Turkish Street Food: Cihan Derya Balık Lokanta

Turkey is well known for its fantastic street food and, in Istanbul, you could probably lay your hands on street food traditional to just about anywhere in Turkey. Whenever we visit Istanbul, one of the highlights of our time there is working our way through the variety on offer, and in October, we made our Turkish street food discovery of 2011 when we sampled and fell in love with the delights of the tantuni kebab.

Cihan Derya Balık Lokanta, Beyazıt

Taking the balık ekmek to a whole new level

But sometimes, we like to keep things simple and return to our familiar favourites. Hamsi ekmek (anchovies in bread) at Karaköy fish market certainly fits into this category, as does this tiny balık (fish) lokanta in Beyazıt. This is also a place where you come for fish in bread.

Cihan Derya Balık Lokanta Fish In Bread

Which would you choose?

This is seafood of the crispy, battered, deep-fried variety and it’s a welcome sight after you have walked uphill, along Divanyolu from Sultanahmet.

As you trudge past the expensive restaurants geared towards the foreign tourists and pass the döner kebab stands, you do start to wonder if this little stretch of Istanbul has anything to offer the hungry wanderer on a budget.

Don’t get us wrong, we do munch our way through and enjoy a good few döner kebabs over the course of a year – we even did an ode to the döner kebab – but there are only so many you can eat on a long weekend in Istanbul when there’s so much other tasty street food out there to get your gnashers into.

Cihan Derya Balık Lokanta, Istanbul

Deep-fried crispy prawns in fresh, crusty bread

These days, our trips to Istanbul must involve a visit to Beyazıt so we can catch up with a friend who recently set up a business there after a move from Fethiye. Of course we look forward to seeing our friend…but we also look forward to stopping off en route at the Cihan Derya Balık Lokanta.

You can choose from calamari, hamsi, mussels, crab meat, mackerel, whiting and more, all lightly battered and plunged into steaming hot, bubbling oil.

But our favourite – the one we always go for even though we say we’ll get something different this time – is the plump, deep-fried, battered prawns. Topped with a white sauce and chilli flakes, this is heaven in a half-bread!

Cihan Derya Balık Lokanta, Beyazıt, Istanbul

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  1. That fish looks perfectly fried. Great finds!

  2. Oooo! You’re making me hungry! Where shall we go for dinner??? 🙂 Nice to see the good food shots. Cheers!

  3. Balik Ekmek is one of the great things about Turkey.

  4. Love your photo’s……it brings back memories. I love street food in Istanbul, my husband especially loves the fish stands around the water side.

  5. Hi Julia! You are amazing, you find so many things to be enthusiastic about here! Let me know when you are next coming to Istanbul and I will take you on my foodie street food tour of Beyoğlu….

  6. @ Belinda: Yes, not too greasy and not too much batter. Lovely! 🙂

    @ Mark: Yes, I could eat one of those now! 🙂

    @ Omentide: Isn’t it just?! We get through quite a lot of them in a year. 🙂

    @ Erica: Now you’re making me hungry. The street food in Istanbul is the best, isn’t it?

    @ A Seasonal Cook in Turkey: Ha ha. We just love food. Hopefully, we’ll be in Istanbul again sometime in 2012. Can’t do a year without making it up there. 🙂

  7. Fried fish in bread – fabulous!!
    I would have a hard time choosing between that and a doner kebab. And seeing street food in bread is making me homesick for Vietnam’s fabulous banh mi.

  8. @ Barbara: LOVE a bit of fried fish in bread! 🙂 Sorry to make you homesick for the Vietnam banh mi. You’ve no doubt got lots of street food treats in Thailand. 🙂

  9. This street food looks wonderful! Yet another reason to visit Turkey!

  10. ah definitely the GREAT street food- that is one of my favorite memories of Turkey. You’ve captured it all so nicely on here.

  11. @ Andrew Graeme Gould: Street food should be THE reason to visit Turkey. 🙂 We love it.

    @ Anjuli: The Turkish street food is just great isn’t it. Also makes for a cheaper break whenever we go anywhere. 🙂

  12. Yum!! Those fried seafood delicacies sound divine. Can’t wait for the opportunity to get back to Turkey…

  13. @ Andrea: You’ll have to head further south next time ans sample the Turkish coast. 🙂

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