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Apr 13
Monday
Reviews (Eats)
Van Kahvaltı Evi: The Kurdish Breakfast Club

The Breakfast Beast of the East

In Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish eastern provinces, breakfast is not just for breakfast anymore. Particularly in the city of Van, not far from Turkey’s border with Iran, the morning repast has been turned into serious business: the town is filled with dozens of kahvaltı salonları – breakfast salons – that serve a dizzying assortment of farm-fresh breakfast items day and night.

In recent years this boffo breakfast has been working its way westward, with several Van-style kahvaltı salonları now open in Istanbul. Our favorite, by far, is Van Kahvaltı Evi (“Van Breakfast House”) in Beyoğlu’s Cihangir neighborhood. The restaurant has quickly become one of the area’s most popular, and it’s easy to see why. The people running the friendly place – a crew of hip, young Kurds who seem to be members of the slow food movement without even realizing it – serve a mean Van breakfast, bringing in most of their ingredients, some of them organic, from back east.

The Van breakfast takes the traditional Turkish breakfast of cheese, tomato, cucumber and some bread and turns it up several notches. At Van Kahvaltı Evi, along with the standards, your breakfast plate comes with an assortment of local Van cheeses (including a very tasty one that contains brined wild herbs), the heavenly kaymak, tangy cacık (thick yogurt spread) and murtuğa, a heavy wheat-flour porridge that looks almost like scrambled eggs. Butter, jams, olives and some of Van’s famous honey round all this out – along with endless glasses of strong tea. One plate is certainly enough to feed a whole family. Along with the breakfast plates, the restaurant also serves fried eggs and menemen, scrambled eggs cooked with sautéed onions, green peppers and tomato. They also serve excellent gözleme, thin sheets of hand-rolled dough that are wrapped around cheese, potato or spinach.

Van Kahvaltı Evi can get quite busy on the weekends, when a line usually forms outside, so come early if you want to get a table. Or, better and easier yet, do like they do in Van and come later in the day to have breakfast for dinner.

Address: Defterdar Yokuşu 52/A, Cihangir, Beyoğlu
Telephone: 212-293-6437
Web: www.vankahvalti-evi.com

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41 Responses to “ Van Kahvaltı Evi: The Kurdish Breakfast Club ”
  1. Thank you so much for sharing with us, those who cannot travel to Turkey. I love Turkish food!!! I will be reading your whole blog!

    Check out my recent post on the famous dish, imam biyaldi:
    http://www.myhalalkitchen.com/2009/04/now-i-know-why-the-imam-fainted/

  2. This place is not The Kurdish Breakfast Club, this place is Van Breakfast Club, please!

  3. who minds whether Kurdish or Turkish, we mind the delicious breakfast ;)

  4. It is not a Kurdish place, you should correct this. Van breakfast is totaly Turkish.

  5. funda, levent; just don’t, please. tatlı yiyelim tatlı konuşalım.

  6. You had the use the K word, didn’t you? Enjoy the stupid backslash now.

  7. The only thing wrong with your review of this great little place is that one plate is not quite enough to feed a whole family – three of us tried that and ended up having to order two extra portions of kaymak and honey, so see what you did! The gozleme with spicy sausage was very good as well.

  8. Ne kürdişi türkiş kahvaltı.Hangi memlekette yaşıyorsunuz yazan arkadaş.

  9. Kurdish breakfast? you can name it so but same things you can see on the table every home in all around the Turkey no matter what is your cultural background. Some items are special to city Van but you can even not find the same in another city where a lot of Kurdish people are living. Try to not twist things while you are interpreting or explaining. Other than that you have a good website.

  10. Tony Michuel

    Jun 9, 2010
    Reply

    Its a goodwork to tell the enviromental culture of Turkey, but be carefull about your headlines , because you re directed people learn about the Turkish culture in wrong way with the wrong names , and you have to be carefull about the headlines you have choosen; not like ‘ The Kurdish Breakfast Club’. Because its not a Kurdish place or their culture …
    If you want to translate the words its enough for saying like ‘Breakfast Club Of Van’ …

    Good Luck Boys …

  11. Tamam Kürtlerde canımız ciğerimizde yani Bal-Kaymağın da tescili mi olur? Bu yüzden Kurdish demek garip olmuş. Neyse araç amacın önüne geçmesin, Van kahvaltısı gerçekten süperdir.

  12. I just think that, when mentioning certain dishes such as deniz börülcesi, ahtapot tava etc., using the phrase aegean food wouldn’t offend anyone, and likewise when talking about mıhlama, you are %100 free to say that it’s a laz dish, these meals can be cooked in each and every house all around Turkey or even the world but either because of their origins or some specific ingridients,or sometimes just for eating habits they are unique to some places or groups. Wouldn’t it be kind of jerkish if i said Cerkez tavuğu’s name should be changed beause it’s cooked all over Turkey. What’s the so very big deal if they said kurdish, every one knows that kurds typically and more commonly use cooked butter-flour combinations for breakfast and also yoghurt which are a bit unique to them. Some people are really and unfortunately still allergetic to the word kurd and they also just can’t miss any single opportunity to prove their chauvinism.

  13. Ozge,
    I don’t think it is an allergy to the word Kurd. There are certain food that associated with Kurds such as Kurt Boregi. But I am from Maras and we consume yogurt, nuts, ceviz at the breakfast it is very much like Van breakfast. That type of breakfast is definitely not particular to Kurdish food.
    Today the Greek says that Imambayildi, baklava, borek are Greek food. Even our own invention yogurt is proclaimed as Greek yogurt. Well that’s a bit unfair as the word yogurt is a pure Turkish word.

  14. Best service, best food! Thanks!

  15. It is not a Kurdish place, you should correct this. This place is Van Breakfast Club

    Allahaşkına onun açılımı o mu. Çeviri fukarası mısın sen. Siyasi görüşünüzü yemeğe bulaştırmayın bari be.

  16. Aren’t all of the people working in this place Kurdish? So what’s the issue with saying so?

  17. rl reeves jr

    Feb 15, 2012
    Reply

    another take on the Kurdish breakfast house

    http://chowpapi.com/wordpress/wordpress-2.8.6/wordpress/?p=307

    rl reeves jr

  18. I can’t imagine anyone getting their panties in a wad over someone, say, in New York calling a taco Mexican food just because they are sold at Taco Bells all over the country. Silly backlash indeed…

  19. And by the way, for some definitely Kurdish food–just to add to the K word fracas–I recommend my wife’s website which has a lot of North Kurdistani recipes…Yum!
    http://www.kurdishcuisine.blogspot.com

  20. mehmet savaş

    Mar 8, 2012
    Reply

    Correct this post as soon as possible! It’s not “kurdish breakfast” . It’s not breakfast! Breakfast can be eaten at evening too! so this would make it a dinner! if it can be a dinner why do you call it breakfast?! alla alla. Also it’s not a club it’s a “restaurant”.

  21. Turkish chauvism at it’s best. The food comes from a Kurdish region, cooked by Kurds, served by Kurds…but don’t call it Kurdish! You just made yourselves look like the most discriminating small minded people, congratulations.

  22. Funda,

    I didn’t know that the Greeks claim yogurt as their own invention, but I have heard Bulgarians lay claim to it as their national “culture”.

  23. What is wrong with the word Kurdish?You people cannot ignore the obvious for ever hahaha


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