Istanbul is one of the places that automatically comes in mind whenever I need a quick fix of motivation and energy in the midst of a busy work season.
Where East meets West! As cheesy it sounds, it´s pretty accurate. Not just for Istanbul but also for myself.
A 3 hour flight from Dusseldorf is the easiest solution to strengthen, re-centre and reground myself.
From food and entertainment to architecture and culture, Istanbul has it all! Here are some of the culinary highlights I can´t miss :
A diverse Turkish Kahvalti (breakfast) including freshly baked sesame bread Simit or Pide, olives, variety of cheese (beyaz peynir, lor or Kasseri), eggs prepared in the very traditional way (menemen (vegetarian), Sucuklu yumurta (with spicy sausage). To finish off: pita dipped in honey drizzled kaymak and tahini mixed pekmez.
Not to forget the endless cups of tea (Çay) to wash down all the stuff and make space for more.
A trip to the spice bazaar to discover the aromas and flavours of Istanbul is a must. There is always a new local specialty to get inspired from and spices to stock up the pantry.
Street food in Istanbul is incredibly varied and diverse and the most recommended way of tasting the authentic Turkish cuisine. My most favourite döner is from a small döner stand behind the grand bazaar. If you ever plan to go there, ask any shop keeper for the address and follow the instructions. You just can´t miss it in the narrow street with tens of people lining in front of the shop. Just be patient and wait for your turn! Good things come to those who wait!
When in Istanbul, how can someone ignore the vast range of desserts the Turkish cuisine has to offer. You dont necessarily have to have it to finish off the meal, just a piece or two of the rich specialities like baklawa, kaymakli kayisi, Revani, Kunefe, Lokma accompanied by tea or coffee are a great way to satisfy your hunger and sweet cravings. My personal favourite spots are: the one in Karaköy or the other very famous dessert shop opposite to the Blue Mosque.
A trip to Istanbul is never complete without adding a few pieces to my pottery collection. Turkish pottery is intricate and outstandingly beautiful. It´s also expensive but bargaining is highly encouraged in Istanbul. A useful tip for you: always go to the market (specially Grand bazaar) near closing hours! The shop keepers are happy to sell whatever they can and youll be able to come to a good deal.