1. You might find chicken in your dessert.
The signature Ottoman treat is tavuk göğsü, or chicken breast pudding. It’s a strange blend of boiled chicken, milk, and sugar, dusted with cinnamon. And it’s delicious. Look for it on menus across the country.
2. Istanbul has one of Europe’s most exciting art scenes.
The edgy Istanbul Biennial, now in its 14th edition, is a must-see for the international art crowd, and with more than 300,000 visitors in 2013, it ranks among the top contemporary art shows in the world.
3. It has one of the world’s oldest and biggest malls.
Istanbul‘s Grand Bazaar, or Kapalı Çarşı, dates to 1455 and was established shortly after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. Over the centuries it has grown into a warren of 61 streets lined by more than 3,000 shops and currently occupies a nearly incomprehensible 333,000 square feet. You’ll never possibly be able to explore it all, but that doesn’t keep people from trying.