WednesdayFiled under Reviews (Eats)
Visitors to Istanbul’s iconic Spice Bazaar encounter a place packed wall-to-wall with overzealous shopkeepers selling everything from saffron to sumac assembled in rows of majestic pyramids at slightly inflated prices.
But for our money, the only spices worth a damn are found just outside in a humbler setting. Crammed behind a tiny kiosk perched in front of a fast-food restaurant that flanks one of the bazaar’s entrances is the endearing Orhan usta. The loveable 65-year-old is a veritable master of çig köfte and a connoisseur of the spicy red pepper flakes cultivated in his hometown of Gaziantep, the southeastern city considered by many to be Turkey’s culinary capital.
While it’s traditionally made of raw meat (çig köfte translates to “raw meatball”), the versions found around Istanbul are typically vegetarian, a mix of bulgur wheat, tomato paste, pureed potato and, in Orhan usta’s version, a healthy dose of fiery Antep red pepper.
Read the rest of the review at Culinary Backstreets.
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no responses - Posted 09.18.15
The Yenibosna bus station sits at the intersection of numerous transit routes, where passengers can embark on journeys to the furthest corners of the city as well as to its beating heart. Close to Istanbul’s main airport, and wedged in beneath several high-rise towers that seem to have ascended from the ...continue
no responses - Posted 05.24.13
As rapidly as Istanbul marches toward its modern destiny, street food in this city is still served the old-fashioned way, by boisterous ustas with a good pitch and, sometimes, a really good product. When the bars close, hungry Istanbulites cruise the streets looking for the gas lamp of a rice ...continue
1 response - Posted 08.07.12
(Editor’s note: This post was written by “Meliz,” an intrepid explorer of Istanbul’s culinary backstreets and frequent Istanbul Eats guest contributor who would like to keep her anonymity.) At Istanbul Eats HQ, the conversation comes up every once in a while about how çiğ köfte has emerged as a sort of fast-food franchising ...continue
3 responses - Posted 05.24.10
Hands stained red by pepper paste is an occupational hazard of the wandering çiğ köfte man. “Machine-made doesn’t look like this,” said Huseyin usta with the intensity of a misunderstood artist, thrusting up a freshly formed lump of çiğ köfte. Just as the çiğ köfte’s red pepper left its mark ...continue
no responses - Posted 10.12.09
It may not quite be up there with Japan’s fugu, blowfish meat that if prepared incorrectly can lead to death, but Turkey’s çiğ köfte is one of those foods that carries with it a certain frisson of danger. Literally translated as “raw meatballs,” the dish is made out of uncooked ...continue