Sunday, January 10, 2010

Fish in Bread

The fishermen selling grilled fish on their boats have always been near the Eminonu ferry port. When I was a young banker working on a branch on that district, I often had my lunch there. It was delicious, healthy and cheap. The menu was simple. Grilled fish fillet, stuffed in a half loaf of bread...On a good weather, while you were watching the passing boats, it was a delight to eat fish there.

Since then years passed and for so many years, fishermen who were handing down the fish in bread from their boats to their hungry clients survived and became a part of İstanbul's age old culture.

However when something become so popular, people starts to look ways for making more money out of it and as a result it will start to loose its authenticity. The same thing happened to good old fishermen. Local municipality banned the old boats because of health reasons and started to rent these rather strange boats which were probably copied from the old boats of the Ottoman Sultans. A strange choice but as a result the whole thing turned into a cheap tourist attraction. A very sad ending to the memories of my youth..

They have also added the pickle sellers in the same style.

Well, I miss the old boats and the real fishermen....


  1. I know what you mean - it's never the same is it ? Makes for another great post though. Hope you have a great week.

  2. I can see why you miss the old, simple, and genuine.

    Makes a nice post, though.

  3. I know what you mean...
    Welcome to the sterile, heartless, superficial world...
    Soon it looks the same all over the world.
    We have already IKEA and skyscrapers, H&M...
    Soon our environment looks the same where ever we are...

  4. Well, at least you have your memories of when the experience was real and authentic! Cherish them!

  5. Know still looks like fun. There aren't any plastic superheroes or fantasy creatures running around. I bet the fish is still fresh and tasty too. You need to come to America to see really crass commercialism!

  6. And you know what is even sadder? A generation from now, there will be people looking back at THOSE wretched looking things and saying, with a sigh, "Weren't those old boats wonderful?" Personally, I'd say those dolphins leaping off the front of the boat suggest the boat isn't particularly sea-worthy.
    By the way, I love the new banner.. looks splendid! Who says all change is bad!

  7. every time we return home to iceland, we find more and more situations like this. they painted a huge fishing ship entirely gold, hoping to turn it into a tourist gambling didn't last long, but it sits in the harbor as a reminder of dumb ideas.

  8. There are some things that should be left well enough alone. Progress is not always a good thing and that's just the case with something like this. A little guy gets an idea and can supplement his income, then big business steps in and ruins the whole thing. So incredibly sad.

  9. You know, Aysegul, since reading earlier a sign in one of your photos, I've been recalling tough times in the land here.
    Old timers who lived through World War I in Israel tell the story of "ekmek."
    As British forces neared Jerusalem to conquer it in 1917, and when they moved northward in 1918, the poor Turkish soldiers walked through the street, one by one, or even entered homes, saying "Ekmek yok!" and begging for bread.

    No one had enough food here then.
    What they would have given for one fish in bread ...

  10. Hi-

    I saw youover at "Bonnie's - The Original Art Studio" and I liked what you wrote on her lastpost soI thought I would come over and say "hi".
    And much to my delight I find you are in Istanbul. I Lived there for a while,in Turkey- Yalova actually, across the Bosphorous Sea - into Asia. I so loved seeing these pictures - brought back memories and smells too. Ekmek and horse poo, :-)

    I will poke around some more and hope you will come by my place too.
    Love to you
    peace and
    "teshkerderum" = 'thank you' sorry about the spelling.

  11. Nothing feels like a memory of long ago, you know. But, I guess, with changing times always come changing ways. I've seen the same happen in Cairo over the years, but the spirit of the city lives on. So, while those cosmetic things affect us, it's the heart of the place that matters, I think. I do love the topmost photo - it's such a familiar sight in many Mediterranean cities. Thank you for sharing!


  12. I am not a fish eater, but it does look like fun. Everything changes with time and regrettably a lot of our favorite things disappear.

  13. I Love what Shellbelle wrote above, so true. It is so sad when change occurs and it is NOT change for the good. Why can't things stay the way we like them?? I have similar feelings to places in Vermont I travel to, it is becoming so different from the memories I have of being there with my grandparent's. Now there are so many fancy stores and outlets. I miss the quaint old fashioned shops in the countryside. Thank goodness there are still some left.

  14. Time changes so many things including our favourites:(

  15. I often find myself disappointed and frustrated because I can't find so many of the things I delighted in, and took for granted, when I was younger. I ache to be able to wander into a small, independent store to buy an single iced popsicle in a little paper cup made the night before by the shop owner, or a very fresh fish just minutes off the boat, or a $50.00 dress made with the fine tailoring now found only in $500.00 dresses. Things will never be the same again, I'm afraid.

  16. HI Aysegul
    It is sad they have modernised this age old tradition. We had a cute little cafe at the beach near my home and many years ago the owner was pushed at as someone may a deal with the council to put a 'glossy cafe' there... just not the same.. nor as affordable... Have a great week xx Julie

  17. Hi
    Its a pity that the old boats and the simple menu have disappeared. The new boats look exotic and enchanting - That's probably what a lot of tourists want I suppose! Hope I travel to Istanbul one day.

  18. I can see why you liked the old simple boats with their simple fare, the fish stuffed into half a loaf of bread sounds so delicious, I would enjoy that treat. When we catch lots of fish I sometimes make fish sandwiches for lunch as a treat, we really find that very tasty specially when sitting beside the ocean the fish swam in just a few moments before. Yum.
    Those new boats are so over done!

  19. hi aysegul
    things always change *sigh *
    reading all the comments tho, there are so many different perspectives. its always in the way we look at things.

  20. It is hard when things we treasured as children get changed or eliminated. Childhood memories are so special.

    I appreciate your kind comments on my blog. I have really come to appreciate our little exchanges here in the virtual world.

  21. The real fishermen sounds much better to me too...

    Commercialization is so pervasive sometimes.

  22. nice post, Aysegul! with your blog, I relized that we missed many things ( to visit and watch) during our travel to Turkey...

    BTW, I see Dina's comments here in your blog. It made me happy that you are friends now, when you were in Mashhad I talked you about her and told you waht a wondeful lady is she :)

  23. so sad.
    They even make them wear matching outfits.

  24. Sad to learn this.

    Authenticity, at times, turns out to be its own enemy, especially when advertising gets into the picture.

  25. I might have come to the shore and bought this fish in bread from these sellers, not knowing the history but for you. I would have known, however, that these guys weren't historical! too fancy.

  26. I can see why you miss them. Isn't progress great? Not. Newer, bigger, better, flashier. That's usually when I lose interest in something as what brought me in is no longer there. Sad.

  27. Interesting. Clearly shows how money becomes important, the tradition is lost.

  28. I would miss them too! It's so sad when things change like that because of money. It sounds like a wonderful memory, At least you still have that! :)-Jennifer

  29. Even for the tourists it's a shame to have the authenticity taken away. How can you know a country if the country changes for the tourist? We have to go further and further to see REAL! Happy memories to you :-)

  30. How very sad. For the sake of money, all the good, simple, old times are always taken away.

  31. Actually I am a big fan of progress-but those new boats are simply garish and very poor taste, no matter what age you happen to live in. I like progress when it means improvements, like making things more available with a wide selection, faster, cheaper, safer, easier for people with handicaps, easier for the elderly, more sanitary, ecological or just better quality.

    From the pictures you show this "improvement" doesn't seem to have any of those things.



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