The best food to try in Istanbul with your children
If you’ve never tried it, don't worry! The masterpiece that is Turkish Cuisine will quickly become a favourite! Each region in Turkey praises its own speciality, however Istanbul is the city where almost all kinds of food can be appreciated. Here are some of our must try foods you should sample with your children during your stay.
This dish resembles the English “jacket potato” and it is one of the most popular and delicious street delicacies. After all, we are talking about potatoes baked in the oven, with butter and cheese added, and decorated with a load of delicious toppings, what’s there not to like? The best place to try this is “Baked Potato Alley” (Kumpir Sokak) in Ortakoy! Yes, it’s actually called that by the locals since there are so many Kumpir stalls to choose from!
This is definitely a must try if you and your kids are seafood lovers! These are mussels stuffed with rice and other delicious ingredients that will make you crave more. If you have some reservations about eating shellfish from street food vendors, which we completely understand, there are many reputable places. Şampiyon Kokoreç is one where you can indulge—and indulge you must, as these are incredibly tasty. Another great place for midye dolma is Midyeci Ahmet in Beşiktaş.
Of course this list wouldn’t be complete without the famous Turkish doner! Seasoned meat, usually beef, lamb or chicken is stacked on an skewer and turned slowly on the rotisserie - doner in Turkish literally means turning. The outer layer is sliced into thin shavings as it cooks and can be served in many ways, some prefer it alone on a plate, as a sandwich or wrapped in lavas bread, my personal favourite. One of the best places to try doner is in Eminonu and Taksim square!
This Turkish dessert with Arabic origins is a famous specialty of the Antakya region and is guaranteed to satisfy your children’s sweet tooth! It’s made up from three layers of melted cheese between two layers of crunchy shredded pastry called kadayıf. It’s soaked in sugar syrup and can be served with a topping of ice cream and grated pistachios, this ensemble of ingredients may sound odd but trust me they make a divine combo. You can try this dish in any Hafiz Mustafa pastry shop as they are known to make the highest quality Turkish desserts.
Maraş Dondurmasi (Turkish Ice cream)
There is so much more to Turkish ice cream than its mouth-watering taste. Buying an ice cream from traditional stalls is a whole experience in itself, almost like a form of entertainment that would leave your kids grinning from ear to ear when they finally get their ice cream. The vendors perform tricks and mess around with customers and quite a few videos of this spectacle have gone viral as well! The ice cream, originally from Maraş region, has a unique taste. It’s quite chewy and elastic, but don’t let that put you off, it’s super yummy!