Istanbul street food series: midye dolma

Who needs oysters when you can have this seafood crowdpleaser?


Blue mussels in their shiny black shells are quite beautiful to look at and are a popular seafood staple in many cuisines from North America to the Middle East. Their orange meat can be served steamed, cooked, fried or baked. Containing more protein than oysters, blue mussels are an incredibly rewarding snack, no matter whether you enjoy them on a seaside walk or a night out. In Turkey, these mussels are most often served as midye dolma, stuffed mussels, a dish in which the shells are filled with herbed rice, pine nuts and currants and then boiled in hot water.


The result? Bite-sized goodness with integrated spoons if you figure out how to use the top half of the mussel’s shell to your advantage. Don’t worry though, most street-vendors are happy to demonstrate how to eat these aromatic goodie without spilling a single corn of rice. Indulge in a handful of them in between meals or hold your own private seafood street party, but always be aware that your average midye dolma hawker does not walk around town with a fridge on their back. It’s always better to be safe than sorry and go for the stationary vendors when on the hunt for that authentic Turkish mussel experience.