Istanbul Street Food Picnic Tour

Frying the bread-crumbed hamsi, and preparing gözleme

Although I am a long term resident of Istanbul, there is always something to discover about this unique city. Recently, I met up with Canero, of Urban Adventures, and took the Istanbul Street Food Picnic Tour, to discover more about traditional Turkish cuisine.

My guide, Canero

We met at the entrance to the Spice Bazaar in Eminonu, and began our walking tour  through the fascinating back streets behind the bazaar. I asked Canero how he became interested in food, as he seemed very knowledgeable. It appears that his grandmother is a superb cook from Antakya (Antioch), in the Hatay Province of southern Turkey. This area is famous for its delicious food.

Our first stop was to a small outlet specialising in Gozleme and hamsi (anchovies). Gozleme is a popular street food made of layered pastry, and resembles a folded pancake, stuffed with either cheese, spinach, or potato; or a mixture of these. Canero ordered cheese and spinach, which we ate, together with fried hamsi, a specialty of the Black Sea region of Turkey.

I insisted we shared the fried hamsi (anchovy) and gözleme, as I didn't want to 
spoil my appetite for the rest of the tour!

We watched Turkish pide being made. It is baked in an oven, similar to a pizza oven

We stopped for a glass of Ayran, made from yogurt, water and salt.

As we strolled through the crowded little streets, Canero talked about all the little food outlets we passed, and the amazing variety of traditional foods they sold. As he added to our supply of food, he explained that Istanbul has become a magnet for people from every area of Turkey, who brought  with them the culinary delights of their particular areas.

We visited a delicatessen, where Canero bought some pastirma (pastrami) for our picnic

There were stacks of fresh honeycomb, a breakfast staple in Turkey

Canero bought some sweet desserts for me to taste

Finally we entered the spice bazaar, where Canero introduce me to a wonderful emporium, full of Turkish delight, exotic teas, and aromatic spices. We were entertained royally, while I was shown the range of products with an explanation of their provenance.

Some of the delights of the Spice Bazaar

Canero levitating over the shop

Night was beginning to draw in when we bought some chestnuts to complete our meal

Normally, the tour would end with a picnic in Gulhane Park, but this is winter, and a picnic in the park wasn't really feasible. Instead, we took our picnic to the edge of the Golden Horn, where we enjoyed some warming Turkish tea with our delicious selection of typical Turkish eats.

If ever you are in Turkey, I really recommend taking a tour with Canero. You can find him on Facebook.


Fototrek Workshop Istanbul

Galata Bridge, over the Golden Horn, where our practical photography session took place.

I love learning about my passion, photography. So I was delighted when I had the opportunity to take a photography workshop with Cenk Gençdiş of Fototrek, Istanbul. The first session was in the classroom, where we reviewed basic information, such as White Balance, ISO, Exposure, Shutter Speed and Aperture. We then moved on to camera settings, where Cenk gave us tips on how to make menu adjustments so we could get the best images from our cameras.

Our instructor, Cenk Gençdiş of Fototrek

Our next session was a practical one, where we got to practise all we had learned the previous day. We met in a restaurant under the Galata Bridge, and our photo shoot was held all under, over, and around the bridge. Our main task was to use our cameras' manual settings, and make sure the exposure was correct. We are so lucky to be living in Istanbul. This amazing city is a photographer's dream.

We all worked hard, practising what Cenk had taught us

Everyone was keen to do well!

One focus was on framing the shot...

...and the Galata Bridge is just perfect for framing!

This plane flew overhead, so I couldn't resist taking this shot.

A fisherman on the bridge, with the Suleymaniye mosque in the background

A sweetcorn seller by the Galata Bridge

İçli Köfte

After all our hard work, Claudia took us to one of her favourite restaurants, where we had delicious İçli Köfte, and Mercimek Soup. A perfect end to a perfect day!

I am so looking forward to next week when we will learn about the many different fields of photography, like Portrait, Landscape, Nature, Architectural, and Night photography. I am especially looking forward to practising portrait photography in Cenk's professional studio.

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I couldn't resist this one!