Fish and seafood

Fish and seafood

By
Andy Harris
Contains
13 recipes
Published by
Quadrille Publishing
ISBN
9781849493765
Photographer
David Loftus

There are so many good fish markets and restaurants in Istanbul and so many different ways of enjoying a great seafood experience. Locals follow the seasons religiously when it comes to buying and eating fish. January and February are the best time to eat hamsi (anchovy) and istavrit (horse mackerel); April for kalkan (turbot) but make sure you choose a male one as they taste better than the female; sardalya (sardines) in June; kılıç (swordfish) in July and August; palamut (bonito) in September and October; and lüfer (bluefish) in November and December. Around the Karaköy fish market, there’s simply grilled or fried seafood in humble fish cafés and make-shift stalls along the water’s edge. Across the Galata Bridge in Eminönü in front of the Spice Bazaar and Yeni Cami mosque, there’s the rite of passage of the famous fish sandwich: seagulls, tourists and Turks mill around the kitchen barges moored in the Golden Horn, churning out endless cheap and cheerful fried fish and onion rolls to the hungry crowds, all washed down with turnip juice or ayran . Further afield on the Asian side, close to the dock in Moda, is the legendary Koço Lokantası, a sprawling fish restaurant run by Greeks. It is built over a tiny chapel where an ayazma (sacred spring) was found by local fishermen, who also discovered an icon of Saint Catherine in the ruins of an old church on the same site. Visiting Greeks always descend the steps to light a beeswax candle in front of the many icons inside, before feasting on tender octopus salad, fried baby red mullet and memorable grilled lüfer. Make sure you also try pickled lakerda (made from migrating one-year-old bonito coming down from the Bosphorus), an expensive delicacy that aficionados always have with glasses of chilled rakı when in Istanbul.

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