Monday, November 09, 2015

Istanbul: Eminönü Balik Ekmek Boats (Fish Sandwich Boats)

These Balik Ekmek boats in Fatih side of Istanbul, located on the mouth of the Golden Horn and right across the Yeni Cami Mosque (New Mosque), is for sure one of the best traditional Turkish places to eat at and experience in the city. I tell you, it cannot get more local than this.


Although you spot some tourists every now and then here, this Balik Ekmek Turkish fast food joint stays a very local jive in Istanbul.

Balik ekmek means fish sandwich or fish in bread. History says that the fishermen came up with an idea of selling their fresh catch as grilled fish sandwiches directly to consumers. This has been in existence in Istanbul for many years now. I hope this food tradition stays in the city.

I first saw the colourful boats when I walked on the Galata Bridge from Karakoy to Eminonu for the first time. The quay where the boats are docked were always busy with people. I could see smoke rising up from the boats and I noticed that the men on the boats were actually grilling something. My curiosity got tickled so I went down to the dockside to check them out further. Men were indeed grilling fishes on the boat and each boat has an open food stall extension on the dock where people eat on low wooden tables and stools.

Every time there is a big boat passing by the Golden Horn, the boats grilling the fishes bobs up and down. It was quite a sight to behold. I got hooked for a while here and began taking random pictures of the whole activity and locals eating at the stalls.

I happen to be here on an afternoon and I just had my late lunch so I was not really hungry. But I made a mental note and scheduled myself a dinner at this place for later in the evening. I will post my dinner here separately on a different blog entry.

The boats are open throughout the day and into the night. People eat the fish sandwich for lunch, dinner and as a snack in between.


The fish sandwich boats are located just below the Galata Bridge on Fatih side, across the Yeni Cami Mosque and beside the bus area.


People eat on small and low wooden tables and stools. It always makes me wonder what the reasons were why the tables and stools are designed this way.


Grilling the fishes on the boat.


Pickles to go with the fish sandwiches.


Pickles and fish.


The Yeni Cami Mosque (New Mosque) just across.


Have a look at the balustrade detailing of the boats.


Travel Period; May 2015
Destination: Eminonu, Fatih (Istanbul – Marmara), Turkey

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