While researching the food culture of Istanbul this month, my deep affection for local sweets has intensified. There are so many kinds, from the traditional (aşure, güllaç) to the new imports (tiramisù, cheesecake), from the flaky (baklava, havuç dilimli) to the milky (fırın sütlaç, tavuk göğsü), and from the super sweet (helva, irmik helvası ) to the supersweet (ekmek kadayıfı, şam tatlısı). Şekerci Cafer Erol in Kadıköy (and 2 other locations; see below) is the one stop shop for all things traditional: artisinal akide şekeri (hard candy), chocolate, syrup saturated pastries, lokum (Turkish delight), and jams. If you want a crash course in Istanbul sweets culture, this is the place to take it all in. Fortunately for a shameless sweet tooth like me, there are several other places close by (Baylan, Beyaz Fırın, Haci Bekir) with other specialties. Visit all four and your picture of Istanbul’s dessert culture will grow ever sharper.

Yasa Cad. N: 21
Kadıköy/İstanbul

Tütüncü Mehmet Efendi Cad. N: 120
Göztepe/İstanbul

İstinye Park (that’s right, the new fancy mall)
Alışveriş Merkezi – Pazar yeri
İstinye