Wherever I travel in the world, I love to find out about and to taste local food. If said food consists of fish or seafood, so much the better. My trip to Istanbul was no exception. I asked all my Turkish friends, which specialty I should try there. They all came up with the same reply, “You haven’t really been to Istanbul if you haven’t had a fish bun under the Galata Bridge”.
I followed their advice and headed for the Galata bridge. Sure enough, you really can’t miss the stalls, the smell of grilled fish wafts out at you from quite a distance away. The bridge is a busy traffic junction between the European and the Asian part of Istanbul and the Spice Market is nearby as well as the docks for all kinds of ferries and water transport, not to mention a streetcar, Metro and central bus station. In other words, at any time of the day and night, the area is crowded and everyone seems to feel the need to have the famous snack.
You elbow your way close to one of the open grills, point to the fillet of mackerel, which sizzles on the coals, and watch with fascination how the fillet is turned with long tongs and a flick of the wrist. The same tongs, with another flick of the wrist, remove the spine, tail and remaining bones and in the blink of an eye, the clean, juicy fillet is stuffed, together with sliced tomato, cucumber and lettuce into a split open bun and handed to you in a napkin.
Little tables are nearby where you can put salt and pepper as well as lemon juice over your fillet and then you find a seat and enjoy. There are no sit down restaurants but foot stools are scattered around the pavement and if you are lucky, you can grab one. Otherwise you just get a cold, soft drink from another stall and enjoy a healthy and extremely tasty and filling snack wherever you can.
Inka is German and used to be an international attorney with offices in London and Spain. Retired two years ago because I wanted to be a traveler and writer and now live between Didim/Turkey and Miami with plenty of travel in between. Next destinations: Istanbul, New York and Petra/Jordan. Inka’s first novel has just been published and can be found here