The 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.
The US may be all abuzz about President Obama’s birth certificate, but the big news in Turkey this week is the proposed Istanbul canal project to dig a second Bosphorus. Prime Minister Recep Erdogan’s self-proclaimed “crazy” project would connect the Sea of Marmara with the Black Sea, making Istanbul a city of “two peninsulas and an island.” Details of the project are still unclear, but it is estimated that it will cost more than $10 billion and would be finished in time for Turkey’s centennial in 2023.
“Today, we are rolling up our sleeves for one of world’s greatest projects which cannot even be compared with Panama Canal, Suez Canal or Corinth Canal,” Erdogan said. “Istanbul is the only city on earth that a sea passes through. With this project, Istanbul will become a city that two seas will pass.”
Turkey’s cultural capital is already known for several historic bodies of water including the Bosphorus strait, which divides Istanbul between Europe and Asia, as well as the Golden Horn, the Sea of Marmara, and the Black Sea. The Bosphorus is one of the busiest and most important waterways in the world, with up to 50,000 passages per year with one-way traffic for tankers. The new canal would alleviate all of the commercial traffic and allow for additional ships to pass. The waterway would be around 30 miles long, 500 feet wide, and 80 feet deep and cut through the European side far west of the city center. The upside for vistors is that the crowded Bosphorus would be returned to sport and pleasure boats, making the classic Bosphorus cruise less polluted and crowded.
Photo courtesy Flickr user alinnman