breakfast, which by the way, is considered to be the most important meal for the locals. That’s why they put a lot of effort into making it the most filling and satisfying.
Grand Bazaar in Istanbul
When we arrived at the Grand Bazaar, she took us to the surrounding places and she shared fascinating information about the different architectures we saw. We also explored the Back Streets later.
The architectures surrounding the Grand Bazaar are incredibly diverse because of the History of Istanbul. The city experienced so many exchanges of powers that too many people have had influences on the buildings.
Sanem showed us how organized the markets are surrounding the Grand Bazaar – the sections are segregated according to the products they sell.
For example, there is a bag section, a shoe section, a clothes section, a wedding section, etc.
So back in the day when tailor-made items were still the trend, you could simply walk through the sections and collect all the items you need.
Say, if you wanted to have tailor-made pants for you, you can collect your zipper, buttons, and cloth, then you can simply bring these to your tailor.
What an efficient market it is!
I was also amazed when Sanem explained about hanhs! She said that there were many Hanhs during the caravan season because that is where the majority of the trading takes place. She was even gracious to show us her favorite Hanhs and they were absolutely lovely!
Afterward, we had an awesome breakfast w/ tea inside the train station.
We had Kaymak the cream which is buffalo milk cream sweetened with honey and is often served with pastrami. Also, we had a taste of the popular Simit, which is a thick bagel that only has a slightly sweet taste to it, making it suitable for dips and spreads.
In addition, we also tried Kasar cheese, Rosem Jam, Zahter oregano, sooked olive oil, Ezme bel pepper taste, and Cay Tea.
After breakfast, we explored some more and she showed us a place where home-cooked meals are served.
Afterward, we tried Börek pastry and Baby ocra dried soup. I really loved the dried soup that had a bit of lemon flavor to it. They usually serve this for weddings. At first, I thought it tasted like gumbo in New Orleans, but I like this better.
I also tried, Cağ kebabı( lamb kebap from Erzurum city) and Pide from Konya and black sea. The Pide is what Turks call their own version of pizza. I also had the pleasure of tasting Kokoreç, which is the common Turkish street food composed of grilled intestines filled with sweetbreads. The Kebap from the city of Urfa and Turkish ice cream with trileçe were also delicious.
Of course, the experience wouldn’t be complete without their signature Turkish coffee.
I ate a lot that day and I enjoyed every minute!
While we were eating, Sanem showed us around some more. And I can remember clearly how beautiful the view was from Kubbe Istanbul, from where you can see the scenery on the side of both Europe and Asia.
So the full day I spent with Sanem was incredibly fulfilling. I learned so many things and I even tried two kebabs that were very different from each other!
I’m sure you too will have a wonderful and enriching experience with Culinary Backstreets in Istanbul!
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