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{Jamel and I on a mission to unearth Taksim’s ‘Must Do’ list}

Istiklal street, stretched out wildly at both ends where your vision can’t reach, offers one thousand and one delights to get your senses dancing. From sprawling shops and stalls to lonely streets that branch out to temporary escapes for the jaded who need a break from hustling, there is always something new to discover; provided a pair of curious eyes and hungry heart. Together with a local friend in Istanbul, I discovered the Must See, Eat, and Shop when frolicking around Taksim.

Must See

1. Taksim Square’s Monument of the Republic

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{Because not snapping a picture at this iconic landmark is gonna be a shame!}

2. Taksim Istiklal Street

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{Because everything you’re about to expect in this post, happens along this lively street}

Must Eat

1. Otantik

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{Recommended by a local himself named Selo, Otantik is your rescue from the commercialised food in Taksim}

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{If you’re looking for authenticity, you’ve come to the right place}

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{Must have gözleme: a traditional Turkish hand-rolled dough with yummy stuffings}

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{Must have corbasi: a hearty, earthy, lentil based soup}

2. Oz Urfa 

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{Don’t miss out the full-blown review here}

3. Münhasır Doner Kebab

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{If you’re running out of time (this can happen to anyone; even with the best travel plans), Ai Rene’s husband, Huseyin, recommends a takeaway kebab from Münhasır}

Dessert

4. Hafiz Mustafa 1864

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Whether you choose to dine in or takeaway, MAKE SURE you do either one here.

Hafiz Mustafa is the ‘Ladurée of Turkey’, an established Turkish pastry shop where secrets are baked since 1864. It’ll be a shame not to try their baklava + an additional pick of your own as a little surprise:

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{P.S. No need to try asking the name or description of these tarts, because no one will have the time to layan you}

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{Strictly not for the diabetics}

Must Shop

1. Haci Bekir

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{one can’t escape lokum (Turkish Delight) when in Turkey. That said, this is THE recommended brand by the Turks which you can’t go wrong}

2. Paşabahçe

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{a slightly more high-end brand selling Turkish made and designed handicrafts + home wares that turn your pad into a house of treasures}

3. This bookstore right opposite Paşabahçe

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{For their gorgeous maps that make the most extraordinary souvenir at a (very) decent price}

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Taksim Travel Guide, 2015.

 

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