MondayFiled under Reviews (Eats)
Editor’s note: We’ve written previously about the strong connection between exiles and their dumplings; in this review, guest contributor Idil Mese writes of her own family’s ties to this comfort food.
My grandfather passed away before I was born, and although we never met, he has always been a fascinating figure for me. He was from Samarkand, Uzbekistan, but after losing his entire family during the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, he immigrated to Turkey, bringing his shamanic beliefs and cuisine along with him.
I recall one evening when my mother and uncle shared memories of their father in my uncle’s kitchen over an intriguing, deep steamer, in which huge dumplings stuffed neatly with hand-chopped lamb and beef with a bit of tail fat – my grandfather’s recipe – were delicately arranged and left to cook for many hours. And I remember that sublime first taste of these dumplings – the festive, mouthwatering flavors that invoked happy pastoral scenes in my mind. It felt as if I was finally meeting my grandfather for the first time, and his Uzbek mantı became my favorite food on earth.
Read the rest of the story and find out where you can eat Uzbek mantı in Istanbul at Culinary Backstreets.
All entries filed under Reviews (Eats)
no responses - Posted 08.06.14
One of our favorite spots to make a quick summer getaway from Istanbul is the idyllic car-free and forested paradise of the Princes’ Islands, located just a short ferry ride away from the city. Here’s where you should eat when you get there. Club Mavi While most visitors end up getting lured ...continue
no responses - Posted 07.21.14
Looking at a map of the southern Caucasus, you’d expect Azerbaijan to be the next big thing in the world of food, sandwiched as it is between culinary heavyweights Georgia and Iran, connected as it is in so many ways to Anatolian Turkey. Previous trips to that country have not ...continue
no responses - Posted 07.21.14
Every year, for one month only, bakeries across Istanbul churn out round, flat, yeasty loaves of ramazan pide bread. Before Muslims break fast at sundown, they hurry to buy these addictively chewy pides, which are essential to the iftar meal here. Some bakeries rely on machines to shape the pide and stamp the traditional checkerboard pattern on ...continue
no responses - Posted 06.13.14
Anyone who has spent time in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia (or, “the ’Stans”) will have developed a deep and lasting appreciation for the cuisine of the Uighur, a Turkic people spread across the region whose homeland, Uygurstan, lies across the border in western China. In Dushanbe, faced with ...continue
no responses - Posted 05.29.14
The departure of Aret, our favorite garson in the city, had us reconsidering our love of this little cubbyhole meyhane where we've spent so many nights over the years. With our loyalty to Aret and his to us, would it not be cheating to return to Çukur when Aret now runs his own place just a ...continue
no responses - Posted 05.02.14
It is impossible to sleep late in Gaziantep, despite the tranquility of the historic quarter, the calming, hunker-in-and-go-back-to-sleep effect of the hotel room’s thick stone walls and the comforting, dusty smell of antique furniture. Even the promise of a nice breakfast spread served between 7:30 and 10 a.m. could not ...continue
1 response - Posted 04.22.14
Şenol Erol is trying to remain optimistic about running the last esnaf lokantası in Sultanahmet, where the market seems to demand tourist traps over traditional tradesmen’s restaurants. “I guess that makes us unique, doing things the old way,” he says, as if this vintage eatery needed a tagline. Our first meal at his ...continue
no responses - Posted 04.16.14
With all of the anticipation of local elections in March, the scandalous graft-laden tapes leaked via social media, the communication fog brought on by the ban of Twitter and YouTube and the subsequent call for a vote recount in many cities, this city’s stomach had good reason to be distracted. ...continue
no responses - Posted 04.09.14
In the Kurtuluş district of Istanbul, we’ve lately been exploring links to older, nearly lost, Istanbul culinary traditions. Spending time in the sweetshops, milk bars and şarküteri of this district, we’ve seen a glimmer, if faded, of the “Old Istanbul” that people remember from the 1950s and '60s, when the city’s historic ...continue
1 response - Posted 03.25.14
It’s hard to imagine Istanbul without its pastane windows stacked high with trays of ivory-colored flaky mille-feuille and coolers lined with row after row of chocolate-topped éclairs. And of course, the sweets scene in Istanbul would not be complete without the much-loved profiterole.Generations of İstanbullu have taken pleasure in these French exotics, but at ...continue