Chocolate soufflé and wet hamburgers: exploring Istanbul’s food scene

28 Mar 2019

by Robin Nierynck

A multicultural metropolis, Istanbul sits on the border between Europe and Asia, and is steeped in history. From architecture to food – Istanbul’s identity is marked by a myriad of cultural influences, including the Egyptians, Romans and the Byzantine Empire.

The city differentiates itself with its urban lifestyle, business centers, high builds and dense population: with over 15 million inhabitants, Istanbul is the most populated city in Turkey, and the fourth most populous city in the world.

The locals

Our local teams are experts in their food scene, and along the way have gathered some exciting insights about the ways in which people eat and order in cities worldwide.

Our love of food is universal – but what culinary quirks appear across the globe?

Our teams at Yemeksepeti make it their business to be experts in their field. Founded by four graduates in 2001 with a vision to create the biggest kitchen in the world, Yemeksepeti has since become the leading online food delivery platform in Turkey.

By making huge strides in growing its operations and improving its service, Yemeksepeti is bringing the delectable flavours of Istanbul to its residents day in day out.

The favorites

Like most cities, Istanbul has its own culinary quirks and specialities.

‘Wet burgers’ are a local hit

Istanbul is known for its historic seafood restaurants, which line the shores of the Bosphorus Strait, and its eclectic Ottoman cuisine, which blends flavors from Turkey, Greece, the Balkans, and parts of the Caucasus and the Middle East.

The most trending dishes in Istanbul (where orders grew by more than 50% in 2018) are çiğ köfte, soup, lahmacun (turkish pizza), seafood and coffee.

While in Turkey more widely, chicken wraps or adana wraps are the wrap of choice, in Istanbul hungry customers prefer steak wraps.

Chocolate Soufflé has stolen the hearts of Istanbul residents

The “wet burger” is native and exclusive to Istanbul. It consists of a beef burger soaked in a garlicky tomato sauce – and it’s a local hit (especially as a late night snack). In 2018, the people of Istanbul ordered no fewer than 352.000 wet hamburgers on the Yemeksepeti platform.

To end the meal, Istanbul’s favorite dessert order is chocolate soufflé.

Istanbul’s favorite dishes in order:
  • Turkish cuisine
  • Burger
  • Pizza
  • Döner
  • Desserts
  • Sandwich
  • Chicken
  • Soup
  • Pide
  • Çiğ köfte

l-r: coffee, turkish pizza, döner, seafood, köfte and pide are among Istanbul’s most popular dishes

The facts

Some quick numbers: people around the age of 24 place the majority of Yemeksepeti orders in Istanbul, Friday is the most popular day for ordering food, and the busiest time for food ordering in Istanbul is 7PM.

Istanbul orders make up over half of Turkey’s daily order volume. The order sizes in the city are also on average 17% higher.

With 4 million registered cars in Istanbul, traffic is a constant. The cities’ roads wind up and down, testing even the most dedicated cyclist. This inevitably comes with some delivery challenges, but that’s part of Istanbul life!

Which city’s food scene would you like to discover next? Let us know on our social channels: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn.

Find out more about our local teams and take a look behind the scenes of our Yemeksepeti office in Istanbul.