Ordering an ice cream cone in Istanbul is super annoying

This Japanese guy visiting Istanbul, Turkey just wanted an ice cream cone. You'd think that would be a simple request. Poor guy. [Video Link]


  1. Awesome.

    There’s a certain element of food showmanship one would expect from, say, Benihana’s – which while not specifically Japanese, is tepanyaki.

    The subtle irony.

    1. I have a similar video that i made from the Turkish Pavillion in the Shanghai expo. I thinks it’s funny if it’s the first time you try buying ice cream. I’ll look for that next month when i fly to Istanbul

  2. my word, that is so irritating. can’t you just see the tension and annoyance building up on the part of the customer? i think he’s about three seconds from going grape ape on the ice cream man by the end there.

    lets all agree, fellow boingers, in the name of frippery-free and quick transactional relationships to physically knock over the carts of anyone who tries this nonsense on us.

    1. > lets all agree, fellow boingers, in the name of frippery-free and quick transactional relationships to physically knock over the carts of anyone who tries this nonsense on us.

      Screw that! Speak for yourself pilgrim. That was absolutely hilarious, in the same vein that a good Improv Everywhere prank is hilarious, and personally I’d rather vow to tip over the carts of curmudgeons who don’t like this video than to harass that hilarious ice cream vendor.

    2. dude, relax.. why so tense and angry. people there consider it fun, unlike where u come from, angry and shit.

  3. To explain the ice cream’s “stickiness” if you will: Turkish ice cream includes a flour made from orchids named salep as well as mastic gum. It’s friggin delicious, and pretty much all Turkish ice cream sellers who have that traditional costume on will go ahead and “play” with you.

  4. I’m sure food service types would be a lot happier if they could dangle your bag of funyuns in front of you for a solid 3 minutes before you were able to pay.

    Not sure their job enjoyment would make purchasing very fun, however…

  5. I’m become crotchety and impatient in my sunset years. I don’t mind if they do it to other people, but AFAIC, no ice cream is tasty enough to warrant sitting through that.

    Those kids at Coldstone who sing when you drop four bits into their tip jar? I’ll tip ’em more if they shut up and scoop.

  6. Yes, by all means let’s have less fun, entertainment, and showmanship in the world. That old guy singing and throwing dough at the Italian restaurant? Shut up and gimme my dam’ pizza! The guy at the Japanese restaurant? Stop throwin’ my food around and just give it to me!
    Jeez, I never expected to see such a bunch of cranky old get-off-my-lawn killjoys on this site of all places…take a little joy in life, people – enjoy somebody who’s doing a little more than just being a serverbot.

    1. Fancy pizza-throwin’ and Benihana don’t bother me. But there’s an element of nyaah-nyaah-nyaah customer-taunting here that puts me off. Juggle my ice cream scoops in the air if you want, I don’t care. Just don’t make my vain attempts to take my cone part of your act.

      And while I’m complaining about those poor good-hearted souls who just want to serve me a little joy alongside my dinner, I quit going to Miceli’s (“Hollywood’s first pizza house”) back in my twenties. All the servers there sing. As their website says, “We will serenade you with Italian arias, musical show tunes, classical standards…. all while you dine.”

      I’m not saying they don’t employ some of the more talented waitrons in Hollywood. But dammit, when I go out to dinner, I usually just like to carry on a conversation with my tablemates. Next to impossible in that place.

      But lots of people dig it. Go ahead and enjoy it, sez I. But it’s not for me. I appreciate a relatively personality-free serverbot, myself.

      1. Wow Don, your most satisfying experiences must involve vending machines then. God forbid you are ever taken out of your comfort zone. One of the whole points of travel is to be taken out of your comfort zone.

        If you are in a big rush then you probably shouldn’t be buying ice cream from a tourist stand in the first place.

    2. That’s all very well with the pizza dough and all,but Dude, we’re talkin’ ice cream here.

  7. That guy is as good as any magician. I think I saw him when I was in Istanbul. Turkish ice cream isn’t like American ice cream, it is almost like very soft taffy, gooey.

    Instant gratification isn’t all it is cracked up to be, sometimes a little show doesn’t hurt.

    I’d recommend Istanbul to any traveler too. It is a wonderful city. The people there are great (though the shop keepers are on the pushy side). I’m going back this fall.

  8. God forbid people should have any interaction beyond handing over money and handing over product. The Japanese guy didn’t look at all annoyed to me. The vendor seemed playful and friendly. I’m with SMurph. As much as complain or resent the guy, you could appreciate his showmanship and the time he took to make people laugh and smile.

    1. “God forbid people should have any interaction beyond handing over money and handing over product.” Agreed, and seconded.

  9. I kept watching the different cones being touching over and over again and thinking I would want a fresh one.

  10. I saw this guy when I was there — at least if he’s the guy who has a shop on Ä°stiklâl Caddesi. Very entertaining showmanship, but I didn’t care for the ice cream much, as others have commented.

  11. Just get me an ice cream cone, please, all I want is an ice cream cone
    And he wouldn’t give it to me! All I wanted was an ice cream cone, just one ice cream cone, and he wouldn’t give it to me! Just an ice cream cone!

    I was probably in his best interest, anyway.

      1. I’m crazy? When I went to *your* country, I went to *your* ice-cream stand, I attempted to purchase *your* strangely taffy-like frozen confectionary desserts?

    1. It’s very likely that the Japanese guy is a backpacker, so I doubt he has to rush off to some important meeting.

      I think its a good piece of showmanship- the icecream guy pulls a crowd and the Japanese guy gets a story to tell, especially now it’s on youtube.

  12. Yeah. I’m in Seoul and there’s a sizable Turkish population with restaurants and kebab stands, and they sell this stuff, too, and do the whole song and dance. The tragedy of it is, I really like Turkish ice cream, but they have no filter– they always do that whole rigmarole, every time. I only ever eat Turkish ice cream now when I’m with someone who hasn’t had it done to them– then at least they’ll enjoy the experience.

    1. That was about my thought. It would be really neat to experience exactly *once* and maybe to show friends from out of town. After that I either wouldn’t bother or would take the first opportunity to grab my ice cream and actually eat it.

  13. This here is what we call “culture”. Turks have lots of it. The Japanese guy seems to be amazed by it in appreciation and will surely remember the incident in fondness.

    Americans might be unable to appreciate this and that’s ok. Americans think Ben&Jerry’s is “awesome” and live in “malls” from what I have heard. Cut them some slack if they have “personal” issues with playful ice cream vendors.

  14. C’mon, people. It is quite obvious that everybody’s having a great time in this flick. The ice-cream guy I know from various situations, actually there are lots of them, both in Istiklal street and a few other parts of the (great, great) city. I try to go there as much as I can, the experience is both very urban and somehow liberating. Nevermind. All the guys working first of all in Istiklal, but also elsewhere, are very experienced and good “judges of character”; if they don’t think you’re in the mood to be entertained, they would skip you, and they do bring decisions pretty much accurately. So it is exactly the “free world” as you see it, as those cocky dodgy grossly dissinterested proudly uninformed or just very very stressed people almost never become “victims”. But they all stand and watch and look a bit engaged, at least for the first time thay actually encounter with this and other flicks of the “masters of the trade”, as they are seen within their society. It is just a symbollic resistance to industralization and collective depersonalization, as (of course) the vast majority of this very potent country runs on corporate capitalism. With own distinctions, but still – runs_on_corporate_capitalism. Watching it develop feels both amazed and worrried a lot. But do yourself a favor. Go there, walk around – you really don’t have to play with the ice cream guy, but you’ll probably watch the show for a while. Or you can easily pass by. That is not the problem, at all.
    “Elsewhere root of your dismay lies.” – Master Yoda used to say.

  15. I don’t know, I think the guy would desist if he saw he didn’t have an audience or an appreciative customer. And hell, you could always call his bluff and walk away if he didn’t get the message. Or sure, go all apeshit crazy for wasting your time and look like an asshole. That always works. Not to say I haven’t been in a rotten mood and been effed with by someone in authority to the point of wanting to press the big red button, but I was laughing my ass off with this.

    I smell a franchise opportunity here.

  16. The only obvious revenge here would be to take five minutes to pay. And even then, only via nickels pulled from his ear.

  17. There’s no intention of disrespect when the ice cream vendors do this in Istanbul — it’s all a part of the show. I’m sure this kid saw this act 20 times before he decided to step up and buy a cone for himself. Your’re basically paying for the experience as much as the ice cream when you go to one of these stands :)

  18. That ice cream vendor has better sleight of hand skills than some magicians I’ve paid to see.

  19. I take it Mr. Bonner doesn’t get out much:
    1) If the guy wanted ice cream, there are plenty of places on Omote-sando that serve it.
    2) Chiyu no Arukikata for Turkey no doubt describes the ice cream vendors well, so he knew what he was getting in to.
    3) He is obviously enjoying himself.
    4) Only tourists buy ice cream on Istiklal Caddesi. Istanbulites buy it at Mado.

  20. I’m all for some fun, but it reminded me too much of when I was 12 and my brother would pull the car up 3 feet every time I tried to get in. That wasn’t fun for me, only for him. I guess the line between fun and annoying can be pretty thin, sometimes.

  21. There’s a Turkish ice cream shop at the waterfront of Danshui, Taiwan (norther Taipei) that does the same thing- it’s really just a show for tourists, people love it for what it is.

  22. He doesn´t look annoyed to me. As a tourist you should have enough sense of humor to laugh about this or stay home.

    I would love to see someone with similar skills have a kind of “battle” with the ice cream guy. I picture it like the scene in an old jackie chan movie where he fights his master trying to eat rice from a bowl.

  23. I’m an American, and a Texan.

    I appreciate a good sense of play and showmanship. I appreciate a good salesman who knows how to make his product shine.

    If you just want to hand over money and receive ice cream, go to a grocery store.

    If you don’t want showmanship, pick a vendor that’s not showy.

    Saying “Can’t you just see the tension” misses the point. The point is to create tension and have some fun.

    I don’t think instant gratification is the be-all end-all of our evolving relationship with each other. Putting a cheeseburger, fries, and coke through my window by the time I can drive to your window from your intercom is not the greatest goal we can achieve.

  24. There’s a Turkish dude in America-town who sells ice cream just like this! It’s as if there is some sort of special (coincidental?) relationship between Japan and Turkish ice cream.

  25. Sense of humour notwithstanding, some people don’t like to be surprised or prefer not to be the centre of attention.

    I’m very shy. If I’d been on the receiving end of that performance *and hadn’t known to expect it*, I’d have been too flustered to be able to recognise it as a show. I’d probably have fled in tears after the second or third fake pass, absolutely convinced I’d done something to offend the guy, and desperately ashamed that so many people had seen me do it.

    I didn’t enjoy watching this the first time, because I felt so bad for the customer. After reading through the comments and recognising that he probably had known what he was letting himself in for, I’ve been able to watch it a second time and just appreciate the showmanship. I’d still be too self-conscious to take part myself, especially in front of a crowd like that, but knowing the customer is a willing participant raises it from cruelty to entertainment.

    1. I too was terrified watching this. Less now that it was expected (but still couldn’t be paid to do it).

    2. some people don’t like to be surprised or prefer not to be the centre of attention.

      That’s exactly right.

      I don’t wanna kick the guy’s stand over. I said, “Go ahead and enjoy it, sez I. But it’s not for me.” I don’t want to be the center of attention. I’m not about to volunteer to be the hypnotist’s stooge or the magician’s assistant. Heck, I’ll happily stand and watch and giggle at the ice-cream dude’s shtick. It’s a hoot, and takes talent and effort, and I do appreciate that.

      But I’ll buy my ice cream elsewhere, and I don’t believe that makes me a spoilsport “ugly American” sourpuss. I have plenty of other causes to be called that, but an unwillingness to look dorkier than I need to, well, that’s not one of them. It’s the same reason I won’t chase a bouncing football down the street.

  26. hahaha aw that was the sweetest thing ever! The customer did not look annoyed at all, but wondering and enchanted and he wanted that icecream about a hundred times more by the time the vendor was done with him! I love the part where he feeds it to him, that is amazing…

    in my culture feeding someone is a sign of love and appreciation, it’s like he got a some love for putting up with the whole thing


    as to the curmudgeons wanting to kick over the cart, there’s pre-scooped cones at your corner store, go get them there! cuz I’m sure someone like this would have a heck of a lot more fun with a crotchey customer like yous…watch out!

  27. I thought it was terrific. I’m heading to Istanbul on a business trip and bringing my 12-year-old daughter. I’m going to try to find this guy – anyone know where to find this guy?

    I’d pay extra for the ice cream for the show, and my daughter would love it. I can’t believe so many people here have no sense of humor! This guy’s great! Enjoy the show. If you don’t, then walk away! Easy. Life’s short; enjoy yourself.

    1. Lots of the ice cream vendors along the tram line from Hagia Sofia towards Eminonu. They are funny but can be a bit irritating if you are desperate for a cool ice cream. Stop by if you want the theatre and a laugh- it is great.

  28. All I can think of is Bob Newhart’s visit to “Uncle Yummy’s,” with Jon Ritter as the showman-waiter (Sorry, all I could find was a link to an annoying region-limited, ad-filled Hulu episode; skip to about 7:50 for the relevant scene)

  29. A. It was a delightful performance–all parties seemed to be having fun.

    B. To those making the “ugly american” comments–I mean, WTF, there’s no (obvious) Americans in the fucking video!!! Can you at least save that shit for when we deserve it–this post is just about a vendor putting on a show. As with most comment sections–some people like it, some don’t, but what the hell with trying to turn it into an American’s suck thread???

  30. I was in Istanbul a couple weeks ago and went through much the same routine, except the young man doing it was cheering himself on the entire time in a variety of languages. All I picked up were the English parts. “He’s amazing! He’s incredible!” It was hilarious, and I laughed my fool head off.

    @Anon #56: You really don’t need to worry about finding someone who’ll do this. If they’re selling ice cream, and there’s someone selling ice cream near every tourist attraction, then they’re going to do this! It does draw a crowd, and I would guess improves sales. When we stopped for ice cream (at, um, 9 in the morning . . .), no one else was around the stand. When we left, there was a line.

  31. I saw a Turkish ice cream seller like this in Singapore. Thought he was funny. Went back another night so I could get video of his routine. He posed with his customer for a photo, and put a fez on her for it. Yeah, I bought ice cream from the guy both nights. He was working hard to not only sell a product, but provide some entertainment. Kind of a medicine show thing going on there. I like these guys. More power to them, and ring the bell once for me.

  32. This is awesome.

    Folks may not remember, but I’ve heard tell of a time where this kind of thing used to happen in the USA, too, before we got all busy.

  33. Hey…in defense of my American friends, showmanship in sales to the public is hardly dead, or a lost art, in North America.
    The Exhibition and Fall Fair season is just firing up in North America, and I have often been amused by the antics of the pitchmen, with all their razzamatazz and ballyhoo, at most, if not all, of the fairs which I’ve attended.
    Although I do admit that the audience participation usually does not come up to quite this level.

  34. i travel a lot and love eating street food, and sometimes end up at a vendor that is looking to put on a tourist show. i absolutely hate that crap and it annoys me to see others trapped in them too.

    in this case i would said i just want my ice cream at 0:05, and said fuck it and walked away at 0:10. dude could keep it at that point. and as stated earlier usually the show/tourist places dont have the best products, just the best shows.

    another thought… some people like being drawn into shows, some people hate being drawn into shows. some people like ice cream, some people hate ice cream. if you are an ice cream vendor and want to make your customers happy which group do you think are most likely to approach your stand and which would you cater to?

    someone above said they live in turkey, like the ice cream, but dont buy it unless showing it off to a tourist because they dont want to go through the whole routine. doesnt that just say it all?

  35. I saw a couple of Turkish icecream vendors doing the same kind shtick here in Kyoto during the Gion festival. It was FUNNY. Everybody was LAUGHING. And the icecream was DELICIOUS.

  36. Of course, if some people say disagree about something, others say that Americans suck. It’s to be expected and says more about the people saying it than it does about Americans.

    The only thing I didn’t like about this video was that the guy filming it cut away just when the customer finally got his ice cream. That was the payoff I was waiting for and I was ROBBED! ROBBED, I say.

    But everyone onscreen, including the customer, seemed to enjoy the show.

Comments are closed.