October 9, 2015
Greetings from Istanbul! It’s time to vote again. (voting is closed)
Please consider these two dee-licious descriptions and vote.
Time to eat!
Balik Ekmek is a fish sandwich that EVERYONE says is a must-have when in Istanbul. For most of a century, fishermen brought their catch from the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmara to Istanbul’s Galata Bridge over the Golden Horn for sale.
A few enterprising boatmen had an idea: why not cook the fish right on the boat and offer it for sale freshly cooked? They built grills and fryers right in their boats, built fires in them, grilled fish fillets, stuffed them in half a loaf of bread, and handed the fish sandwiches from the boat to thousands of hungry, thrifty locals every day.
The ornate boats picture above are the most popular place to get Balik Ekmek. There are also a lot of street vendors with homemade grills and long queues, so my choices are many.
You can keep the bread, but I want the fish!
Donor Kebap is the ultimate classic Turkish dish. It’s like the Schwerma sandwiches we’re familiar with at home. Delectably thin slices of savory meat cut off of a turning, slow-roasting slab of layered lamb, beef or chicken (often a combination). Sometimes wrapped in pita, sometimes rolled in Aram bread. The added falafel, vegetables and sauces differ with every cook.
Donor shops proliferate the city. Many are considered fast food because they use prefabricated Donor “loaves.” Kinda like a big Turkish spam. Yag.
In my research there have only been a small number of Doner Kebap chefs who have received rave reviews. One of the better chefs does something remarkable. He layers fresh tomatoes, onions and peppers in between the succulent lamb filets (see photo below). His shop is just over the Galata Bridge, actually in the same neighborhood as the ornate boats selling Balik Ekmek.
Both choices are outstanding, so I will love you no matter what you vote! I’m hungry. Please vote.