Why vegetarian is the way to go in Istanbul…

I saw this recipe linked on a blog linked on my cousins blog this morning, and I thought it looked really good. I particularly liked that it was described as ‘comfort food’ and very easy to make. That was exactly the kind of food I wanted to cook today! Anyway, I made my little list this morning before going to work and picked up most of the more ‘exotic’ ingredients (by Istanbul standards) on my way home at one of the larger supermarkets in our area, and then headed to the local butcher’s for the beef, and on to our smaller local supermarket for the items that are easy to find in Istanbul (to save me carrying heavy potatoes, flour and bottles of sunflower oil up a big hill).

Just for the fun and insanity of it, I’ll give you a run-down on the prices of the various ingredients in this meal that would probably be pretty freakin’ cheap in the US. I’m looking forward to this rather indulgent treat, and I’m also looking forward to surprising Richie with something hot, meaty and delicious after his longest workday of the week. He’ll never see it coming! Haha!

Anyway, here we go:

1lb can of Quaker oats- 15TL

5 oz bottle of Worcestershire sauce- 7TL

2 oz bottle of Tabasco sauce- 7TL

normal sized bottle of ketchup- 2TL (this one wasn’t bad)

1 1/2 lb of ground beef- 20 TL!!!! (although, it was pretty amazing- the butcher opened up his big fridges with dangling pieces of cow, chopped off some bits with a giant knife and then stuck it in the grinder right there and then. Pretty fresh!)

flour for dredging meat balls- 2 TL (also not bad)


Imagine spending 53 dollars or euros to make meatballs! Holy cow! Maybe the cow was holy and that’s why it’s so expensive. And that total doesn’t even include the potatoes and veggies! Luckily, those are much cheaper.

So, the good things are that this recipe says it makes 6 servings of meatballs, and the tabasco, worcestershire and oats will last for a few repeats of this recipe, but still. Just to contrast, we probably manage to make most of our dinners, full of delicious fresh veggies of all varieties, for somewhere between 5 and 10 TL, also with leftovers.

I don’t really feel that bad about the fact that I can’t really afford to eat American-style in Turkey. Turkish food is great and I love eating food from other countries. So, I don’t feel like it’s a big loss at all. But after this wildly expensive shopping experience, I am once again reminded of the financial benefits of eating lots of veggie food. Yippee for vegetables!

But it’s all bought and dragged up the hill, and I am gonna enjoy every last bite of this meat extravaganza while it lasts!


3 thoughts on “Why vegetarian is the way to go in Istanbul…

  1. I recently watched some videos about Istanbul and I am captivated. It’s definitely on my list of places to visit. Thanks for sharing your meal with us. It was interesting to see how much is cost.

  2. I remember how huge the disparity was b/t the cost of meat and vegetables in Turkey. Meat’s a bit more expensive here in China as well. I’ve started using half, if any, in my usual recipes. I also buy meat in bulk and at home divide it up into small portions, wrap it in plastic, and stick it in the freezer to be taken out for future soups or stirfries.

    Love that you’re blogging again!! Keep ’em coming!

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