Most people know I’m not really big on seafood. The thing is, I want to like it, so I’ll always give it a try. Throughout Istanbul, there are street vendors selling stuffed mussels, which never looked particularly appetizing to me. I was a bit horrified when my sister told me she was craving when we passed them by one night. It just seemed like an odd thing to be sold off the street.
Her roommate later told me I had to try it when she brought a bag of it home. I figured, they’re being sold all over the place for a reason and I should at least try it. It’s mixed with rice, and you use one side of the shell to scoop it out of the other. They also give you a fresh lemon so you can squeeze the juice over it.
It doesn’t look the most appetizing, but it was seriously so good. The rice is soft and tender and the lemon gives it a nice zest. The only thing is, I was looking up more about these mussels in Turkey and found mixed reports about exactly how good they are for you. Not to scare you, but apparently because of the preparation and serving process, they can be a breeding ground for bacteria. I didn’t experience any side effects after downing about ten of them (yes, I went back the next night to buy some more for myself…ten medium-sized ones cost only $5). I figure if you have a weak stomach to stay away from them. But if you’re looking to dive into the local culture, it’s something to experience.