Anacığım Balık Ekmek – Whatever Istanbul Can Do, Fethiye Can Do, Too

We’ve all seen the photos – you know the ones; all the ornate boats bobbing about on Istanbul’s Golden Horn against the dreamy backdrop of the minarets of Süleymaniye Camii. Inside the boats are griddles, constantly on the go, with rows of mackerel fillets sizzling away, waiting to be placed between a half bread with rocket and onion. Just in case you’re not familiar with the scene, here’s that very view from Galata Bridge.

We’ve never actually had uskumru ekmek (mackerel sandwich) from these boats. We always go over to Karaköy fish market on the opposite side of Galata Bridge – it’s still got the same sublime sandwich and, for us, a taste of Istanbul…and now that taste of Istanbul is in Fethiye, too!

Anacığım Fish Boat, Fethiye

Of course it’s not grand Ottoman style – this is Fethiye

It’s not an ornate Ottoman-style boat by any stretch of the imagination – we like to keep it real here in Fethiye. This is Anacığım and the guys on the boat are at your service, producing a very tasty balık ekmek…and they also sell bird feed for the ducks and other flying creatures that reside on our favourite simple Fethiye newcomer, adjacent Ördek Adası (Duck Island).

It’s different to the balık ekmek on Popeye’s Boat that’s tied to the corner of Fethiye harbour. Popeye’s does a mighty fine mezgit (whiting) fillet, dipped in batter and deep fried. And if that’s what you’re in the mood for, then their balık ekmek fits the bill perfectly.

Views From Duck Island, Çalış

View from the deck of Anacığım

But if you want to sit at the opposite end of the harbour, close to Çalış, watching the birdlife go about its business…and you’re in the mood for that taste of Istanbul; a simple mackerel fillet served between fresh, crusty Turkish bread with rocket, onion and wedge of lemon, then you need to get yourself to Anacığım.

Anacığım Uskumru Ekmek

Anacığım Uskumru Ekmek

The fish here isn’t battered or deep-fried. It’s a fillet, barbecued over wood and presented on a plate, open, so that you can arrange your salad and juice your lemon before eating it – or maybe the guy cooking the fish spotted me playing with my camera settings and worked out I might be taking a photo. Whatever the case, we really weren’t expecting Fethiye to make real our memories / craving of Istanbul street food…but Fethiye did.

And it’s not just the grill that is heated by wood. If you’d like a çay (tea) with your uskumru ekmek, you can have one from this çaydanlık – and very fancy it is, too. Your hot çay is hot because the çaydanlik sits above a wood burning source. It’s all just a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. A perfectly simple, beautifully tasty uskumru ekmek and a glass of çay…

Fethiye From Ördek Adası

Fethiye From Ördek Adası

…while looking out from the boat to Ördek Adası, Fethiye and Babadağ beyond. You can even sit outside on deck if you like. And we’ve already done a post about the Fethiye sunset from Popeye’s…we’re just thinking a sunset from Anacığım might be pretty special, too…Oh, and if you’re wondering, Barry did ask the question, “Okay, which is best, Popeye’s or here?”

“Neither! If we fancy deep-fried battered whiting in bread, we’re going to Popeye’s. If we fancy mackerel, we come here.”

That all sounds very black and white, doesn’t it? Wonder what will happen if one of us fancies mezgit and one of us fancies uskumru…well, one of us will need to give in compromise.

Anacığım Fish Sandwich Boat, Fethiye – Useful Info

  • Anacığım is the boat just next to Ördek Adası (Duck Island)
  • Uskumru ekmek and çay is 7 TL (Winter 2014).
  • If you want to feed the ducks and other birds, you can get feed from here, too.

Update 2016 – Anacığım are no longer selling their mackerel sandwiches, but you can still go to see the birdlife at Duck Island…

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  1. . . your town gets more sophisticated and cosmopolitan by the day!

  2. I love the boat that looks like a shed.

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