Turkish tea truck offers Istanbul version of food truck trend

tea truckThe food truck craze is nothing new to many Americans. Long a popular foodie option in New York, Los Angeles, and even Cleveland, it’s a food trend that’s constantly evolving to bring new ideas and tastes to the, er, table. The Turkish food blog Istanbul Eats, who launched a book version last year and now offer food tours of the city, spotted a very local version of the mobile eatery trend along the Golden Horn. They posted a few photos of Mehmet Abi’s çay kamyon (that’s tea truck in Turkish) on their Facebook page this week, complete with a seating area for sipping a hot glass. You can find Mehmet’s truck parked by the Karakoy mosque near the hardware market at the Galata Bridge, ask around for the Perşembe Pazarı (Thursday market) to find it.

Turkish çay is already quite mobile. Around Istanbul, you’ll spot men carrying trays of glasses to deliver to local businesses, the empty glasses are later collected or returned to the çay shops. And while coffee chains like Starbucks and Gloria Jean’s are quite popular in Turkey, you won’t find Turks drinking çay out of paper cups, the honor system works well for to-go orders as well.

While the food truck craze as we know it has yet to hit Istanbul, Turkish food is going mobile in other places. Pera Turkish Tacos launched late last year outside the former Tavern on the Green space in Manhattan and recently became the first food cart in the city to get a liquor license.

Nine-day, 62-mile traffic jam in China

Before you start the commute home for the day, consider how bad the traffic could be. Sure, you could get stuck behind a bus or on the train for an hour or so, but how about 9 DAYS?! Thousands of motorists have been stranded on the Beijing-Tibet expressway since August 13th as a road work project has stopped up an already-busy road, and they could be stuck for another few weeks until the project concludes. Heavy traffic is nothing new to the highway, as thousands of trucks pass through daily on one of the few routes into the capital, carrying cargo throughout the country.

Some enterprising (and price-gouging) locals have set up shop along the highway, selling food and drinks at steep prices, though police are patrolling the area around the clock and will remain until the congestion is alleviated. Bored drivers have suggested that “concerts should be held at each congested area every weekend, to alleviate drivers’ homesickness” and why stop there? How about a pop-up hotel or a food truck (though a food bicycle might be better to cut through the stalled vehicles) to ameliorate tension and hunger? There won’t be any traffic tweet-ups, as the government has blocked Twitter along with a number of other websites.

How would you pass the time in the world’s worst traffic jam?

[Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons]

Tripatini launches new “Ask a Travel Expert” features, contest

Gadling first reported on Tripatini, a new social networking website for travelers back in January. The site has earned a devoted following thanks to its large and growing community of passionate travelers, journalists and industry professionals. Recently Tripatini unveiled a new feature to tap into the collective experience and expertise of its members called “Ask a Travel Expert.”

For all the information that’s floating on the Internet, one of the most frustrating aspects of travel is finding reliable, up-to-date information. Tripatini’s Ask a Travel Expert fills that gap, creating a dedicated Q&A forum where information seekers can ask the site’s savvy travelers and travel experts specific questions about their trips. Right now there’s ongoing discussions about New York food trucks, shark cage diving in South Africa and tips for the Hawaiian isle of Kauai. Tripatini has also built their Ask a Travel Expert function around an embeddable widget which can be added to websites anywhere on the web.

Best of all, to help promote their new Ask a Travel Expert feature, Tripatini is giving away a trip for two to London now through June 30th. All you have to do to participate is simply ask or answer a question during the contest period and you’re entered for a chance to win. A forum to get answers to your most pressing travel questions and a chance to win a free trip? Sounds like good deal to me. Head on over to Tripatini’s Ask a Travel Expert page and complete the easy sign up for an account if you’d like to give it a try.