Hamsi, being a delicacy of the Black Sea coast, is not very commonly found in most parts of Istanbul except around regions where fish are served specifically such as Kumkapi, Karakoy, Uskudar, or Kadikoy. In Sirkeci, hamsi is few and far between and i certainly can only recommend enjoying the teeny tiny bite-size fish during their season (fall and winter.) Don’t be afraid to bite right into them, the bones are crunchy and perfectly safe to eat. They also add calcium to your diet.
Hamsi is generally served fried with a coating of corn oil, or cooked into rice making hamsi pilavı. Sometimes they are inside a sandwich, or baked with onions and tomatoes.
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