Behold the Simit: A Very Crusty Turkish Bread

Have you tried the most popular street snack in all of Istanbul? Everyone in Turkey seems to have a simit in one hand, a small glass of black tea in the other.

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The simit is a circular bread, loaded with sesame seeds and baked until very crusty on the outside, while still remaining soft on the inside. They can be found in a little red cart on most street corners in Istanbul for about .75 Turkish Lira (about 50 cents, US currency). For a girl who orders her bagels, "toasted well done, VERY well done," it was my bread nirvana. The simits already came super-toasted!

A version of the simit can be found all over Turkey, as well as other nearby countries such as Greece. The simit tradition varies slightly not only from country to country, but city to city and even by neighborhood. Every cart sells the traditional simit, as well as a few other bread products — but none which are as tasty as the classic, in my opinion.

I usually snack on nuts or fruit while traveling, but I found myself going with the flow and biting into a hefty simit every time I got even the slightest pang of hunger. The result? I was pretty full the duration of our stay in Turkey which was not two weeks, but two months!

Related: Turkish Cacik

(Images: Leela Cyd Ross)