Up in Smoke: Homegrown Turkish Delights
Yesterday, a New York Times article, titled “Marijuana Fuels a New Kitchen Culture,” reported that some “chefs are unabashedly open about marijuana’s role in their creative and recreational lives and its effect on their restaurants.” With dishes like poutine of foie grois, cereal milk flavored soft-serve ice cream and deep-fried cheese steak hotdogs, some New York chefs are flying high in the kitchen. They call it haute stoner food.
In Istanbul, capital city and starting point of the ancient Hippie Trail, there’s nothing haute about the stoner food and it seems to be deeply imbedded in the mainstream culinary culture. In New York it may take a chef with the munchies to get creative, but here, even to the stone sober, stoner food feels a bit more homegrown and connected to the grassroots.
Below is our top five list of things that stoners might enjoy eating in Istanbul:
Baklava: Wake and Flake
“A few years ago, during a visit to Gaziantep, a culinary Mecca in southeast Turkey famous for being home to the country’s best baklava, we watched with astonishment early one morning as people did the “wake and flake….””
Kumpir: Everything on it
“Known in Turkish as “kumpir”, think of this Istanbul street food icon as the baked potato on steroids –a motley mix of flavors piled high into an inexpensive meal roughly the size of a small child’s head.”
Ayva Tatlisi: The Refined Jelly Donut
“In the case of ayva tatlisi, large quinces are halved, stewed and then baked until they turn meltingly soft and are coated in a thick and sticky reddish glaze (the color is the result of a chemical reaction that is yet another of the fruit’s mysteries). Once cool, the glazed quince is served with a dollop kaymak, the heavenly Turkish version of clotted cream.”
Nohutlu Pilav: The [rice] Freaks Come Out at Night
“…at one point during the night, some 15 hungry customers were gathered around Ayvaz, who was furiously dishing out servings of pilav on small metal plates. “This is the best pilaf. It just tastes different,” said one of the rice freaks, a big smile on his face.”
Wet Burger: 24/7 Cure for the Munchies
“Make no mistake, the burger is wet, having been doused by an oily, tomato-based sauce before incubating in a glass-lined burger hamam. There, it becomes even wetter, the once fluffy white bun rendered a greasy, finger-licking radioactive shade of orange, both chewy and slick on either side of the garlicky beef patty. Like an order of nachos at the movies, or an elephant ear at the carnival, the wet burger is a sinful pleasure that flies in the face of our otherwise high culinary standards. But at 2 AM on a Friday night, nothing is as good as a Kizilkayalar wet burger – except for another one.”
Post Tags: burgers, dessert, Istanbul restaurants, kumpir, street food