Eating Our Way Through Istanbul, Turkey

We enjoyed several wonderful meals during our time in Istanbul and even took a food tour where we ate food in both the European and Asian sections of Istanbul. In addition to the food, we also had a local drink called Raki as well as several local beers and wines. One of the most popular dinner choices are the dinners cooked in clay pots over an extremely hot, open fire. They bring the fire pit next to your table and put on quite an extravagant show as they cook your meal and then crack the pot open and pour the contents onto a plate for you to enjoy.

One of Our Dinners
Food Galore During Our Food Tour
Turkish Raki
Dinner and a Show
The Meal Cooked in the Clay Pot

Coffee and tea is also quite popular and we even tried an orange tea made with fresh orange rinds. We love taking food tours as they provide you the opportunity to try many different varieties of dishes, but it is also way more food than the two of us could possibly eat. We started our tour with breakfast, which is not something that we normally eat, but it was a really enjoyable way to start our day. We ended our tour in the shopping district of Istanbul and then took the ferry back to the area near our hotel.

Stuffed Mussels
Honey and Cheese
Local Beer
Orange Tea
Fresh Fish

You will find street carts with stuffed mussels near many of the attractions and in shopping areas and it is definitely worth trying as they are very tasty. Overall, we couldn’t say that one meal was better than another as we found each of them to be completely interesting with unique tastes. What we can say is that the staff at every restaurant where we ate were extremely friendly and very proud of the cuisine that they had to offer. At some point we’ll try to replicate some of the meals that we had, but obviously we’re not going to be cooking in a clay pot over an open flame.

Workers Getting Lunch
So Much Food
Making Sandwiches
Roasted Lamb
Cloche Being Delivered to Our Table
Unique Dinner

The Food of Hanoi, Vietnam

During our trip to Vietnam, we enjoyed a variety of wonderful meals with different types of food. There were plenty of seafood, pork, and beef dishes, including Bún Chả and Phở. We also had the opportunity to take a local cooking class, which was one of our favorite memories of our time in Hanoi. In addition to eating at several restaurants in Hanoi, we also took several day trips that allowed us to taste food from the countryside as well.

Fried Spring Rolls

Grilled Mekong Catfish

Beef, Eggs, and Bok Choy

Bún Chả

Bún Chả is a traditional Vietnamese dish that originated in Hanoi and is made with grilled pork and noodles with a dipping sauce. It is usually served with condiment bowls of minced garlic and sliced hot peppers that can be added to your individual taste. Fried spring rolls are also commonly served with Bún chả. We definitely enjoyed eating Bún Chả and even visited the Bun Cha Ta restaurant twice during our stay in Hanoi. Bún Chả was also one of the items that we learned to make during our cooking class and we’ll definitely be making it for ourselves at home.


Spicy Peppers

Spring Rolls and Dipping Sauce

Steamed Shrimp

Phở is a Vietnamese soup that is usually made of beef, broth, herbs and noodles, but it can be made with chicken or pork as well. Unlike Bún Chả where you don’t drink the broth, Phở is a soup and you eat the meat and noodles with chopsticks and use a spoon to eat the broth. Once again you can add hot peppers to your Phở in order to make it spicier, but add them slowly as they are very spicy. Our hotel recommended that Pho 10 Ly Quoc Su, which is in the old quarter near way were staying and based on the lines, it is extremely popular with locals and tourists alike.

Egg Coffee

Fried Fish and Vegetables

This was Just for the Two of Us

Goat Stew

Egg Coffee is another traditional Vietnamese item and something that we had a couple of times and also made during our cooking class. It is coffee that is made with egg yokes and condensed milk, which makes it rich and sweet. We also ate seafood at a restaurant on the shore of Hoan Kiem Lake as well as during our overnight cruise on Halong Bay. During our tour to Ninh Binh, we were treated to a meal with fried spring rolls and a stew made with goat, potatoes, and carrots. Goat was a traditional dish for the Ninh Binh Province. During our tour of Perfume Pagoda, we were treated to an overwhelming array of local dishes that included beef, pork, chicken, and vegetables.

Steamed Crab in the Shells

Beef Stir Fry

Squid with Celery and Leeks

Cooked Banana with Chocolate and Coconut

Obviously there are plenty of restaurants featuring western food, but we only ate at restaurants featuring local cuisine. Our chopstick skills definitely improved during our time in Vietnam as well since they were often the only utensils offered. We certainly enjoyed trying as much of the famous street food of Hanoi and the surrounding area as possible. We are definitely looking forward to recreating as many of the meals as we can in the upcoming months.

Autumn Meal Favorites

When the temperatures start to fall and the leaves start to change, there are certain meals that we always have during this time of the year. Most of them are comfort foods that are hearty and satisfying as well as very tasty. It is also a time of year when we tend to eat spicy meals that heat you up from the inside. Here are some of our favorite dishes that we tend to eat during the autumn season.

  1. Traditional Chili – Cooking up a bowl of homemade chili is definitely one of the first meals that we make for ourselves at this time of year. It is definitely one of those foods that is even better the following day after it has had time to sit. It can be spiced up by adding some fresh jalapenos or cooled off by adding a little sour cream.

    Bowl of Chili
  2. Spicy Southwest Mac and Cheese – We love a good mac and cheese and this was a recipe that we created not that long ago. It is definitely something that can be done as a meal, but could also be done as a side-dish as well. It can easily be changed up by simply using different varieties of sausage or completely leaving out the meat.

    Cajun Mac and Cheese
  3. Pumpkin-Sage Shrimp – Pumpkin is definitely a flavor that is synonymous with autumn and this simple recipe is filled with flavor. It is also a meal that is a little lighter than many of the other dishes that we enjoy at this time of year.

    Pumpkin-Sage Shrimp
  4. Stuffed Shells – This Italian dinner is very similar to lasagna, but it is easier to scale down since it is just the two of us. One of the things that makes this meal so delicious is all of the melted cheese and pairing it with a slice or two of garlic bread only adds to the overall enjoyment.

    Cheesy Stuffed Shells
  5. Breakfast for Dinner – Eggs, fried potatoes, a spicy chili sauce, and cheese. What else do you need? We look forward to this meal every year and will have it more than once as the days get shorter and the temperatures get even colder.

    Simple and Delicious
  6. Our Version of Chili Mac – This is a recipe that has been in our family for a couple of generations. It is a little bit of a unique meal, but is certainly one of our favorites.

    One of Our Favorites

There are definitely other meals that we enjoy during autumn, but these are a few that we have shared previously. We are definitely looking forward to enjoying these meals in the coming months ahead.