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Observing Ramadan In Uskudar

Experience a more residential feel in Istanbul with a quick ferry ride to Uskudar.


A beautiful mosque in Uskudar, the Asian side of #Istanbul. #Turkey #Travel

A photo posted by Monica Wong (@_monicawong) on

For 1.5 lira, I took a ferry ride to Uskudar. When I landed on the Anatolian shore of the Bosporus River, there was a massive line snaked around the dock. I followed it all the way to the beginning and discovered that everyone was lined up waiting to be served their first meal of the day during Ramadan.

Uskudar is a very residential district. Many of the people here are locals who commute to Eminonu for work. There is a large population of university students and retirees. I walked to a small square near the dock and people-watched as night fell. As soon as the mosques started chanting, everyone around me began rustling  their plastic bags.

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Whirling Dervishes At The Sirkeci Train Station

Catch the Whirling Dervishes at the Sirkeci Central Train Station every Tuesday and Saturday at 7:30PM.


The Whirling Dervishes at #Istanbul’s Sirkeci Train Station, home of the famous Orient Express. #Turkey #Travel

A photo posted by Monica Wong (@_monicawong) on

I walked the length of the Theodosian Walls after feasting at Asitane Restaurant to the Sirkeci Central Train Station for evening tickets to see the Whirling Dervishes. Unfortunately, the tickets weren’t available for purchase until an hour before the show. For the next two hours, I sat and waited at the benches as the sky poured sideways.

The Sirkeci Central Train Station was built in 1889 and Europe’s first transcontinental express train. It was the destination for the renowned Orient Express, which brought a luxury of wealth and travel to Istanbul. The Orient Express has been immortalized in films, books and other parts of popular culture.

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Asitane Restaurant – Recreating Fine Ottoman Cuisine

The Asitane Restaurant’s mission is to rediscover and recreate the lost recipes of during Ottoman Empire.


Ottoman cuisine – can’t find this in #NYC. #Istanbul #Turkey #Travel

A photo posted by Monica Wong (@_monicawong) on

Behind the Chora Church is the Asitane Restaurant. It means Head Gate in Farsi. It’s the perfect place to have lunch after a visit to the Byzantine church. The Asitane Restaurant’s mission is to rediscover and recreate the lost recipes of during Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman reign lasted for 700 years but very few recipes have survived. The empire had a strong tradition that demanded cooks to keep their recipes and cooking techniques a secret.

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