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 03.12.13
Lahmacun is one of those mysterious foods where a lot is created with so little. It checks all of the boxes of a perfect savory snack: crispy, oven-fired crust, light and spicy meat spread, a fresh green garnish and a tangy spray from a lemon. It’s like an artisanal pizza ...continue
no responses - Posted 12.28.12
After four years of publishing weekly dispatches from Istanbul’s culinary backstreets, we are still regularly surprised by new discoveries, impressed by the staying power of old standards and shocked by how quickly so much can change. For better or for worse, it is that dynamism that Istanbulites line up for, ...continue
8 responses - Posted 05.18.12
Two young men stood about 15 feet apart on a sunny narrow street in the Kadıköy market, chafing in their brown lab coats. The one tending to a handful of white marble tables barked “buyrun!” (roughly, “come and get it!”) at passersby; the other quietly wiped down seven or eight ...continue
18 responses - Posted 02.17.12
(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.") On a dark and deserted street in January covered in swirls and swirls of snow, a bright pool of light shines from a ground-level window. ...continue
4 responses - Posted 12.06.11
(Editor’s Note: This guest post was written by “Meliz,” an intrepid explorer of Istanbul’s culinary backstreets and a frequent contributor to these pages who would like to keep her anonymity.) It all started with Laz böreği. It was not just any Laz böreği that showed up at the dinner party that evening, ...continue
5 responses - Posted 07.23.10
The roaring '20s: Flappers in the Pera Palas Hotel were dancing the can-can, Art Deco was all the rage, the Turkish Republic was born. Hope, progress and newness double-stepped to the beat of Kemal Atatürk’s drum. This was the backdrop to which two Istanbul bakers, Filip and Yorgi, opened a ...continue
5 responses - Posted 04.19.10
Spring is upon us, which means that it's time to go hunting for restaurants that serve keme, an elusive fungus with a beguiling taste that we've dubbed the "Mesopotamian Truffle." Impossible to cultivate and with a season that spans only a few weeks, this specialty of southeast Turkey is worth seeking ...continue
5 responses - Posted 01.14.10
Editor's note: Sadly, Fauna was recently forced to close after losing its lease. The owner/chef is looking for a new space. We will update this writeup as soon as we know more. Visitors to Turkey beware: in Turkish, the word “pasta” means cake or pastry. Go into a place advertising “pasta” ...continue