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Turkey's Islak Burgers Are The Unique, Saucy Street Food You Should Know

stacked islak burgers on plate
stacked islak burgers on plate - Osman Bugra Nuvasil/Shutterstock

Sampling street food in different countries can feel like a game of roulette to the weary traveler, but some dishes are worth the risk. Regional dishes like Turkey's islak burger can be hard to come by unless you're in the know, so when presented with the opportunity, sometimes you need to take a bite out of a culinary fortune. If a dish is good enough for Anthony Bourdain, it's good enough for us, and Bourdain raved about these burgers on his "No Reservations" show.

Unlike American burgers that come topped with an assortment of vegetables and accouterments, islak burgers offer a simple formula of soft hamburger buns, meat patties, and sauce -- in a soggier, wetter format. In fact, they're often referred to as "wet burgers."

Isslak, equivalent to the word for "damp" in Turkish, is a juicy, smothered creation that is slathered in tomato sauce and stashed in steam boxes until served. Once a customer claims an islak burger, the bready patties are taken out of their sauna-like case and handed over to be devoured. Islak burgers aren't massive burgers to put down -- it wouldn't be unheard of to order several at once -- and the peppy black pepper seasoning provides just enough spice to keep palates yearning for another bite.

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Read more: Styles Of Regional BBQ In The US

This Mess Could Rival A Sloppy Joe

close up of islak burgers
close up of islak burgers - Nadir Keklik/Shutterstock

Though these paper-wrapped burgers might not be much to look at, biting into one can prove to be a satisfying experience. The meat patties can be made with minced beef and lamb, and the burger buns are often bathed in butter. This particular burger recipe is rumored to have started in Taksim Square cafe sometime in the 1960s or 1970s, and their popularity skyrocketed after the popular Turkish chain Kizilkayalar began marketing and selling them, with lines of eager customers waiting outside of stores.

Deviations from the traditional islak burger recipe have crept up among street food vendors with unique sauces tucked into the burger and ingredients like garlic, chili, and spices added to the lashings of homemade ketchup sauce. Ringing up at less than a dollar per burger at Kizilkayalar, islak burgers make for a late-night snack that won't break your bank account and cause deep regret the next day. You may want to grab extra napkins, however, because while you might be able to get away with eating other kinds of street food snacks without a mess, this one lives up to its name.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.