Kumpir, the typical stuffed potato
If in Turkey you happen to see baked potatoes, large seasoned potatoes like those found in certain European countries, do not worry! You have not been transported to another state but you are facing another typical Turkish street food. The potato is cooked, split in half and stuffed with anything: cheese, Russian salad, peas, mushrooms, cabbage, pickle, bulgur… And remember: the best seem to be the ones from Ortaköy, in the Beşiktaş district.
What is kumpir?
Kumpir is one of the key dishes of Istanbul’s street food culture. It is a large potato (usually from the Smyrna region) cooked in the oven or on the grill and stuffed, typical of Turkey.
The potato opens in half and cooks until the inside becomes creamy, almost like a pasta. To achieve this, it is cooked with butter and mixed with cheese.
Then, it’s all fantasy: entire showcases of ingredients of the most varied kinds will appear in front of you and you will be able to stuff your potato as you like best. From mushrooms to peas, from Russian salads to frankfurters, through corn and pickles up to grilled green vegetables and chicken nuggets, without forgetting sauces. Just point at them with your finger to see them magically materialized on your potato.
Where to eat kumpir in Istanbul?
To experience a remarkable kumpir experience, we suggest you move away from the tourist itineraries of the center. The must is to get your potato in Ortaköy. Close to the small market of this village on the Bosphorus, you will find several kiosks where you can taste kumpir, served in a tray with two teaspoons.
Here the price of a kumpir can even reach 15 Turkish lira but take it as a maximum margin (usually it is between 7 and 10 lire).