Did you know that Istanbul is the only transcontinental city in the world? One half of it connects to Europe, while the other borders Asia.

Most of the mainstream tourist attractions like the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern and Galata Tower are all located in the European side. Everyone who visits Istanbul spends a few days walking around Sultanahmet Square and The Bosporus.

But very few venture into the under-explored Asian side. Don't make this mistake. 

Here's why you absolutely must spend at least one day on the Asian side of Istanbul:

Incredible Authentic Turkish Food

The best Turkish food I ate on my entire trip was at a cute and cosy restaurant called Metet Közde Döner in an area called Üsküdar.

Kaashif Hajee

Unfortunately, none of the waiters spoke English, so it was slightly difficult to communicate. But this actually just added to the authenticity of the Turkish experience and made it all the more exciting to decide what to order.

Since I've experimented with the food there already, I've got you covered when it comes to ordering the best dishes: make sure you get the İskender Kebap, the Pilav Üstü Döner, Yoğurtlu Kebap and Beyti

Kaashif Hajee

The red gravy of these dishes and the yoghurt are an absolutely divine combination, and taste best with the bread or the pilav (rice). The meat is tender, juicy and straight up melts in your mouth. This meal is guaranteed to be one of your best food experiences by far.

#SpoonTip: if you don't eat beef, you will struggle at this restaurant. All the dishes have beef, but you can still enjoy the gravies and yoghurt 

Quaint, Tranquil and Picturesque Streets

There are no major monuments or sites to see in this area, but walking the beautiful streets is calming and fulfilling. It's the only way to truly experience the city and get a feel of what it's like to be a local.  

Kaashif Hajee

There are also many cute, aesthetic cafes and walls with street art, which make it the perfect place to up your Instagram game.

Kaashif Hajee
Kaashif Hajee

Night Life 

A quiet and peaceful day at the Asian side can also end with a night spent bar hopping along Moda. The best bars I went to are Fil Bistro and Ayı, but you should definitely explore and hit some up yourself.

And what better way to end a long night than with some sinful snacks?

There are many places on Moda that serve Kumpir, the ultimate Turkish street food. It's everything good you can imagine: baked potato stuffed with melted cheese, butter, a range of sauces, sausages, vegetables and much more.

Kaashif Hajee

Yes, it definitely tastes as good as it looks.

You can even get the best waffles you've had in a while at Kemal Usta Waffles. There's an ice-cream shop right next door and some pretty lights in front of it that help you easily find and identify it.

Kaashif Hajee

Of course everyone visiting Istanbul should devote most of their time to the gorgeous monuments and tourist attractions in the European site. But don't forget to dedicate at least one day to the underrated Asian side: you won't regret it.