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Shopping Fever in Tahtakale »« The Rüstem Paşa Camii

Simits, Pide and Künefe: Familiar Turkish Favorites

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While in Istanbul, our taste buds were exposed to a lot of new sensations. But some of our favorite discoveries were familiar standards, common to every country, given a slight Turkish twist. Simits are Turkish bagels, a pide is a Turkish pizza, and künefe… well, that’s just Turkish heaven.

Istanbul-Simits

Simits are usually purchased from roving street vendors who are either pushing carts or balancing towering stacks on their heads. But we were lucky enough to eat them in the best way possible: early in the morning, straight out of the oven. The Tophane Tarihi Taş Fırın bakery was found conveniently between our apartment and the tram, and their freshly-baked simits quickly and firmly established themselves as our preferred on-the-go breakfast. These sesame-covered bread rings strike the perfect balance between crunchy and chewy.

Mixed-Pide

Some foods, such as liver kebab, require working up a bit of bravery. And then there’s the pide, which requires no courage at all. It’s just a canoe-shaped pizza, packed with familiar things like meat, sausage, cheese and egg, buttered and baked to crispy perfection, then sliced into horizontal strips and served. Delicious. We’ve had excellent pide at &#350imşek Pide near Taksim Square, and especially at Hocapaşa Pidecisi by Sirkeci Station.

Sweets-in-Istanbul

Another immediate favorite was künefe, which we first tried at the Akdeniz Hatay Sofrası, but later sampled in many, many other places. Layers of cheese and flour cooked in a copper dish and then drenched in syrup and covered in pistachio sprinkles. Doesn’t that sound delicious? Yes it does, and although we always feel an acute sense of shame while shoveling syrupy, stringy bites of cheese into our faces, we were never able to resist.

Locations: Tophane Tarihi Taş Fırın | &#350imşek Pide | Hocapaşa Pidecisi

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April 8, 2013 at 11:46 am
9 comments »
  • April 8, 2013 at 12:06 pmChic Soufflé

    Oh, how I would love to have these right now…ALL of them, in no particular order. :) These were 3 of my favorite foods from Istanbul! Simple, ubiquitous, and delicious. Love the making-of videos.

  • April 8, 2013 at 3:46 pmCaner Cangul

    You can try also “pide” at Karadeniz Pidecisi in Fatih. I miss künefe; i can not find here (Kiev)

  • April 8, 2013 at 8:05 pmSkraal

    How I’d love to have any of them right now. Can’t wait to get to Turkey in September and October.
    I enjoy your blog tremendously, thanks guys!

    • April 9, 2013 at 6:47 amJuergen Horn

      Thank you for the tip! We added Karadeniz Pidecisi in Fatih to our list of places we want to check out. If you have more tips, please let us know :)

  • April 9, 2013 at 11:00 amCat of Sunshine and Siestas

    I LOVE this post! I ate my way around Istanbul, and as a lover of bagels in a country that doesn’t believe in them, we definitely got our carb fill!

  • April 10, 2013 at 1:13 amSam

    I love pide! So filling and so cheap! But I found künefe just plain weird. I couldn’t get over the texture!

  • April 11, 2013 at 3:17 pmCaner Cangul

    Jurgen,It is the time to see “bird immigration” to Europe. Thousands of storks and wild birds over you. If you interested in, you can go to this place: http://harita.yandex.com.tr/-/CVViER6GGo to Sariyer Haciosman Metro Station and take on the bus Rumelifeneri, No:150  (every 40 minutes and road time 35-40 minutes) If i were Istanbul, we could do it. But only an advise now.

  • April 11, 2013 at 3:23 pmCaner Cangul

    I can advise to you Samatya to eat fish or meat. Try çiğköfte at Develi Restaurant or some fish in the Samatya square. http://harita.yandex.com.tr/-/CVViEG-eIf you pass to Kadıköy, try Antep Cousin at Çiya. http://harita.yandex.com.tr/-/CVViEOYY

  • January 26, 2014 at 12:07 amhalil

    kunefe’s origin  from hatay in turkey,pide’s origin from konya but i dont know where is  simit’s origin it is our cultural desire i think

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