Turkish Street Food: When Fethiye Met Istanbul

The Fethiye area of Dispanser; once a block of side streets that periodically flooded, and that therefore flooded out the local businesses lining its narrow roads. Not oft visited by the masses and overlooked by many, it actually had, and still has, its original gems (as all towns do)…but they were only known by those who knew.

And then Fethiye Beledeyesi (the council) set about its town centre improvements and Dispanser was not only given its much needed drainage, it was also pedestrianised. Immediately, the area was more visible to all. We saw the opportunities for existing businesses to be able to display their wares in their newly extended outside space, and we also predicted the emergence of new food stops. It looked like a dead cert – and it was. Cue Vooyn

Islak Hamburger, Taksim, Istanbul

The Taksim Islak Hamburger

The photo above is actually from 2010 when we first sampled an Istanbul street food institution; the Taksim ıslak hamburger. If you know a bit of Turkish, you’ll know that ‘islak’ means ‘wet.’ What a curiosity that was, to try a burger that was being advertised, quite openly, as soggy!

However, read the comments on that post (click the link above) and you’ll see that folks living in Turkey are quite proud of – and protective ofthe ıslak hamburger. Wherever it may have originated, dis’ the ıslak hamburger at your peril! It’s definitely a feature of the Northwest Turkey street food scene.

Islak Hamburger, Fethiye

Islak Hamburger, Fethiye

So imagine our surprise / shock / glee when we saw this scene on a street in Dispanser in Fethiye! (Yes, we did get a bit over-excited.)

The ıslak hamburger has come to Fethiye!

Well of course we had to try the Fethiye version. They really are a novelty. What can we say? If you’ve never had one, we’d be misleading you if we said this is the best 3 TL (the price of a Fethiye ıslak hamburger) you will spend on street food, whether in Fethiye or Istanbul. It’s just one of those snacks you need to buy…to taste…to think, “What was that all about,”…and then you go and do it all again…usually after a night out…although we have had ıslak hamburger for breakfast, too.

That’s the ıslak hamburger for you, and we’re very happy to see it in Fethiye. (The Fethiye version actually contains more herby flavours. Bonus!)

Vooyn, Fethiye

Vooyn!

The people who had the happy idea to bring the islak hamburger to Fethiye are the owners of Vooyn Bufe. They also serve döner kebab, soup, kokoreç (from lamb and cow) and, interestingly, takoreç. We’ll order that next time we go and we’re suspecting kokoreç in a taco? Let’s see…

Vooyn!
How does a Turkish person attract the attention of someone they know when they see them in the street?
“Shhht.”
How does a Fethiye person attract the attention of someone they know when they see them in the street?
“Voyn!”

This is, according to our Fethiye buddies, particular to Fethiye. It’s dialect and there are no doubt various spellings. Whatever the case, Vooyn Bufe has set up in Dispanser, looks the part, has the Vooyn to try to attract your attention…and they’re doing ıslak hamburger! Good start for us, anyway.

Update 2013: Vooyn is no longer open and is now a different eatery…

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Comments

  1. Afiyet olsun you guys! I can only stand these “hamburgers” when it’s been a late, late night out in Taksim. 😉

  2. @ Joy: Yes, well in Taksim, you have all manner of street food. In Fethiye, we get excited about any little new addition, such as the ıslak hamburger. And it was only early evening when we had it, rather than after a night out. 😉

  3. I’ve seen these before but never on my travels have I tried them. Wasn’t sure what they would be like.
    I’m not a very adventurous foodie when it comes to trying out new foods…..but after reading your post I’ll try them on my next visit.

  4. Well I went yesterday for lunch and I had two of those delicious wet burger, a bit spicy with a touch of cumin. With a half and half fresh pressed nar and portokal juice for 9 lira for all.
    Thanks for the tip, I loved it. Now got to find a french name for the stuff!
    Suzanne

  5. You had my hopes so high until i read the last line that says they are now closed. Please telle there is somewhere in Fethiye to get islak burgers. Thanks

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