Balık ekmek, in English “fish sandwich”, is a popular Turkish street food. It is made from a fish fillet, which is grilled and served in a crispy baguette with salad, tomatoes, and herbs. The fish is seasoned with salt and pepper before grilling, and before serving, it can be drizzled with freshly squeezed lemon juice. This brings out the natural taste of the fish, which becomes the main star of the sandwich.
Fish sandwiches are most commonly found in Turkish coastal cities, such as Istanbul, Izmir, or Bodrum. There, you can enjoy the sandwich with a beautiful view of the sea. The preparation of the sandwich is not complicated, and you can often find small stands that function like a well-oiled machine. In the photo below, three people are taking care of the preparation – a man with money takes orders and manages finances, the second man assembles the sandwich, and the third (out of frame, holding the fish) takes care of the grill. Processing an order takes just a few minutes.
Balık ekmek is not only tasty but also affordable. One portion from a street vendor in Üsküdar Square in Istanbul costs 30 lira, which is about 1.60 EUR.
If you like fish, definitely try balık ekmek!