Balık ekmek: Fish Sandwich with Red Onion Salad

Balık ekmek, which translates to “fish bread”, is an exceedingly common Turkish street food. It is a simple fish sandwich, usually available for 4 or 5 lira (~$2.50). The most common version consists of a freshly-grilled fish fillet sprinkled with red pepper, paired with onion and lettuce and served on thick hunks of bread with a wedge of lemon on the side. This simple sandwich is one of the must-eat items for any tourist in Turkey.
This version unites the traditional sandwich with Chef Nurdan Erdem’s favorite red onion salad. We used pan-fried mackerel, but feel free to use any fish and cooking method of your choice.

© Try The World

Serves: 2 | Time: 18 minutes (including 10 min for salad)


  • 2 mackerel fillets (or substitute fish of your choice)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • Easy Turkish Red Onion Salad
  • 2 baguettes
  • Mayonnaise to taste


  1. Rinse the mackerel fillets under cold water, and gently blot them dry with a paper towel.
  2. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Heat a dash of olive oil in a frying pan.
  4. Place the mackerel in the pan skin-side down. As the fillets curl up from the heat, apply pressure to ensure that they stay flat and all of the skin comes in contact with the pan.
  5. Cook for 1-2 minutes, depending on the fillet’s thickness. Once the skin is crisp and golden, turn it over and remove the pan from the heat. Leave mackerel in pan for an additional 30sec to 1 min.
  6. Split open the baguettes and spread with a thin layer of mayonnaise. Transfer mackerel onto baguettes and spoon a generous amount of the Easy Turkish Red Onion Salad over the fish. Serve immediately.

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