Month: April, 2014

Istanbul Food Diary

by funnylittlestories

My tummy travels with me! Good thing Hina and I were both adventurous and foodies. We scheduled our day based on lunch and dinner plans. It was definitely heaven for her as she indulged in all the syrupy goodness while I hunt for Turkish ice cream which turned out not as good as I had imagined! Although it was a bit of a hassle to hunt for vegetarian food (it ain’t easy being a traveling vegetarian), there are options if you search and they can be equally as amazing!

There are many pastries and our first day was spent sharing 4 different baked goods. Beret was the yummiest. It comes either with potato, spinach or olives!
A mountain of baklava
Turkish tea/ cay is yummy. Turks have it with two sugar! 
These nest are super yummy and definitely my favorite as it has less syrup! 
Kunefe – cheese, rice vermicelli, syrup and pistachios
Turkish omelette – tomato, chili and eggs scrabbled all together
I personally don;t know the name but it is a syrupy stick with different colors! it sure is pretty but not too yummy!
This was probably one of my best lunches! It was in the market behind Spice Bazaar and famous for its meat! I opted for a vegetarian option and it was satisfying. Smuk was sprinkled all over my salad and tasted so delicious!
Hina and her baklava
Ice cream and me




Few things to know about Istanbul

by funnylittlestories

1. If you are traveling with a UK passport, prepare 10 pounds for visa at the airport! It was shocking as I thought I was the one who may need a visa to enter the country. Countries that are listed are USA, UK, Australia, some european countries and the prices vary. So check it before you enter and don’t panic if you need a visa! 

2. Don’t pay fix prices for cabs. On our first day, we thought it was less tricky to pay a fix price but it turns out meter is extremely affordable!

3. Prepare comfy walking shoes and walk through the city. We walked from Taksim square all the way to the old town and saw so many little sights of Istanbul. It was definitely a good way to get a feel of the place. 

4. Don’t get cheated at Bazaars! The spice bazaar actually has decent baklava but I am not entirely sure about buying spices or tea there. You may have better luck getting more genuine products at the Asian side or the market behind Spice Bazaar! 

5. Don’t eat at the main street but google little authentic restaurants around! They are better priced and taste better!

6. Don’t trust trip advisor with directions! We got really lost one night using trip advisor and that lead us to God-knows-where. Double check with your hostel/hotel reception!

7. Take a day to the Asian side. It is beautiful to take the ferry across the Bosphorus River and spend an afternoon walking through the less crowded, calmer bit of Istanbul. 

8. There are many refugees in Istanbul at this moment. You will notice many children walking around the street without shoes and begging for money. Prepare some food or chocolates in your bag and give it to them. You never know how little actions can mean a lot. 

It is a really great city. Highly recommended 🙂

Color of Turks

by funnylittlestories

Fun fact that I have learned during my travel in Istanbul last week is that the word Turquoise comes from the French for Turkish. It is a pretty blue to green color mineral that is commonly sold all around Turkey!

I have so many stories to tell each day of my stay there and many little fun facts about Istanbul. 5 days there with my best friend, Hina has been nothing less than exciting and memorable. Our first impression of Istanbul was actually quite frightening! People in the airport were a bit rude and cold. It was difficult to figure out whether people were sneaky and going to attack us as we walked down Istiklal street. Very quickly, we noticed that there were many men out at night and we got many stares. It was the unfamiliarity and darkness that made us feel a bit anxious. That was my first experience of Istanbul. 

This experience completely changed on the second day. We walked from our hostel in Taksim (right by Taksim square) to the old town in Sultanahmet. Although it was a very long and tiring day for our feet, we got to see and feel the city inside out. Istanbul is fascinating! The buildings are old and warm in shades of yellow, dark red and grey. There are many side streets that led to more run-down buildings with colorful graffiti walls. This city was built on a hilly valley around Bosphorus river. The dark blue color of the river glows under the sunlight. We visited two mosques, spice bazaar, the infamous grand bazaar and side tracked to many smaller streets. We ended our second day being mesmerized by the Blue Mosque under the evening light. It was so beautiful. 

The third and fourth day consisted of exploring the trendier bits of Istanbul, visiting the Asian side, lots of Baklava (for Hina) and shisha-ing in our favorite cafe by the Galatta Tower. Contrary to belief, it is uncommon for Turks to shisha so it was bit difficult to find a less touristy shisha cafe. We visited that cafe three days in a row and made friends with the owner. Hina got to share her playlist in the cafe while we sat on the little stools with our fresh mint teas. 

It was difficult to say goodbye and come back to reality for the both of us. It was definitely one of the most memorable trips in my life!