Turkish foods is one of the cheapest you could get here in Germany. A decent sized Döner_Kebab cost 5 EUR , more or less. My favourite döner joint offers mini yufka döners for 2.50 ,which is a perfect sized nosh after a tiring day at work. Count up a bottle of soda, both your wallet and tummy will not be complaining once you're done stuffing your face silly.
With that in mind, FF and I went to Istanbul! We're going to make this cheap, we promised ourselves. Shopping and dining will be affordable , even my Turkish colleague guaranteed. It was not the case.Actually, everything about the city is expensive .
It's either we've been to the wrong places, or just been duped. 2 boxes of Turkish Delight, both weighing about 1.5 kgs cost us an astonishing 80 euros! A silver ring , which is supposedly adorned with white sapphires, cost me 60 euros, only to find out it was just zirconia crystals that I could probably get for 6 euros in Germany! The same thing goes with the food. I've eaten cheaper, if not better foods in Spain this summer. Our cheapest meal was actually a simple lunch of chicken kebab for FF and a bowl of stewed unidentified creatures and their organs for me. It was filling for 35 Turkish Lira. ( about 12 euros). I still feel I could get more for my money somewhere else. The most expensive meal was a dinner that cost us a whooping 230 Turkish Lira ( about 85 euros), spent on a portion of tomato soup, 2 grilled mains and 2 deserts. Price could have doubled, with alcoholic beverages thrown in. Luckily, FF and I, developed a liking for Turkish cays or teas. A healthier and thankfully, more affordable alternative.
After 3 days of prancing and dining in Sultanahmet or the old city, my wallet got alarmingly thin . I realize we were spending more than we have expected. I decided to venture somewhere else for some value- for-money noms. Our friendly hotel receptionist encouraged us to try the Asian side of Istanbul. Kadiköy Iskelesi, in particular. It was the smartest decision FF and I made in Turkey.
We took a ferry from Eminönü and payed 4 TLY each to go to Asia. Oddly the cheapest fare we've ever spent while crossing a continent. Hah!
So what can you eat for 10 euros /12, 44 USD/ 556 Phil. Pesos in Turkey?
That's around 27 Turkish Lira by the way. So, let's find some chow!
First stop: Breakfast. FF remembers eating freshly baked Börek every day when he was in Turkey years ago. This buttery, flaky baked pastry is often filled with cheese, vegetable, minced meat or just plain and dusted with powdered sugar. We got cheese börek, 2 glasses of turkish cay and a bottle of water.
Börek , Teas and bottled water: 7 TLY/ 2.5 Euro/3 USD/ 140 PHP
Morning Snack. Simit, a circular, sesame or poppy seed crusted bread which was often sold by men with push carts or on a tray carried on top of their head. It looked like a bagel and tasted like Germany's bretzel . It is visible all over the city and some are sold , still pipping hot .
Simit: 1 TRY/ 0.36 EUR/ 0.44 USD/ 20 PHP
Lunch time. I saw lots of locals queuing at this Döner shop so I joined the line. Got FF a freshly baked, straight from the oven Lahmacun and Ayran to drink, fresh salad on the side which you could just dump into the bread before rolling it all up.
Lahmacun and Ayran : 2.7 TRY/ 0.9 EUR/ 1.20 USD / 54 PHP
A hole in a wall diner just few meters from the fish market is frying some fish fillet. Smells delicious. Thick, fresh and succulent fish filet, with greens, onions and good dose of lemon juice. So I got myself a fish sandwich the size of a half a football. Beats Mc Donalds any day.
Balik Ekmek/ Fish sandwich : 3.9 TRY / 1.4 EUR /1.75 USD / 78.45 PHP
Dessert. While sharing a table with a group of turkish boys, stuffing myself with fish sandwich, I saw this stall frying balls of doughs before dunking it in a syrup. Greasy and sugary. What's not to like?!
Lokma or Turkish donuts: 2.5 TRY/ 0.90 EUR/ 1.12 USD/ 50 PHP
After suffering from a nasty food poisoning in Rome from eating seafood risotto, I'm weary eating seafoods of unknown origin. But this shop is right in the middle of a fish market, with sea creatures so fresh, it could come back to life when tossed back into the sea. Plus, locals and lots and lots of them are eating and buying it. And they all looked well..
I gave it a try. It was delicious! Tasted better than I expected. The mussel was stuffed with savoury and spice- laden rice. No wonder Anthony Bourdain also risked his digestive tract for these babies! I could have wolf down the entire tray but I'm so full, I only manage to eat 2 big mussels.
2 pcs Midye Dolma: 1.5 TRY/ 0.5 EUR / 0.67 USD / 30 PHP
Afternoon Tea. Just when I thought I could eat no more. A spotted a tray of glazed churros-like treats just across the street. I heard it calling my name. So I went to say hello.
All those munching and eating made me thirsty. So FF and I went inside a cozy and almost toasty cafe. Ordered an un-Turkish and non -traditional tetra pak lemon ice tea . From Lipton.. (^-^)
Turkish Churros: 1 TRY/ 0.36 EUR/ 0.44 USD/ 20 PHP
2 packs of Ice Teas: 6 TRY/ 2.9 EUR / 3.5 USD / 160 PHP
FF and I spent almost 7 hours eating our way through Kadiköy. We went back to the European side of Turkey, tired but rapturously sated we completely skipped dinner. By the way, all those eating and drinking cost us a mere 25. 6 TRY / 9.25 EUR/ 11. 5 USD/ 514 Philippine Peso!" Awesome! Should have done it on the first day.