Tucked away, just to the edge of Galata Bridge is the not-very-big, but hugely exciting Karaköy fish market. If you’ve read any of our past posts on the wonder that is Istanbul, you may remember us gushing over the freshness of the Black Sea hamsi (seasonal anchovies) and getting all over excited about our hamsi ekmeği (deep fried anchovies served in a half bread).
Well, maybe we’re easy pleased but I’ve just re-read the Black Sea hamsi post and I must have done a pretty good job because I can just imagine us sitting in the Karaköy fish market right now, chomping our way through a mound of fresh fish.
Of course, we couldn’t spend our whole time in Istanbul hunting out fresh hamsi. We all need a bit of variety in our diets but, as we were so fixated by the fish market, we decided we’d go for an alternative fish meal.
Watch any cookery programme on television and the tips you always get for buying fresh fish are, it should smell of the sea (not of fish) and the gills should be deep red. Well, at Karaköy fish market, there’s no need to rummage around in the gills of üskümrü (fresh mackerel). Each fish is displayed with gills on full show, loud and proud. Maybe not to everyone’s liking but we were in our element! Oh yes, and it doesn’t smell of fish either.
Fresh mackerel was available on every stand and if we were forcing a bit of variety into our Istanbul street food diet, there was only one thing for it – üskümrü ekmeği. Yes, we moved on from anchovy sandwich and instead, plumped for a mackerel sandwich.
Our sandwich was expertly prepared for us by this friendly looking chap. A fresh fillet of mackerel, mixed herbs, chilli flakes, crispy salad, the juice of a wedge of lemon, all served between fresh Turkish bread. Not too bready, not too fishy. Just the perfect 3 lira snack.
Compare prices of Istanbul hotels on Turkey’s For Life