Am I a Local? Or Still Just a Tourist?

Hi everyone!

So we basically became regulars at a few restaurants on our street. They probably have nicknames for us along the lines of “Those Weird Barely-Speak-Turkish Americans.” But if the food is so good, why would we leave?

We’ll start with the place nearest our apartment.


They have tasty kebabs for a really low price. Recently, a few of us were offered lemonade while they finished making the kebabs. Yay free things! When Natalie and I went to get kebabs during the protests, they made sure we knew what was happening. Through our broken communication, they advised us to not go near the protests. Of course we knew not to wander, but the gesture was very considerate.

All baklava is delicious, but this man makes it better.


Every time we walk into his store, he lights up the room with his smile. He seems so happy to see us! He started giving us samples of the different treats he has on hand before we buy any. Yay free things! He knows we’re all walking out with at least 5 lira worth of baklava. A typical conversation at the end of every school day involves deciding if we’re going to visit Baklava Man.

This is the best place to eat on a college budget.


For only 5 lira, you can get a pile of rice and chicken that makes you feel contently full. Well, in my case, it can last two sittings. You can also get a large bowl of soup. It’s Turkish soup so you don’t even have to question if it’ll be good or not. The rice is buttery tasting with added chickpeas. I’m craving this just talking about it.

This place has everything.


Their menu is huge, but of course we have only ordered the picture options. The service is fantastic; a man that works here can speak clear English. He likes to teach us Turkish words and phrases that would be relevant for casual conversations. For example; Natalie sneezed so he said “bless you” to her and taught us the Turkish version. He actually caught me taking this picture and just smiled and waved.

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