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Turkey’s European Union membership bid may be stuck in the mud, but a different dynamic is at work on the food front. To wit: the European Commission has granted Gaziantep baklava a spot on its list of protected designations of origin and geographical indications. It’s the first Turkish product and the 16th non-EU food to make it on the list. In honor of this much-deserved recognition, we’ve put together our own list of favorite places to get baklava in Istanbul and Gaziantep.
Located a stone’s throw from the Bosphorus, this shop has been catering to Istanbul sweet tooths since 1949. Done up in borderline tacky décor that looks like it is meant to evoke late Ottoman splendor, the place serves more than a dozen different kinds of phyllo-based sweets, including pistachio or walnut baklava, none of them resembling the cardboard-like, past-their-prime versions that are often dished out outside the Middle East.
2. İmam Çağdaş
Founded in 1887, this kebab and baklava emporium in Gaziantep is run by Burhan Çağdaş, the grandson of İmam Dede. To best enjoy the shop’s exceptional pastry, he recommends forgoing knife and fork, taking it between two fingers and placing it upside-down before taking a bite.
Read the rest of our list at Culinary Backstreets.
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no responses - Posted 03.01.13
Editor’s note: This guest post was written by Nicolas Nicolaides, an Istanbul-born Greek who moved to Athens in 1988. Nicolaides is a Ph.D. student in history at the University of Athens whose research focuses on the Karamanlılar (Greeks from Central Anatolia). Once a resort town on the outskirts of the Greek ...continue
1 response - Posted 07.19.11
This one is certainly going to hurt Greek national pride: According to the Wall Street Journal, famed Athenian baklava seller Epe has not only been importing Turkish baklava for the last decade to sell in its stores, but has now had to be bailed out by its supplier from the ...continue
3 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
5 responses - Posted 10.13.10
Editor’s note: In Salih Seçkin Sevinç, creator of the fantastic Turkish-language food blog Harbi Yiyorum (roughly translated as “Eating, For Real” in English), we’ve found a kindred spirit and a source for great eating tips. We’ve asked Salih to share with our readers some of his culinary wisdom this week. ...continue
6 responses - Posted 10.11.10
Editor’s note: In Salih Seçkin Sevinç, creator of the fantastic Turkish-language food blog Harbi Yiyorum (roughly translated as “Eating, For Real” in English), we’ve found a kindred spirit and a source for great eating tips. We’ve asked Salih to share with our readers some of his culinary wisdom and this ...continue
8 responses - Posted 06.04.10
On Saturday afternoon, in the southeastern Turkish city of Gaziantep, our baklava was neatly wrapped with plastic and then paper, tagged “Antebi, Istanbul” in black marker and escorted to the bus station by either Levent or Bülent of Zeki İnal Baklavacısı. While we slept that night, our baklava passed through ...continue
no responses - Posted 03.14.10
The English-language daily Today's Zaman has an article up that takes a look at some of the restaurants in Istanbul serving food from other regions in Turkey. The article (addresses included, for a change), offers some good tips on where to find food from the Black Sea and southeast regions ...continue
12 responses - Posted 02.08.10
(Editor's Note: The New York Times' travel section recently ran a "36 Hours in Istanbul" feature that was low on good eating suggestions. Prompted by the Times piece, today's post is a food-centric "48 Hours in Istanbul" guide we prepared a few months ago for a local magazine.) Day One: Turkey’s ...continue
no responses - Posted 11.23.09
The November 25 New York Times has a quick review of the new Upper East Side Manhattan branch of Güllüoğlu, an Istanbul baklava maker (not to be confused, as we initially did, with the legendary Istanbul baklava house also called Güllüoğlu). We recently linked to a New York magazine item about ...continue
9 responses - Posted 05.11.09
Baklava, the flaky, phyllo-dough based pastry, has long ago stopped being a Middle Eastern regional specialty. In America, for example, it is now a staple of dessert menus at diners and falafel stands across the country. But these places miss the point: baklava is actually not a dessert, but rather ...continue