Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Turkish Fast Food in Istanbul: Fish Sandwich (Balik Ekmek) + Pickle Juice (Salgam) + Lokmasi (Honey Doughnut)

I mentioned in an earlier post these ‘balik ekmek’ boats in Fatih located just off the Galata Bridge on the mouth of the Golden Horn. You can read it here: Istanbul: Eminönü Balik Ekmek Boats (Fish Sandwich Boats)


These boats are traditional fast food joints on the quay that seems to be loved by many Istanbulites. I was really attracted to the localness and uniqueness of the place. Where can you find a fast food joint that has a boat as its kitchen? Every time a ship passes by the Golden Horn, the boats and the cooks bob up and down. Isn’t that just so cool? And then you’ve got the very low wooden tables and chairs, they bring me back to my kindergarten days in the 70’s.

There is only one item served on the menu here though and that is the fish sandwich (balik ekmek). I quite liked the simplicity of the sandwich. Other ingredients added are lettuce and onions. The fish is cooked in a very modest way. There is nothing fancy schmancy about it. But it tastes good and is very fresh. Simplicity and freshness. Yes, these are what makes a balik ekmek.

I settled with the pickled juice with pickled vegetables in it called ‘salgam’ for my drink. There were several salgam cart vendors in the area. I spied them earlier during the day and I could not contain my curiosity, I must try and taste it! It is quite sour and salty, but I like it. Nothing to worry though if you are not into the pickled stuff as there are sodas sold here as well.

For dessert I nibbled a piece of ‘lokmasi’ which is a small fried doughnut dipped in honey. It is very, very sweet and juicy. They were peddled by food cart vendors as well who were selling them in a one-size portion boxes, which obviously I cannot finish. So I negotiated with the lokmasi vendor for just a piece. He obliged. Thank you!

This is the cheapest dinner I have had in Istanbul and I enjoyed it very much. It cannot get more traditional, original and local than this.

As they say in Turkey, ‘Lezzetli!’


Ordering the balik ekmek from this man. You can see the boat kitchen at the back.


The cooks grilling the mackerels.


Cheapest but coolest dinner in Istanbul =)


I am not a bread person so I only finished half of the bread but I ate all of the fish, as well as the salgam pickled juice and vegetables.


 A piece of lokmasi for my dessert.


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

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

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