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Reviews (Eats) - Category Archive

Mar 25
Friday

Istanbul’s Top 5 Lahmacun Makers: #2 & #1 – The Doughboys of Kadıköy

Filed under Features, Reviews (Eats)


(Editor’s Note: A recent article about a spat between Turkey and Greek Cyprus over who owns the rights to claim lahmacun as their own got us thinking about those minced-meat covered discs of dough and how, when done right, they really are something worth fighting over. So, prompted by the Turkish-Cypriot food fight, we’ve decided to officially declare this week “Lahmacun Week in Istanbul,” where we’ve be looking at five of our undisputed favorite spots in town to get a taste of how the contested savory delight should be made. Today we feature out top two places, both in the Asian side’s Kadıköy area.)

There was nothing simple about selecting the number one lahmacun maker in Istanbul. There are scores of freshly fired crispy/chewy, spicy/piquant versions of the dish all over town. But, perhaps by sheer coincidence, our top two lahmacun joints are located a stone’s throw from each other in the Asian side’s Kadıköy district, which at least gave us the chance to line them up for a side-by-side comparison of lahmacun-ness.

We started the sampling at Halil Lahmacun – an old favorite and a celebrated destination for Istanbul lahmacun lovers. In 1980, Urfa native Halil Dörtok turned his back on a promising career as a tailor to open a small shop with an oven where he started making lahmacun. Perhaps it was a tailor’s attention to detail, but Halil’s oven-baked creations quickly won him fame in the lahmacun world.  Today Halil’s son Fuat is in charge of the oven and, judging by the traffic in the shop on a Wednesday well before lunchtime, nobody is complaining.

Lahmacun, like pizza, is one of those mysterious foods where a lot is created with so little. But in the hands of a real master, or usta, a paper-thin round of dough topped with a simple mix of ground peppers, meat and spices, becomes something magical – almost a living thing. Continue…

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All entries filed under Reviews (Eats)


Istanbul’s Top 5 Lahmacun Makers – #3: Fıstık Kebap
no responses - Posted 03.23.11
(Editor’s Note: A recent article about a spat between Turkey and Greek Cyprus over who owns the rights to claim lahmacun as their own got us thinking about those minced-meat covered discs of dough and how, when done right, they really are something worth fighting over. So, prompted by the Turkish-Cypriot ...continue
Istanbul’s Top 5 Lahmacun Makers – #4: Öz Kilis
1 response - Posted 03.22.11
(Editor's Note: A recent article about a spat between Turkey and Greek Cyprus over who owns the rights to claim lahmacun as their own got us thinking about those minced-meat covered discs of dough and how, when done right, they really are something worth fighting over. So, prompted by the Turkish-Cypriot ...continue
Istanbul’s Top 5 Lahmacun Makers: #5 – İsmail Kebapçısı
no responses - Posted 03.21.11
(Editor's Note: A recent article about a spat between Turkey and Greek Cyprus over who owns the rights to claim lahmacun as their own got us thinking about those minced-meat covered discs of dough and how, when done right, they really are something worth fighting over. So, prompted by the ...continue
Sabırtaşı’s İçli Köfte: Handmade in Beyoğlu
no responses - Posted 03.14.11
(Editor's Note: We've recently been given access to one of Istanbul's most inner sanctums: the kitchen of Beyoğlu's Sabırtaşı, where we were shown how to make the restaurant's superlative içli köfte, winner of our "Top 5 Street Foods" contest from a while back. We will be sharing the recipe on ...continue
The Boyoz Are Back in Town: A Sephardic Treat Returns to the Izmir Street
3 responses - Posted 03.07.11
(Editor's Note: Intrepid traveler and eater Sherri Cohen recently gave us the goods on the Tekirdağ köfte scene. Today, once again on the road, she brings us news of the historic rebirth of an almost extinct street snack in Izmir.) The denizens of Izmir like to think of themselves as the ...continue
Mohti: All That Laz
6 responses - Posted 02.28.11
(Editor's note, 2015: We're sorry to report that Mohti has permanently closed.) “My heart starts pounding when a pregnant lady enters the room,” said Hüseyin, the artist turned owner/operator of Mohti, a new “Laz Meyhane” in the back of the backstreets of the Asmalımescit area. While this might sound to some ...continue
Mehmet Demir’s Breakfast Cart: The Wheel Deal
6 responses - Posted 02.21.11
(Editor's Note: This review originally appeared on May 18, 2009.) Mehmet Demir may not be one of Istanbul’s better-known restaurateurs, but he certainly is among its shrewdest. In fact, he has the best business plan in town: Demir runs a bustling business that has customers literally lining up in the street ...continue
Durak Lokantası: Goodbye Ikea Köfte
no responses - Posted 02.14.11
We agree wholeheartedly with the advice of EatingAsia: “If you're parking yourself here [in Istanbul] for more than a few days, find 'your' esnaf lokantası.” To this we would like to add, “But if you live in Istanbul, find ‘your’ esnaf lokantası in every neighborhood of the city.” Take the example ...continue
Rumeli Tatlı ve Börek Evi: Less Is More
6 responses - Posted 02.07.11
(Editor's Note: This guest post was written by "Meliz," an intrepid explorer of Sultanahmet's culinary backstreets who would like to keep her anonymity.) There is a quiet grace in doing one thing, but doing it very well. Or, maybe, two things. Like, say, börek and baklava. This is what distinguishes Rumeli, a tiny ...continue
Ciğerci Lütfi: The Man with the Golden Liver
no responses - Posted 01.31.11
There was something jarring and disjointed about the sight of an old man sitting beside an eight-lane highway selling liver sandwiches from his perch on a concrete planter – as if a character from a traditional Ottoman shadow puppet show had wandered onto the set of the film Bladerunner. But ...continue

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