ThursdayFiled under Features
Editor’s note: We eagerly await the coming of spring each year, not just for the nicer weather but also because some of our favorite foods and dishes are at their best – or indeed, are only available – for a short period during this season. Here we take a look at Istanbul’s top springtime eats.
This year’s Nevruz celebration, an ancient welcoming of spring, may be remembered for its political significance in which a peace deal was struck between Turkish leaders and Kurdish rebels. But once the shoulder-shrugging, line-dancing, fire-jumping and ululating are over, the real bounty of the season will continue to be celebrated all over Turkey and in many Istanbul restaurants, from the chic to the shabby.
“Sultani bezelye rule!” exclaimed Şemsa Denizsel, chef-owner of Kantin, when we recently stopped by for lunch at her Nişantaşı restaurant. Like a favorite uncle in town for the holidays, these sugar snap peas brightly decorated one corner of the plate that held our bahar salatası, a simple “spring salad” that featured all our favorites of the season, including chunks of artichoke hearts and vividly green fava beans.
The rest of this feature can be found on CulinaryBackstreets.com, here.
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no responses - Posted 03.18.13
It wasn’t quite as dramatic as Meg Ryan’s big moment at Katz’s Deli in When Harry Met Sally, but a low-register, guttural moan of pleasure was detected from our table when we tasted the shredded celery root in yogurt, a house specialty meze at Çukur Meyhane. And we weren’t faking ...continue
no responses - Posted 03.08.13
In a 2003 TV commercial for Cola Turka, the actor Chevy Chase was seen speaking Turkish and then sporting a moustache, after taking just one sip of the intended challenger of Coke in this country. This sensational ad – which riffed on the old theme of American cultural imperialism through ...continue
1 response - Posted 02.18.13
As we've previously chronicled, the Tünel end of Istanbul’s famed İstiklal Caddesi was some two years ago the site of a heated burger war. It all started when a former Turkish basketball-player-turned-restaurateur who had spent time studying in California opened up Mano Burger, a mostly successful recreation of the kind ...continue
no responses - Posted 02.11.13
The Turkish proverb “At, avrat, silah ödünç verilmez” (“neither horse, wife nor weapon should be lent”) is sometimes repeated as a way to recall the nomadic warrior past of the Turks. The primal Turkish essentials are clearly stated, but what about the çay bardağı, the tea glass that has become ...continue
no responses - Posted 12.17.12
If Lades, which means “wishbone” in Turkish, provided an actual wishbone alongside the usual post-meal wet wipe and toothpick, we’d close our eyes and make a wish that we could eat their tandır, or oven-roasted baby lamb, seven days a week. These large knots of tender, fragrant meat lined with ...continue
no responses - Posted 11.26.12
We can’t prove it, but we suspect a network of tunnels lies underground in Beyoğlu that connects most of the meyhanes of Asmalımescit and Nevizade Sokak to the same mediocre kitchen, resulting in unexceptional mezes at scores of venues in this dining district. Following a number of tips, our search ...continue
1 response - Posted 11.19.12
Certain global phenomena, like sushi, the mojito and the sitcom Golden Girls, might have arrived a bit late in Turkey, but as the world scrambles to go local, eat seasonally and connect with traditional culinary roots, Turkey is way ahead of the pack. Gram, chef Didem Şenol’s carefully curated locavore ...continue
no responses - Posted 11.12.12
The arrival of fall in Istanbul usually means one thing for us: hamsi season is about to begin. Hamsi, of course, are the minuscule fish (Black Sea anchovies) that Istanbulites are mad about, and the coming of fall and the cooling of the waters of the Black Sea mark the beginning ...continue
1 response - Posted 10.29.12
The arrival of fall always finds us heading instinctively, like salmon swimming towards their ancestral headwaters, to the Balık Pazarı, Beyoğlu’s historic fish market. Autumn is quince season in Turkey and that means the appearance – for a limited time only – of one of our favorite desserts, ayva tatlısı ...continue
1 response - Posted 10.22.12
Like Clark Kent hiding his Superman tights beneath a brown suit and glasses, Klemuri maintains the appearance of a predictable Beyoğlu café – wooden tables, shelves loaded with knickknacks, Buena Vista Social Club on the stereo, spinach crepes and a crispy chicken salad on the menu. But down in the ...continue