Best Street Food in Istanbul, Turkey

If you have read our previous post on Turkey, you should know by now how deeply, madly, and crazily in love we are with Turkish food. It did not matter if we were dining at a posh restaurant or on the streets; we were constantly wowed by the mouth-watering flavours that came with the meals. The following is a list of the foods we've tried that are worthy of mention!

Read also: Galata Tower in Istanbul, Turkey

Table of Content

famous food in Istanbul Turkey
Best Street Food in Istanbul, Turkey

Best Street Food in Istanbul, Turkey


Often known as Turkish pizza, Lahmacun is an incredibly delicious dish made of thin dough covered with minced meat, onion, and red pepper mixture, then baked for just a short time and served hot. Get creative and add some lemon juice and parsley, roll it up into a wrap, and eat it with a cool glass of ayran. Almost every neighbourhood here has its own favourite lahmacun joint!

Lahmacun is a popular street food in Istanbul, Turkey


There are at least 30 different types of kebabs available in Turkey. Whichever direction you turn to face, you will see the juiciest, fattest stacks of meat being roasted to perfection on vertical rotisseries. And the smell, oh the smell - you will find yourself dancing merrily amid the fragrance. Accompanied with fresh tomatoes, onions, parsley, French fries, and traditional homemade condiments, this overly common roadside snack is both delicious and cheap.

Fun fact: Döner Kebab and İskender Kebab are both common and popular street food in Turkey.

turkish kebab
Kebab is a common street food in Istanbul, Turkey


Even the most affluent Istanbulites find it difficult to resist the enticing aroma of this freshly baked, molasses-dipped, sesame-crusted bread rings. It could be white or black sesames, poppy, flax, or my favourite - sunflower seeds. Simit, Turkey's counterpart to the American bagel, is a go-to item for a quick breakfast. It is also undoubtedly the most popular Turkish street food of all!

turkish bagels
Simit - I always had one of these in my bag while traveling in Turkey

Midye Dolma

Midye dolma, which is more of a snack than a meal, is simply mussels served with hot aromatic rice on a shell with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. When enjoying this unique dish, the secret is to keep going until you feel halfway full, just before you are about to be overstuffed with rice.

Midye Dolma
Midye Dolma are Turkish mussels served on the streets


Kumpir, or jacket potatoes, are unquestionably one of Turkey's most well-liked street dishes. It is made with baked potato, cheese, and a variety of toppings that you can pick from, including corn, black or green olives, mushrooms, sausage, and pickles. The most popular location in the city to enjoy this dish is in Ortaköy!

Kumpir turkey
Kumpir is a satisfyingly filling Turkish dish


Kokoreç, one of the most contentious street foods available, is really just skewered sheep intestines served in a loaf of bread, seasoned with plenty of fat and salt. It makes sense why it's the go-to post-drink food for some, as devouring guts requires a serious lack of inhibition. Ampiyon Kokoreç is one of the most well-known kokoreç chains in Turkey, which is a must-try as it never fails to impress.

Kokoreç in Turkey


Isn't the majority of börek consumed at homes or in bakeries? Think again. Street börek typically has cheese between the layers of paper-sheet thin phyllo, making it particularly loved among those looking for an alternative to toasts for breakfast in the morning. Traditional and common fillings you need to try include feta cheese, cottage cheese and fresh spinach.

Turkish börek
Turkish börek is a must-try traditional breakfast dish in Istanbul

Islak Hamburger

Also known as wet burgers, the Islak hamburgers are cheap, fast (readily prepared and incubated in glass-lined steamers), and very tasty. These utterly soft burgers are dunked in a delectable ketchup-like sauce and then steamed in order to achieve that wet, warm and yummy outcome. It isn't really indigenous because it is more influenced by American hamburger culture.

Islak Hamburger
Islak Hamburger in a fun street food to try in Turkey


Pide (pronounced pee-dE) comes with choices of toppings similar to those of pizzas, but its base is made using oval-shaped flatbread and baked in stone ovens. It's possible to compare it to Gozleme, although the dough is fluffier and more reminiscent of bread. You must definitely try Kiymali Pide -a variant with Turkish beef sausages, spinach and spiced minced meat.

turkish pizza
Pide is Turkey's take on pizzas


These little dumplings (also known as Turkish raviolis) are magical. Small sheets of dough wrappers are meticulously stuffed with the best spiced lamb or beef, and are either boiled or steamed. They are then graciously and generously topped with brown butter sauce, garlicky yogurt, spice-infused olive oil, sumac, caramelised tomato sauce, and fresh mint leaves for that unreservedly delectable taste.

According to locals, the smaller the size of the manti, the more skilful the cook. It can also be used as an indicator for in-laws to gauge if a girl knows her way around the kitchen.

turkish manti
Manti is our absolute favourite thing to eat in Turkey.


Balk-ekmek is unquestionably one of the most popular street dishes in the vibrant city of Istanbul. It is a simple sandwich loaded with fried or grilled fish, along with fresh vegetables. Take it from the locals: the balk-ekmek you're served at a table is just not the same as the one you eat on your feet. You might be tempted to sit down at any of the restaurants below the Galata Bridge to feast on these delicious sandwiches, but your best bet is to head to the streets to satisfy your craving.

turkish fish sandwich
Balık-Ekmek is a delicious fish sandwich found across Istanbul, Turkey.

Turkish Ice-Cream

Nothing special, really, but soooo good when eaten under the hot, brutal Turkish sun. Remember to try these flavors: Pistachio, pomegranate, honey, or sade. Due to the addition of the thickening agents salep, a flour formed from the root of the early purple orchid, and mastic, a resin that adds chewiness, Turkish ice cream has a hard texture and a resistance to melting.

Turkish Ice-Cream
Turkish Ice-Cream in Istanbul


The sandwiches that we've had in Asia are mostly pathetic (they taste and look so), which was why we never bothered ordering one while we were in Turkey. However, we've learned that they are a very common choice of fast food here so we've decided to give them a try. I was hooked ever since. The panini-style toasts and thick salami slices are definitely worth the hype!

Turkish sandwich comprises of kaşar cheese, tomato, and garlic-flavoured sausage. Sesame seeds are added to the chickpea dough, before being fashioned into loaves with sharp tapering ends and baked in a coal oven. Sujuk and kaşar cheese are both sliced lengthwise, and both must be grilled before the sandwich can be put together. Beef salami, pickles, and green peppers are optional additions, and although mayonnaise and ketchup are not considered to be kumru-approved condiments, they are frequently used nonetheless.

Kumru Turkish sandwich
Kumru is a popular Turkish sandwich on a bun

Sehriyeli Pilav

It isn't easy finding a stall selling homemade dishes, but the effort is worth it. They are definitely the most tasty and authentic, as well as being unusually cheap. In Turkey, many dishes come with the flavourful and fluffy, buttery rice that has been cooked with orzo pasta, also known as Sehriyeli Pilav. It truly is a national treasure of Turkey.

Sehriyeli Pilav
Sehriyeli Pilav is a must-try rice dish in Istanbul

Turkish Delight

No one is ever too full for dessert. Desserts in Turkey can be found on every street and coffee bar. I personally find that the desserts here are overly sweet, but thousands of other tourists beg to differ.

Turkish delight or lokum has a texture that falls somewhere between soft gelatine and marshmallow with a sweet flavour with a tinge of caramel. These beautiful snacks are decorated with interesting additions, including nuts and extracts of flowers or fruits. Premium varieties will feature chopped dates, pistachios and hazelnuts. Rose-flavoured lokum is the most widely consumed variety.

Turkish delight or lokum is a type of sweet traditional Turkish confections

There are many other delicious food to try in Turkey, so making time for it is a must!

Don't forget to share your travel & dining moments with us on Instagram by tagging @rollinggrace or #RollingGrace. Happy travelling!


  1. menarik.. thanks for sharing this, such an informative article

  2. i mmg suka turkish delight.. walaupun manis tetapi tetap sedap

  3. I love turkish food too, their jacket potato is one of the must try food when in turkey

  4. I visited Turkey in 2000 and I always want to go back, to enjoy the culture and of course, the street foods!

  5. Ohh wowo...learnt so much more about Turkish delight from your sharing here, informative. Cheers SiennyLovesDrawing


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