A Foodie in Istanbul

foodist

Did you come here today to find some food porn? I HOPE YOU DID! Because that’s what you’re getting. Here are the best photos of the food I ate in Istanbul. All but one is vegetarian, and I’ll try to give the description and restaurant name for each. Here’s a link to my tripadvisor page so you can have the whole list of places I ate at.

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This menemen was probably one of my favourite meals. Meant for breakfast, it contains eggs and tomatoes and was perfectly warming without being spicy. Here’s a great recipe for it, but we ate them at Nakka.

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Fast food for Turkish people is the simit – a pretzel with sesame seeds on it. The main chain selling these is called Simit Sarayi and actually there’s one in Frankfurt very near to where I live. I love their potato börek and was dying to see what they taste like in Turkey. I’m pleased to say that they tasted exactly the same – so I know that the shop near me is giving me the real deal! OM NOM NOM!

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Dolma” means to stuff, and we had our chance to try a few stuffed vegetable dolma. On the left there’s seasoned rice wrapped in vine leaves and on the right there’s stuffed tomatoes. As expected, the vine leaf version is pretty difficult to make at home (but they are common in supermarkets, I think) but we had these at Fuego.

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We liked Nakka so much we went back there for an evening meal too! My meal (the falafel) was pretty awesome but Boyfriend wasn’t so pleased with his pasta. I guess I just choose awesome food (hehehehe!)

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Baklava are pretty much one of my favourite things now. Imagine biting into pastry that explodes into gooey honey buttery yumminess in your mouth. That’s a baklava. Luckily I have a Turkish bakery very near where I live so I can get these even in Frankfurt. YAY!

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Here’s another kind of baklava – with pistachios sandwiched between the gooey casing. It was SO yummy, and I got it from the spice market.

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This is çiğ köfte, which means raw meat in Turkish. And yet it’s vegetarian! How? Why? WELL! They used to use raw mince in this dish but, (as a Turkish friend explained) when Turkey wanted to join the EU they stopped doing it with raw meat and instead used bulgar wheat and ground walnut instead. You can eat it in a lettuce like I did above, or in a wrap. It was SO yummy. It’s vegetarian and vegan friendly, so check it out!

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Here are two examples of simple vegetarian food we got from a small fast food shop. Stuffed aubergine, mashed potato, beans, greens and bulgar wheat. Was very good and very cheap!

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I usually eat meat or fish once a week. I do it because I don’t want meat and fish to become alien to my body, while I live as a vegetarian most of the time. I had my one weekly non-vegetarian meal at one of these floating kitchens, where they grill freshly caught fish and stick it in a sandwich for you. I chose to eat here because they don’t use boats that go out and overfish, they use fishermen who are stood on the bridge behind, fishing with a rod.

In all honesty, I didn’t like the fish sandwich. The smell was pretty strong and it was a bit too much bread for my liking. There was one other part that coloured how I felt about the meal…

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You’re meant to drink it with this pickle juice… Now, I’m a big fan of pickles. I would even eat a gherkin and peanut butter sandwich (no, really. Try it. It’s awesome) but this was way too much. It was like drinking salty sea water.

Needless to say, I regretted wasting my one meat meal a week on this. 🙁

So that’s what we ate in Istanbul! I should add that, since we had loads of meze plates, I took lots of gluten free bread with me – that would be my one big tip for any celiacs going to Istanbul. You can tell me that you’ll choose something else from the menu…no. When you see the amazing hummus and dips and stuff you’re going to want to dunk some bread in that mess and eat it all up. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not full allergic, I’m just sensitive so I can eat a little bit. I came back with a bit of a rash next to my nose (from the gluten I ate) but it was nothing compared to what my face was like when I came back from 4 days in Berlin.

Hope that satisfied your food porn needs!

Chimichurri – Vegan Restaurant

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The other week we were invited to Boyfriend’s colleague’s house for a beer night. It just so happened that we were in the same area as a vegan restaurant called Chimichurri, so we went to try it out!

If you are a visitor to Frankfurt, I’d say that this isn’t exactly easy to find or anywhere near the centre. After visiting Berlin I now know how important this kind of information is!!

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The thing with restaurants like this is that I don’t know whether it’s wiser to pick a meal that obviously doesn’t contain meat from the start…like pasta with vegetables, or to go for a meat recipe which has been made vegan. I went for a vegan schnitzel with Frankfurt green sauce which was amazing. The green sauce was so good that I only forgot that it can’t contain eggs right at the end. I cobbled together some German and asked the girl what was in it and she said it was soya yogurt and herbs and liquidised tofu. It was really good, even better than the real thing.

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Boyfriend had this pastry dish which had a lovely mango curry sauce with it. The meals were slightly on the small and expensive side and he did say that his one complaint would be that he was pretty hungry afterwards.

I give it 2 meat free thumbs up. Apparently the sunday brunch is also very, very good. We’ll have to check it out sometime…

Find Chimichurri at Im Prüfling 63, 60389 Frankfurt

Home Ramen – Japanese Restaurant

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When I saw on a friend’s facebook feed that she’s been to a new Japanese ramen restaurant, I was pretty excited. I was even willing to risk eating gluten to get that Japanese taste I love so much. The name of the restaurant is Home Ramen, a small place in front of the zoo. Inside, there were a couple of other Japanese people but it was mainly German people. This isn’t always a good sign.

As usual in these situations, I had a weird half Japanese/half German conversation when I ordered my food, but I wasn’t sure if the waitress actually spoke Japanese or not.

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Well, I have to admit that I wasn’t happy at all with the food. The starters (gyoza, croquettes and steamed buns) were all obviously cheap frozen versions that I can pick up at the Chinese supermarket. The croquettes were perfectly round – they should be flat like a crab cake. I was very sad.

The ramen was pretty bad, too. The soup was greasy and yet thin. It had none of the satisfying thickness of a ramen dish you’d find in Japan. My friends ordered pork, and chicken on rice, and they seemed to be more satisfied than I was, but still not entirely happy with their food. We all agreed we wouldn’t want to go back there.

I think there is still room in the Frankfurt restaurant market for a good, well priced, Japanese restaurant. Mangetsu is too pricey and most of the others have really don’t have good enough food. Maybe someone will come up with one soon.

Find Home Ramen at Pfingstweidstr. 12, 60316, Frankfurt.

Eating in Berlin

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You know me. I like my food. It’s very important to me.

I must admit, Berlin food and I did not get along. In fact, it’s probably the biggest factor in me not liking it there so much.

Berlin and Frankfurt are very, very different creatures. In Frankfurt, people often have great jobs and eat out at least once a week, so they demand a lot of good food. Team this with Frankfurt being a pretty small town and you have a recipe for foodie heaven where you have loads of food options on your doorstep.

In Berlin people seem to be paid much less. Rent is very cheap. The food is also very cheap (about 5 euros for a dinner). People just don’t seem to eat out as much. Also, Berlin is very, very big. So with this you have restaurants dotted around the city, but not all huddled together in clumps like in Frankfurt.

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One downside to traveling is that you can’t often carry on the food habits you’d have normally. For me, it’s important that I don’t eat too much wheat because it causes a nasty rash next to my nose. For the boyfriend (and myself when we are together) it means finding vegetarian food. I keep finding myself compromising (especially at breakfast when there’s a buffet with meat, wheat and cheese) and just eating some bread. I can eat (and drink!!) a little, but I did come back from this long weekend with a small mountain range on my face.

I did make a list of lots of gluten free restaurants but with Berlin being so big, it would have taken us nearly an hour to get to any of those places from where we were, and we just assumed there would be good places to eat at all over the city.

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One wheat-ness I did feel happy having was this beer from Bamberg. It’s smoked, and tastes absolutely wonderful. If you ever happen to be in a place that has lots of different beers, do look out for it – it’s called “Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier“.

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Here’s a list of the places we ate at (all vegetarian/veggie friendly):

Arabic Karun

Sahara Sudanese 

Yam Yam Korean

I used this really awesome blog for gluten free recommendations in Berlin…but sadly didn’t get round to visiting a single one.

If you’re gluten free or vegetarian…or have any other challenging eating situation, I’d love to hear any tips you have for traveling and staying away from the things you shouldn’t eat, as well as surviving when there’s nothing that fits your diet.

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