Nuffnang Ads

Showing posts with label Kebab. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kebab. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Istanbul: Popular Sights of Istanbul and a Classic Kebab.

Istanbul, is one of the places that I have always wanted to go since I was a kid.  There is something about this city that is so enchanting. Whether its the never-ending stretches of bustling bazaars,  or the mystical landmarks of the city, I was sold.  Like every other new city I have visited, everything seemed quite normal yet so very foreign.  Our lost faces often earned the glares of the local.  Being ripped off too, soon became part of the experience. Despite all these down sides, I was liking it.  It was an adventure! So much that walking through a deserted street in the middle of the night became a thing of fun rather than an element of concern.

With 3 day and 3 nights, was it possible to travel the city?  The itinerary for us was rather simple.  On the first day, we took in as much of the city basic as we could.   This includes (rather unsurprisingly) the tourist attractions like the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia,  Basilica Cistern, and the Topkapi Palace area.  

These sights are amazing, some more than others.  There is always a queue to go in and for me who tried going into everything, I soon learned that not everything was worth going into.  Which was the best and worst tourist attraction to go into?  

The Best:  Basilica Cistern.
This Basilica was once a source of water for the local community and served the community for many centuries.  Now a converted tourist attraction, the soaring pillars are bragging rights of age old construction done right.  Everything in the Basilica was simply amazing! Peer into the water and also notice some zombie looking fish that has been put into the Basilica to mitigate any mosquito breeding activities.

The OK: Blue Mosque
I have been longing to see the iconic Blue Mosque ever since I was a kid.  For some odd reason I even thought that Aladdin was related to Turkey rather than the Arabs!  But be warned that this icon looks far better on the outside than on inside.  The historians might disagree but for the commoner in me, a long gaze from outside was all I needed to embrace the greatness of the Ottoman Empire.  For the ladies, always remember to cover up as a matter of respect.  Head to toe.

The Worst: Hagia Sophia.
On one end is the iconic Blue Mosque with free entry and on the other end is the “pink” mosque named Hagia Sophia with paid entry.  From the outside, the building marvellously s the skyline with its warm pink tones making it inviting to those seeing it from afar.  But the inside tells a different story.  It was mundane, unfinished and perhaps unmaintained.  It was definitely not worth my dollar.

After all that walking, I was ready for a proper Turkish feed.  For lunch were some good old kebabs at  Sehzade Cag Kebap.
 I can already imagine people frowning and saying “Its like the one I had outside my house”.  Not all kebabs are made equal and the ones at Sehzade Cag Kebap reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend in the Netherlands before; that original Turkish food is very minimalistic and often only used salt and pepper for seasoning.  

The skewers of thinly sliced lamb were a reflection of that.  It was hard to understand it at first but the gamey-smokey lamb skewers were a sign of simplicity rather than a lack of creativity.  I enjoyed it as there were a mix of textures.  Some of the edges were crispy while the middle pieces were a lot more tender.  But in saying that, I think two skewers with several sides was all I could handle.  Anymore and I would have gotten bored!

We also ordered a few other things like the curdled cheese which tasted like solid yoghurt, and the “very spicy” chilli sauce which tasted like salsa. Great accompaniment which lifted the flavours of the lamb kebab!

The very "spicy"  chilli sauce which was more of a Turkish salsa!

The yoghurt condiment:

Part. 2 coming soon!