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On the Anchovy Trail

Hamsi (Black Sea anchovies), photo by Ansel Mullins [1]
We are unabashedly fanatical in our love of hamsi, or anchovies, a late fall/wintertime specialty whose arrival we eagerly await each year in Istanbul, where the tiny fish are most commonly served pan-fried, grilled or in pilaf. But as any hamsi aficionado knows, for the best anchovy-eating in Turkey one must go directly to their source: the country’s Black Sea coastline, where the catch is brought in. Writer-photographer duo Robyn Eckhardt and David Hagerman recently did just that, chronicling their journey in words and photos in a delightful travel piece published last month in The New York Times.

Malaysia-based Eckhardt and Hagerman, the creators of the highly regarded food blog EatingAsia [2], are frequent visitors to Turkey. In “A Turkish Anchovy Quest on the Black Sea,” Eckhardt describes their mission:

I was on a pilgrimage of sorts, inspired by an anchovy obsession, one shared by many Turks. For connoisseurs of hamsi, as anchovies are called in Turkish, the fat-padded specimens netted from the frigid Black Sea trump those taken from the Sea of Marmara, south of Istanbul and the Bosporus. The Black Sea season – which usually starts mid-autumn and runs through February – has been keenly anticipated for centuries.

The rest of this post can be found on CulinaryBackstreets.com, here [3].


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