Must Try Istanbul Street Foods During Your Trip!

What are the best street foods in Istanbul? Although there’s no direct answer to that, you can be the judge in choosing which street food is a must-try for everyone who is planning an Istanbul trip. So, let’s see these 17 delicious Turkish street foods that will accompany you during your Istanbul travel.

Table of Contents


Simit is the icon and symbol of all Istanbul street foods. You will a vendor selling this circle-shaped bagel with sesame seeds on it on every corner or frequently while walking on Istanbul streets.

Simit is a pastry usually eaten for breakfast or as a fast snack during the day. Typically, there are two distinct types of simit you can find:

  • Bakery simit is both soft inside and out
  • Street simit is crunchy outside, soft inside

Also, most cafes offer simit variations such as topped with sunflower seeds, stuffed with cheese and tomatoes, and chocolate flavored.

Currently, one simit costs 10 to 15 TL depending on your location.


Kumpir is a traditional Turkish food which is prepared with big potatoes. The whole potato is baked in a special oven until cooked perfectly. Then cut open from the middle, the potato is mashed with cheese, butter, and salt and mixed until it gets soft enough. Then, various ingredients are added to that mixture and it’s all yours to enjoy!

If you want to enjoy a good kumpir, all you have to do is go to Ortaköy. In 1991, since these big potatoes entered the country, places in Ortaköy focused on preparing kumpirs and they still do. Many vendors there know how to treat that big potato right!

The price of kumpir changes between 100 to 160 TL depending on how stuffed you want it and the restaurant.


Gözleme is a baked flatbread stuffed with minced meat, spinach, potatoes, or cheese. It is cooked on a pan for crispiness but soft inside. You can think of a stuffed thin bread. Usually, gozleme is eaten for breakfast but it’s also a great way to snack fast during day time.

If you ever see a woman rolling thin dough and a big black pan right next to her, that’s the moment you should give gozleme a try.

The price of gozleme changes between 90 to 150 TL depending on the stuffing you choose.

Çiğ Köfte

Cig kofte literally means “raw meatballs” but most of the time it doesn’t contain any meat. A delicious combination of bulgur and various spices. You roll cig kofte in a leaf of lettuce, add some pomegranate syrup, and squeeze some lemon on top of it to eat. Or, spread to thin bread and stuffed with lettuce, sauces, tomatoes, and other ingredients, you can eat it as a wrap.

Traditionally, cig kofte is prepared with meat but it has to be consumed that day. Otherwise, it will get bad the next day and can cause parasites or infections. By 2008, selling cig kofte with meat was banned totally and since then, meatless cig kofte has been sold everywhere.

Cig kofte is generally a more affordable option with menu choices coming with ayran, a menu costs 70 TL on average.


Doner is the vertically spinny meat you’ll see while walking on the streets. There are two types of doner: beef and chicken. You can eat doner stuffed in bread, wrapped between flatbread, or just on a plate.

For the past few years, the popularity of doner wraps filled with sauces has risen. It is called “Hatay usulü” (Hatay style) doners. Some locals say that doner with sauce ruined the traditional doner while some love it.

Both chicken and beef doner wraps come with a drink. The chicken wrap menu costs around 100 TL while the beef wrap menu costs 160 TL or more depending on where you are eating.


Tantuni is the sibling of döner and a part of traditional Turkish cuisine. It is served in wrap or bread, stuffed with thinly sliced grilled meat strips, parsley, onions, and tomatoes. Tantuni is often seasoned with spices like red pepper flakes, cumin, and sumac, giving it a flavorful and slightly spicy taste. Additionally, some people prefer dashing lemon juice over the meat to balance the taste.

Same as döner, tantuni can be beef meat or chicken. Chicken tantuni costs around 80 TL while beef costs 120 TL.


Kokorec is spiced and skewered lamb intestines that spin like doner, but horizontally. For being salty and greasy, most locals eat kokorec at the end of a long drinking night. Kokorec is served inside the bread with lots of seasonings.

There are two types of kokorec preparation: In Istanbul, kokorec is cut from the skewer, and grilled again, and tomatoes and peppers are put in the bread. In Izmir, kokorec is put in the bread right from the skewer and seasoned less to taste the meat better. However, you can find both preparation styles in both cities.

Kokorec is sold in a quarter or half of a whole bread. A quarter costs around 70 TL, half is around 100 TL.

Wet Burger

Wet burgers are plain hamburgers with no lettuce, tomato, onions, or pickles. Just a patty with bun, but what kind of bun? A bun wetted with tomato sauce. That’s the wet burger (ıslak burger) for you. The tomato sauce meeting with the patty will make flavors burst in your mouth and make you want another one right after you finish. 

A wet burger costs around 60 TL but some places make discounts if you order 5 or more.

Roasted Chestnuts

You can find a vendor with his cart on the streets selling roasted chestnuts all over Istanbul, more frequently in popular areas of course. Generally, roasted chestnuts are preferred to be eaten during winter for their hotness. Eating them in summer may not give the best experience for either locals or visitors.

Boiled or Grilled Corn

Along with roasted chestnuts, you will also see some vendors with carts who sell grilled or boiled corn. However, some vendors may sell corn only. You can find these corn sellers all over Istanbul, but most of them are found near the Bosphorus and popular tourist areas.

Grilled corn looks darker and will be stacked at the side of the cart. Boiled corn, on the other hand, is inside the huge pot placed in the cart. It will handed freshly and salted.

Grilled or boiled, depending on your location one corn price can be around 50 TL.

Turkish Rice (Pilav)

Yes, rice is also a street food of Turkish cuisine. While walking on the streets, you may notice vendors with carts selling rice with chicken or chickpeas. Eating smoking hot and delicious rice on the corner of the street can be a fast lunch or dinner if you don’t want to waste your time.

Depending on where you are and what kind of toppings your pilav has, it can cost between 60 TL to 100 TL.

Stuffed Mussels (Midye Dolma)

Midye dolma in Turkish, mussels will be a meal if you eat too many, a snack if few. Understandable from its name, stuffed mussel is filled with seasoned rice combined with mussel. With a dash of lemon juice on top, it is ready to be eaten!

You can find mussel vendors near the coastal areas such as Fatih, Beyoğlu, Beşiktaş, Sarıyer, Kadıköy, Üsküdar, and Beykoz. You can also find mussel restaurants or vendors on the inner sides as well. For example, eating mussels at Taksim is popular among tourists.

Midye dolma is sold in 10, 20, 30, 50 pieces or kilos. On average, one mussel costs around 8 to 10 TL.

Fried Mussels

Also known as “Midye tava”, mussels are covered in flour and put on a skewer. Then, these skewered mussels are dipped in a mixture of water and baking soda, then into the deep fry right away. The mussels will be fried until they turn golden and they are ready to be eaten. There’s a sauce called “Tarator” which is usually served with fried mussels. Tarator is a yogurt-based sauce with garlic, salt, lemon juice, and crushed walnuts.

Fried mussels in Istanbul are served in two different options: In bread or on a plate. On average, a quarter bread of fried mussels costs around 90 TL, and half bread costs 120 TL. It can cost more than 200 TL if you eat on a plate due to the bigger portion.

Fish Sandwich (Balık Ekmek)

If you are near the Bosphorus and see seagulls everywhere, it’s high time to eat a fish sandwich, or “Balık ekmek” in Turkish. The main actor of the sandwich is mackerel, which is “uskumru” in Turkish, and the supporting characters are lettuce, rockets, onions, and sometimes tomatoes. Co-actors can be şalgam (turnip water) and pickle juice for your snack.

The best place to eat a fish sandwich in Istanbul is Eminönü. There, you can find many fish restaurants right next to the sea and can even have your sandwich on a boat! Yes, there are many fish restaurants like that to attract more customers by giving them an opportunity to feel the sea while eating.

Generally, one fish sandwich costs 150 TL in Istanbul.

Meatball Sandwich (Köfte Ekmek)

In contrast to other cuisines, Turkish meatballs are generally more flat. This makes them excellent candidates to make sandwiches and Turkish people didn’t miss this chance. Meatball sandwiches, or “Köfte ekmek” can be found both in the streets and in restaurants. You can smell a street vendor grilling these meatballs from miles away. Most of the restaurants in Turkey have meatballs so it’ll be uncommon for a place not to sell meatball sandwiches.

Meatballs are made from a mixture of beef and lamb ground beef, onion, various seasonings, garlic, salt, and pepper. The mixture is grilled for the sandwich. In a sandwich, along with the meatballs, onions, tomatoes, fried potatoes, and other ingredients can be put.

Turkish meatball sandwiches can be served in any portion of bread such as a quarter, half, 3/4, or the whole. For this reason, prices change.

Maraş Ice Cream

The classic vanilla Turkish ice cream is made of goat milk and contains Arabic gum. The word “Maraş” comes from a city in Turkey, Kahramanmaraş. This unique ice cream originates from Kahramanmaraş, first made in the 1920s.

Yet, buying Maraş ice cream can be the most annoying one for some while entertaining for fun. Why? Because of that Turkish ice cream guy who likes to trick you with a single scoop of ice cream and you are just standing there with an empty ice cream cone. But that’s where the fun is, don’t be offended by their actions!

Generally, a scoop of Turkish ice cream costs 30 on average. However, these prices can go up if you are in a popular tourist area.

Halka Dessert

Halka dessert or Turkish churros is a deep-fried sweet pastry that is soaked in sweet syrup, a kind of tulumba dessert. You can think of Halka as a thin donut that looks more traditional. It is crispy outside, soft and juicy inside, and gives a lot of energy after you eat it.

There are lots of street vendors who sell the Halka dessert but what you should do is go to a “Tulumbacı” which means the store that focuses on selling varieties of tulumba. You can find such places near Eminönü and Kabataş. 

One halka dessert costs around 20 TL but if you are in a tourist place, it may cost more.