When you come to Turkey, you should definitely try stuffed mussels, traditional Turkish street food that you can see in many marine restaurants. It is one of the customs of the Turks to eat mussels after having a nice kokereç or tantuni feast. There are unique mussel restaurants in many parts of Turkey, and they are highly attracted by the locals.

What are Stuffed Mussels?

Mussels live in rocky places of the seas, attached to rocks. But in their interlocking shells, a treasure trove of delicious edible meat is hidden. In Turkey, sea mussels are cooked with spicy rice in them. This different way of eating distinguishes them from eating mussels around the world. 

Stuffed mussels complement many street dishes and are a delicacy that even those who approach it with prejudice love over time. You may eat this street food, which is very troublesome to make at home, in restaurants in many parts of the country. Although there are many different ways of cooking mussels, the most commonly eaten form in Turkey is to put rice in it and turn it into stuffing. In addition to this, there are also varieties such as mussel-pan, mussel pilaki, and mussel pilaf. 

Where to Eat Stuffed Mussels

Mussels collected with difficulty from the deep seas of Turkey go through many stages before they are brought to our table. Stuffed mussels sold by peddlers or restaurants must be thoroughly cleaned after being picked from the sea. For this reason, it may be the right choice for you to eat stuffed mussels in reliable and more preferred places.

How to Make Them

To make stuffed mussels, first of all, the mussels that are closed should be extracted nicely and washed in plenty of water. Mussels are opened from their end parts with the help of a sharp knife without separating the adjacent shell parts from each other. The hairy parts are removed, and the shell mussels are left for a short time in a container filled with cold water. The rice placed in the mussels should also be well sorted and washed. For the preparation of internal pilaf, ingredients such as onions, currants, cumin, and lemon will be needed. After the onions and other ingredients are nicely roasted in oil, rice is also added to them, and then hot water is added and left to soften. 

Although the preparation of the inner rice is relatively easy, the difficult part of filling the mussels is placing the rice inside. Small pieces are taken from the pilaf, carefully stuffed into mussels, and closed with lids back. Then, water is added to the mussels lined up in a saucepan and cooked for half an hour to combine well with the inner rice. The most preferred way of eating this delicious street food is by squeezing a lemon on it.

There are Turkish foods and drinks that you should try when you visit Turkey. While some of these foods consist of well-known meat dishes such as kebabs and döner, we recommend that you don’t skip the street flavors. The variety of street food available in Turkey will be the kind you will not find in many parts of the world. 

Street Food of Istanbul

People living in different cities of Turkey mostly prefer street food due to the busy pace of work or the hustle and bustle of school life. The most preferred Turkish street food, which is prepared quickly and quite satisfying, is usually prepared with seafood and various kind of meats. Such delicacies as hamburgers, döner (Turkish sub), tantuni, and kokoreç, which are street delicacies containing red meat, are very popular in Turkey. Especially in the east of the country, the demand for street delicacies made using offal is very high in restaurants. 

Doner is a delicious dish that is known all over the world in Turkey and is made with thin-cut meat. Doner kebab restaurants, which you can see on every street corner in Turkey, give you an unforgettable taste. Tantuni, on the other hand, is made by putting various greens and cubed chopped and cooked meat into the lavash bread in a similar way to doner. Special foods and drinks are usually consumed together in Turkey, and indispensable combinations are formed inevitably. One of the most consumed traditional drinks in Turkey is the “ayran” made with yogurt, which accompanies many dishes.

Kokoreç is another street food that you can find in Turkish artisan restaurants, is a favorite of many locals. The kokoreç flavor, eaten mainly in the evening, is made from offal and is flavored with various spices and placed in bread

Frequently Asked Question

Is stuffed mussel healthy?
Mussel meat is very healthy for the digestive system.
Is stuffed mussel hygienic?
It depends on where you eat the stuffed mussel. Many places in Istanbul, Turkey, clean the mussels thoroughly before stuffing them.
How is stuffed mussel made?
Turkish fishers capture the mussels and deliver them to stuffed mussel makers. They then clean the mussel and fill it with spiced rice.
What pairs well with stuffed mussel?
Ayran and salgam.
Are stuffed mussels a filling dish?
Unfortunately, no. You need to eat at least 5 to 10 stuffed mussels to feel a full stomach.