Midye dolma, or stuffed mussels, are my favorite Turkish appetizer. I always wondered how this dish was prepared, and recently I found out that the recipe is very simple. To prepare this dish, it is necessary to thoroughly clean fresh mussels (clams). A spicy rice is prepared separately, which is flavored with a mixture of spices, parsley, and onion. The raw clam is very carefully opened and the rice mixture is inserted inside. The clam closes itself and is then steamed for a few minutes.
The resulting dish is tightly enclosed in the shell. Midye dolma is sold by the piece. You tell the vendor how many mussels you want to open. They count them and open them one by one right in front of you. One half of the shell is effectively inserted into the other, creating a kind of “spoon” from which the dish is eaten directly. Before consumption, everything is drizzled with juice from freshly squeezed lemon.
Stuffed mussels are a popular street food, so you can find them in many places. I like to have them at the Güneş Kokoreç restaurant in the Asian part of Istanbul. But I have also been invited to try this delicacy while shopping around the Grand Bazaar, for example. Eating them with locals was a great experience.
One stuffed mussel costs 3 lira, which is about 0.16 EUR. If you don’t have a seafood allergy, I definitely recommend trying midye dolma.
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Accommodation in Istanbul
I wholeheartedly endorse the Mest Hotel located directly in the heart of Istanbul. The hotel is elegantly renovated, the breakfasts are incredible and the views are spectacular. I last stayed here in the fall of 2022 and will definitely be back again.