(Editor’s Note: As 2010 heads to an end, we are looking back at our “Best Bites” of the year and are asking our readers to do the same and share their best Istanbul eating moments with us. This submission comes from Istanbul denizen Jennifer Hattam.)
In my mind, it’s always chilly when I imagine pulling a white plastic chair up to one of the folding tables set crookedly on the patchy grass leading down to the banks of the Golden Horn, behind the Karaköy fish market. A waiter brings over an extra chair to keep my bag out of the mud while I pull my coat and scarf a little bit tighter around me. Just a few feet away, a fisherman pours oil into his boat’s sputtering engine.
It’s always cold because winter is the time for lightly battered and fried hamsi (anchovies), their pleasingly pungent taste balanced with a squirt of lemon, and for a steaming bowl of creamy fish soup, full of tender chunks of seafood. (The fish sandwich served year-round is pretty damn good too.)
The simple, cheap, and satisfying food seems perfectly matched with the view across the Haliç, a working waterway forever in the shadow of the mighty Bosphorus, but one with humble charms of its own. Fishing lines dangle off the Galata Bridge and small ferries steam across the water to the shores of Eminönü, where the mist-shrouded skyline reflects hundreds of years of history.