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Babs and I read this after a giant Argentinean dinner and we still both drooled WAAAAAAAAH at this. Fond(?) memories of fighting over balik ekmek in Istanbul. Why we ever tried to share them I still don't know.

Andrea Rademan

While you were in Turkey, did you discover the town on the Bosphorus, just down from Istanbul, that is famous for their yogurt?

Wendy Macdonald

I am off to Istanbul next week for the first time so I look forward to trying your recommendations. Thanks for the tips.


Wen-the way you guys have been eating the last year, I have no sympathy! (We don't share anything anymore, BTW.)

Andrea - we made it to Kanlica for yogurt on our second or third trip, way back in 2000 or so. Didn't make it this time around.

Wendy - Enjoy! Also, pick up the book by Istanbul Eats or at least be sure to browse their site. Recommendations are spot-on, those guys know their stuff. istanbuleats.com


THis is interesting!! I love fish and this is such a great sharing =)

Katie @ Cozydelicious

Your photos are amazing! I want to be in Turkey right now! This looks wonderful!


Guys,the photos are so amazing I could smell the fish and taste the peppers!


Great review! I will hunt down Mercan usta this weekend.
If the balik/ekmek ratio is in place, this can be an awesome sandwich. After eating them happily for years, I was a little put off to discover that most of these guys are sourcing their mackerel from Norway. But if the bread is toasted and the peppers are hot, who the hell cares?


We are Turkish and going for vacation to Turkey in 2 days. My husband loves Balik ekmek from one of those boats. Thank you for posting this and lovely-lively pictures from Istanbul the lovely:)


Christie, Katie, Murvet - thank you! Creds to the photographer (which is not me).

Ansel -- that makes me a little nervous. Your balik ekmek palate is undoubtedly more highly developed than my own.
And I agree with you about the fish. (Also, I often contemplated ordering an extra fillet at these balik ekmek stalls. I think I will next time I am able to have one. Why not?)

Ipek -- lucky you! Enjoy -- I wish I was back in Turkey right now.


Haha! No, I wouldn't have a lick of sympathy for us either.

For those enroute to Istanbul, I just wanted to share a photo of the balik ekmek cart that caused my (usually generous) husband to shout "you snooze you lose" at me because I had been "wasting time taking photos" instead of eating my share of the balik ekmek http://bit.ly/65kJ7f

Ansel - Norway?! Have mackeral been all fished out in closer waters? (dismay)


Balik ekmek was one of our best in Istanbul on a trip there last July! This was near the Galata bridge, in the fish market in Galata. It was served with a gorgeous herby salad that I adored.
Mackrel really can be a glorious fish!


amazing Turkeyyyyy


Great article thanks!

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