we're in Istanbul Turkey and we're here to eat this Istanbul food series is all about sharing with you the city's best food Istanbul's food culture is vibrant delicious and steeped in history this is our third video from Istanbul and we're here to hunt down the best local food watch out for nose to tail eating, traditional Turkish food and meze feast in this four-part series we'll show you the city's tastiest food from hole-in-the-wall restaurants to unusual Turkish street food you don't want to miss this series get ready for some mouth-watering food I'm Thomas and I'm Sheena and we're Chasing a Plate we hope you're hungry let's eat we've got a bunch of really interesting and hopefully delicious Turkish food in store for you today we're super excited about this video and what we're going to eat so Turkey's cuisine is super regional but what is great about Istanbul is that you can try all of these regional specialties because there are so many people in this city and they've brought their food with them to the big city and they're often amazing versions of these dishes our first stop is for a thing called tantuni it is a wrap that's filled with diced beef and it is stuffed into a wrap and it's from the south of Turkey from a city called Mersin we've got our tantuni in front of us and this looks really good I am starving this morning so I'm excited to get into it so we ordered two types this is I suppose the non-traditional one it's served in a bread roll half a bread roll and we've got the diced beef we've got some tomatoes, some parsley and some onions which I think are covered in sumac and the bread check it out it is soaking in all of that juice that the beef was cooking in so he was moving the beef around on that hot plate or that rather unique cooking surface its a round hotplate and then there's a well in the middle and he just sort of pushes the beef in and out and then he threw some chilli powder over the top and so it's created this sort of saucy chilli goodness and he pressed the bread into that sauce so it just sort of soaked up all of those juices the meat juices so I think it's gonna taste real good and then this here is the traditional tantuni so it's served in a lavish which is this really really thin flat bread same and things inside so the diced beef, the parsley the tomato and the onions and then to go with it all we've got a plate of lemon wedges and also some of these delicious pickled chillies which really add a bit of tang and heat to your meal these are very common wherever you eat in Turkey you often get a plate of these chilli peppers okay I think I'm gonna start with the trad so the tantuni which is wrapped in, more durum style so roll style in a lavash that is really good I think the overwhelming flavour is that of the beef there isn't too strong of a chilli kick so it's not really spicy at all just a tiny tingling but the beef is so juicy, full of flavour what I love about Turkish food is that it's very simple so you can really taste the parsley you can taste the sumac on the onions so sumac is the dried berries from the sumac bush they crush them up they taste sort of lemony and tangy you can really taste that in here and the tomatoes just add a fresh burst of flavour what I'm gonna do is just grab some of these lemon wedges because they're sitting here I reckon the thing to do is just squeeze that into the tantuni and then I might just have a pickled chilli on hand and go bite, bite I am loving it with that pickle chilli quite spicy this one very very tangy sour, vinegary and added to that beef it's just like the perfect combination this is very good okay let's get into this roll style look how soft the bread is it's so so pillowy all right ohhhh looks good that is some chewy chewy bread, you know why? I think it's because it's been sitting for a bit while we were getting our shots it's quite chewy it's got a tonne of flavour though so very very chewy but because he soaked up all of that meat juice into the bread it's just got spice, it's got flavour it's really delicious I feel like maybe the bread overwhelms this version of the tantuni in the wrap you can really taste the meat next up we're having a dish that we've seen around a lot during our two-month stay in Istanbul but we've never managed to have it yet and I'm super excited about this one it's called kelle tandır and it's a roasted whole sheep's head so in the last video you would have seen that we had a boiled sheep's head and it was absolutely incredible so this has got a very high bar to pass to be as good as that but I can't wait to try this one this stall is right outside a butcher shop and we've got all of the kelle tandır the roasted sheep's head in the this little glass box they're steaming away but abi is just cutting it up now he's just cracked open the head taken out this is the brain here the brain and then all sorts of bits, cheek and then is this the dil? The tongue abi? The tongue ohhh the smell is incredible pepper çok lezzetli (very delicious) teşekkür ederim abi (thank you brother) cannot wait to get into this so many gorgeous looking bits teşekkür ederim abi (thank you brother) so abi has just given us two forks we've got the brains here there's the fat behind the eyes and what he did was he finished it off with a sprinkling of salt some oregano and some chilli flakes this is a super unique dish I love that for one we're sitting in a butcher's shop to eat it so literally a butcher shop all the raw meat is right here beside us but the dish itself is super unique so you order an entire sheep's head which they have sitting there hot in the cabinet they take out the head and then he very meticulously breaks it down so he starts by hacking the back of the skull off so he can lift the brain out whole and then he just slowly breaks it all down so he's breaking out the pulls out the eye breaks off the back bit of the eye that you can eat breaks the jaw off it's really interesting to watch it done and it did take quite a long time it was maybe a four or five minute process to break it all down in a really orderly fashion and so now because it's all been broken down perfectly we have this plate of all the different bits so there's cheeks in here there's bits of tongue there's bits off the back of the eye somewhere hiding just here I think we've got some big bits of brain here so I think let's start with a bit of brain so the brain looks super creamy it's really soft and covered in a lot of the chilli and the dried oregano my god that is creamy oh really good flavour it's been really well seasoned so it's got a beautiful saltiness and pepperiness but it also has got that chilli which works perfectly with it it's a unique flavour it does taste a little like lamb but it's a little bit more harsh on the tongue but not in a bad way that is really good let's just try a little bit of just the general sort of I think it's probably a piece of cheek so just a beautiful and it's unbelievably soft oh the flavour of that the meat to fat ratio is perfect and the fat is so juicy that really really good now let's go for a bit of this eye so this is off the back of the eye it's the fat off that basically I think that holds the eye into place a little layer of fat around the back of the eye interesting really beautiful flavour the fat itself I thought it was going to be super squishy and juicy but actually the little stem part of the fat was had a little bit of bite it felt texturally like fat that had congealed and gone hard but it's not like that once you've actually eaten it so it slips down doesn't coat your mouth in a disgusting way and a really good flavour what I'm finding super unique about this dish as we get through the plate is its richness it's incredibly rich and it's because the the fat content to meat it feels like the fat content is quite high I think normally if you have say a leg of lamb you get a whole slice of meat with just a little bit of fat on top and a lot of the fats being trimmed because this is literally the entire head you've got real pockets of fat tucked all in through the meaty bits so it makes for an incredibly rich experience and it is super good it's really good it's so well cooked it's a brilliant dish I loved that experience after we finished eating our roasted sheep's head we just sat in the butcher's shop having tea and chatting to the owners of the shop people here in Turkey are so friendly it's one of the reasons why we love this place so much next stop we are heading for some traditional Turkish milk puddings this restaurant is a lokantasi which is a simple tradesmen restaurant they specialize in serving sort of homestyle cooked savoury meals but this lokantasi is really famous for its puddings they've been producing puddings since the 1960s and this places is really popular with the locals we have ordered two of our favorite Turkish milk puddings so this one here is called kazandibi and it is a milk pudding that has also got a really unique ingredient and that is chicken yes it is a milk and chicken pudding this one here is called sütlaç and it is a milk rice pudding you can see underneath that leathery skin on the top that it's really really wobbly it should be really good and then to wash it all down we've got some cups of çay so tea I'm just going to pop my sugar in the tea because the tea here is quite strong and it can be a little bit bitter if you don't add the sugar tea is just the thing that everyone drinks at all hours of the day you just sit on the street corner drink a cup of tea it's a great way to while away the time, I've got to get into this kazandibi this is one of my favourite Turkish desserts so the use of chicken actually harks back to the Ottoman times it was very common to use chicken in puddings together with cornflour and that's like how they would have their pudding kazandibi has got this beautiful burnt burnished crust I should say on the top because it means bottom of the pan that's what kazandibi translates to and what they do is they actually light the pan on fire and then the sugars in the milk and whatnot creates that beautiful colour look at that wobbly mouthful it's beautiful it's a great texture it's very thick super creamy and that burnished top is a little bit smoky it adds a really great depth to the dish he also sprinkled a little bit of cinnamon over the top so you've got that beautiful earthy flavour coming through too I'm gonna have a sip of my tea tea in Turkey there's nothing like it so you can see the chicken fibres in the kazandibi if you look really really close but you can't taste the chicken it doesn't have a chicken flavour it's got such a great texture it's very very thick and almost stretchy and the milkiness of it is just sensational all right time to try this sütlaç so you can see this leathery skin that's formed on the top from the milk and then it's sort of been scorched a bit and then again a lot of cinnamon over the top so let's just dig in whoa look at that oh my goodness it is so creamy looking all right and quite watery not watery it's just runny because it is so so creamy you get little tender grains of rice in there it's not overly sweet which is great there's just nothing like a really simple milk pudding next up we're having a very classic Turkish thing and this this meal sort of sums up our style of videos I guess we're not all about big things just because they're expensive or just because they're huge we're about the true local food the stuff the locals are really eating so now we're having a meze experience which is a very cool local thing to do here in Istanbul it's probably one of our favourite ways to eat here it's a quintessential Turkish dining experience meze is where you graze on a number of small plates both hot and cold and you drink so meze's a very neat meal where you order lots of little things often the cold stuff comes first and then the hot stuff comes later so it can be a long slow meal which is great we love this place because it's got all this brilliant outdoor seating so you're in this lovely laneway everyone's sitting outside it's really warm here at this time of year it's September so it's a lovely time to be here sitting outside dining alfresco so we're just looking at the menu and deciding what to get there's so much choice I don't know what we're gonna do it's going to be impossible this here is rakı and you have to drink it's basically mandatory to drink rakı when you're eating meze it's a spirit and it's basically the national spirit it's an aniseed flavour so it tastes like black jellybeans what you do is you pour yourself a little bit of rakı or you pour your dining companion a bit of rakı and then you pour or top it up with water and it actually does something very very cool all right let me just get into this water and you'll see look it changes colour so it turns into like a cloudy mixture and its best with ice so I'm just gonna give Thomas a bit of ice here now we've got our cold meze dishes to start so we ordered a number of things we've got some oyster mushroom this here is a red pepper dip there's a bit of um parsley some onions some dill I think in there this here is the perfect combo this is kavun which is melon and beyaz peynir which is a hard cheese it's quite tangy and they go together perfectly this here is marinated sea bass we've never tried this one but it looks quite interesting it's got some sort of yellow sauce over the top usually your cold dishes arrive first and then your hot food comes later but we've been really slow in filming and we've actually got everything all at once so we also ordered some hamsi şiş so hamsi are anchovies and it is anchovy season right now in Istanbul and so they've been cooked on the grill on a skewer just slipped off the skewer, just slipped off the skewer and they look incredible and the staff also brought over a couple of other dishes just on the house so this looks like some sort of cheese dip with some nuts in it and then this is a red cabbage and I think maybe a silverbeet dip this all looks really really good Wow they are being super kind to us here so they've just given us one of the more beautiful dishes I've ever seen so look at this dish it's covered in pomegranate seeds that's the beautiful pink seeds it's got some massive bits of walnut on there a lot of parsley and it looks like it's been drizzled with pomegranate molasses that's gonna be amazing there's also something it looks like puffed rice or something in there I'm not sure what that is but I'm starting with the hot food so I've got the hamsi so these are the anchovies and we're really lucky that while we're here it's anchovy season so these little guys are in season so you can see it's a whole fish so they're cooked on a skewer they've just got some herbs on them and they'll just be chucked on the grill so let's get a bunch of anchovies oh my god Wow that is incredibly well cooked fish it's super juicy inside so it burst with juice it's the most stunning flavour sometimes anchovies get a bad name because we often think of them in a jar salted but these are just fresh anchovies so they're just a beautiful white fish that is so good now I want to try this this salad actually that we just got so this pomegranate salad with the walnuts in it just get a nice big spoon of that look how much parsley there is Wow that is good so it's a flat leaf parsley which is incredibly flavoursome those pomegranate seeds just pop with a beautiful sweetness and juiciness a little bit crunch from the walnuts and I'm still not actually sure what that other ingredient is it might be little bits of bulgur which is a wheat product and then it's got pomegranate molasses on so that's really tangy that is incredibly good now I know that this seems like a boring combo melon and just some white cheese but I'm telling you that I've become addicted to this meze dish since we arrived it is insane alright so I've got a bite of melon a bite of the cheese it is seriously a match made in heaven the kavun or the melon bursts with sweetness it is so juicy and then you have the cheese which is very tangy and salty it's really intense it's just the perfect combination I love this style of eating you can just pick away because everything's apart from the hamsi is cold so it doesn't matter about time you just sit slowly pick away drink your rakı I'm gonna try the oyster mushrooms Ohhhhh oh they are incredible wow they're good I think they're cooked down with a lot of onions so they're really really sweet and the mushroom is perfectly cooked it's got a little bit of bite hasn't turned to mush a little bit of rakı that is such a good alcohol so if you like aniseed flavour or think black jelly beans so really strong in aniseed that is so good this is such a great way to eat Thomas and I are just gonna get into the rakı and get into all of this delicious meze if there's a particular dish that we didn't talk about like that marinated fish which was that you really want to know more about let us know in the comments this has been such a great day of eating in Istanbul the food culture here is phenomenal