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Posts Tagged ‘ Dagestani cuisine ’

Jul 02

Hıngal Mantı: Dumplings in Exile

Filed under Reviews (Eats)

(Editor’s Note: This guest post was written by Jeff Gibbs, a denizen of Istanbul’s Asian side and author of the very engaging blog “Istanbul and Beyond.”)

It seems like every İstanbullu I meet has a secret ethnicity lurking in their past. One cousin’s father is a refugee from Bulgaria, a Kurdish uncle has an Armenian grandmother and an ex-roommate has an Arab grandparent on one side and an Azeri on the other. In my endless quest to find a reflection of this rich diversity in Istanbul’s cuisine, my wife and I stumbled upon Hıngal Mantı, a sunny restaurant at the foot of Küçük Çamlıca Hill specializing in Dagestani dumplings.

As soon as I walked in, I knew that Hıngal was exactly what I had been looking for. The chef and amateur scholar, Melike, has done her research and can chat (if you want) about the traditional dumplings of Dagestan (called hıngal), how they are eaten, when her husband’s Dagestani family came to Turkey, where they settled and the influence of Dagestani culture on its Turkish counterpart. Everything about the place is bright, friendly and carefully tended. When I asked for a menu, the waiter grinned and said, “I am the menu!” then unveiled a wooden palette displaying the full array of dumplings. Continue…

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