Istanbul: Day 4

Another fantastic day. For Christmas, Grace bought us tickets for a walking culinary tour of Istanbul. This was an absolute blast! We tried many, many things, some of which I'm sure I'll forget (or at least be incapable of describing correctly).

We started off the day in one of the city's many fish markets, just to see the sights there. Next, we worked through a sort of neighborhood market. There's a Turkish word for it that I'm blanking on. Basically, stores of a certain type will cluster together. So you'll get a small neighborhood comprised entirely of hardware stores, underwear stores, whatever stores. The one we walked through was a cluster of hardware stores. We stopped and had simit (basically a circular soft pretzel encrusted with sesame seeds) with aged kashar (a type of cheese similar to Swiss) and tea. A sort of pre-breakfast breakfast.

Breakfast itself followed. Similar to what we had two days prior, but honestly not quite as good. Except for the clotted cream with honey. This was the establishment's specialty. The cream is from water buffalo raised on a farm owned by the same family. Very, very tasty. Also had a few new things, including rose jam and some sort of cured meat - like a stronger version of prosciutto.

After breakfast stopped at a baklava shop to pick up some pastries and then boarded a ferry to the Asian side of Istanbul. Our tour guide prefers the Asian side, and once we got there we could understand why. It's a lot less touristy, the shopkeepers are a lot less pushy, and it's generally a bit more relaxed.

While wandering the market here we tried a bunch of things. Fried clams, mussel shells stuffed with rice and other tasty things, a rolled beef and bread dish that basically amounted to a Turkish burrito, some bulgur-based soup, and finally Turkish coffee. After the coffee our guide left us to our own devices. Grace and I wandered the market some more, found few cool shops, and then crossed back to the European side right at sunset, which was very pretty.