Bostancı Favourites, Istanbul

During the weekend, for breakfast we headed for Bostancı, a neighbourhood in Kadıköy. It’s a waterfront at the Sea of Marmara and also the port where locals take the ferries to the Princes’ Islands. But mostly, it’s known for its vicinity to Bağdat Avenue, a notable high street. But most of all, Bostanci is well known as THE place to go for late night snacks.

A fish market consisting of several fish stalls greeted us as we walked towards Balik Ekmek Izgara, a small restaurant serving balik ekmek (fish sandwiches) with your choice of mackerel, hamsi (european anchovies) or whiting. Ever since I read eatingasia’s post on balik ekmek, I have put it down on my to-eat list for Istanbul. Sadly we didn’t have time to search for the stall she mentioned but I’m just glad we got to try them.

At 4TL, the size of the mackerel fish sandwich is quite substantial. Bottles of lemon juice is provided on the tables for one to squirt on to the fish before partaking of the sandwich. The mackerel is nicely prepared, with just the right balance of oiliness so that the sandwich isn’t too dry. One bite and I am in love with this simple sandwich.

Once we left the small establishment, we retraced our steps until we reached the Altin Eldiven Dürüm Evi, a kebab shop that does brisk business selling dürüm wraps throughout the day and especially late at night. My friend was keen to bring me here to sample some of the specialty wraps and boy, was I in for a treat!

At first glance, this dürüm wrap looks normal enough. Then my friends tell me this is kokoreç which is actually chopped lamb intestines seasoned with lemon, olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper. As I usually eat pig intestines, I had no qualms about trying this. And was pleasantly surprised by the flavour and texture of the intestines. In fact, if I wasn’t told about the nature of the meat, I don’t think I would have guessed as it’s not chewy nor have an aftertaste. My friend who doesn’t eat intestines said this is the only form of it she’d try. It’s so well seasoned that it has absorbed all the flavours of the marinade.

We also had a portion of the Adana dürüm to share. Adana dürüm, a spicy minced lamb kebab cooked over a coal fire. Originating from Adana, it’s well known to be hand minced using a special knife called a zirh. Apart from hand mincing the lamb meat, the tail fat of male lambs is also added in. The meat is then seasoned with salt, sumak and hot pepper before being wrapped around the skewer. Then the skewers are worked over an intense white-coaled fire until it is ready.

I think the main attraction of this wrap is its signature spicy taste. The meat is also tender and juicy. As it was very juicy, the dürüm was perfect to soak in the dripping sauces.

There’s also a waterfront of sorts at Bostancı, where locals run or date to the romantic view of the Princes’ islands. But for me, it was the place to walk off brunch we had. Haha.



  1. It’s so good to see the stuff you wrote about turkish cuisine!! I haven’t been to turkey yet!

  2. Balik Ekmek! I remember sitting on some little stools and picking out the fish bones to throw into the bin! Those were do delicious, kinda like a Turkish Banh Mi. You brought back some nice memories for me:)

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: