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Dec 02
Istanbul’s Top 5 Street Foods: #3 – Kızılkayalar’s Wet Burger

A Wet Burger Dream -- photo by Jonathan Lewis
Editor’s note: This is the third installment in our look at Istanbul’s top five street foods.

The sign may read “Wet Burger” (“Islak Burger” in Turkish), but there’s a lot more to say about Kızılkayalar’s moist mini-patties than that. How about “Heavenly Slider,” “Binge Drinker’s Delight,” or “The Best 2 Lira Ever Spent in Taksim Square?”

The Kızılkayalar experience starts from a distance, most vividly late at night. It begins with a whiff of garlic detected well across Taksim Square, then, through the bustling crowd, eyes lock onto the bright lights of the steam box holding the burger bounty. Hungry customers are finally tugged in, like a tanker on the Bosphorus, by the steady foghorn voice of the Kızılkayalar hamburger man bellowing “Buyurun, buyurun, buyurun!” (Roughly: “Come and get it!”)

Make no mistake, the burger is wet, having been doused by an oily, tomato-based sauce before incubating in a glass-lined burger hamam. There, it becomes even wetter, the once fluffy white bun rendered a greasy, finger-licking radioactive shade of orange, both chewy and slick on either side of the garlicky beef patty. Like an order of nachos at the movies, or an elephant ear at the carnival, the wet burger is a sinful pleasure that flies in the face of our otherwise high culinary standards. But at 2 a.m. on a Friday night, nothing is as good as a Kızılkayalar wet burger – except for another one.

Though Kızılkayalar does have a cramped indoor seating area, we recommend eating it standing up out front. That way, it’s easier to fish a couple of coins from your pocket for the second round.

Address: Sıraselviler Caddesi 6, Taksim Square (open 24/7)

(photo by Jonathan Lewis)

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8 Responses to “ Istanbul’s Top 5 Street Foods: #3 – Kızılkayalar’s Wet Burger ”
  1. During the protests, Kızılkayalar pretended to lend people safe haven from the tear gas. Then, they locked them in and called the police. Later, people came by and smashed it up pretty good. It’s boarded up now, and the management will probably never conjure the stones to open again after what they did.
    Still, this is what it was like to eat a wet hamburger from Kızılkayalar. It was exquisite. They had the secret recipe, and for a couple moments, to consume this street food was like a little, greasy spot of heaven. R.I.P.

  2. Kizilkayalar

    Oct 23, 2013

    As Isaac mentioned Kizilkayalar is long gone for most Turkish youth. They have betrayed those who were protesting the government by giving the impression that “Kizilkayalar” was a safe place to stay away the tear gas that the police used brutally. They could have easily stayed out of the chaos if they wanted to but they chose to mislead people instead.

  3. As both of them mentioned ”kizilkayalar” is really locked people and called poliçe.After that they closed few days and nobody goes there.its not important what comments said everone saw ”kizilkayalar”s behavior.if u are comin to taxim square for WET BURGER please dont choose KIZILKAYALAR for the innocent people suffering against government.There are many other alternatives around square..

  4. If you are in Istanbul, come here and have the wetburgers; they are great. We also had a döner but regretted it. Not that the döner was bad, but the wetburgers are so much better and cheaper. Great place for a cheap meal.

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