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Hamo’nun Yeri: The Early Bird Gets the Chickpea

Hamo'nun Yeri, photo by Paul Osterlund [1]

During our previous trips to Istanbul’s “Little Gaziantep” – where we enjoyed the special techniques of Turkey’s culinary nerve center at the excellent Hizmet Kardeşler [2] – we were tempted by what lay across the street. It was an alluring sight scarcely seen in Istanbul: the simple yet scrumptious nohut dürüm [3]The wrap of chickpeas, parsley and spices nestled within a formidable section of tırnaklı ekmek flatbread is the specialty at Hamo’nun Yeri (Hamo’s Place). Run by a family with roots in the Gaziantep district of Nizip, the restaurant’s name comes from the family patriarch.

“He was a wonderful person, so when he passed away we decided to name our place after him,” said Tufan Gül, who runs the eatery alongside his brother Mehmet, uncle Ali and other assorted relatives, all of whom routinely pop in and out of the small kitchen.

Hamo never made it to Istanbul, but his son – Tufan and Mehmet’s father – left Nizip and migrated to Turkey’s largest city, where he opened a shop in the city’s famous Egyptian Bazaar, selling spices imported from home. That shop has since closed, but the Gül brothers opened Hamo’nun Yeri in 2009 in the periphery Güngören district’s neighborhood of Köyiçi – what we like to think of as “Little Gaziantep” because of all the migrants from that area who have settled here. Ali arrived recently to work at the family restaurant after his cellular phone shop in Gaziantep went out of business.

Read the rest of the review at Culinary Backstreets [4].

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