FridayFiled under News
It was at a dinner at Mikla, one of Istanbul’s fanciest restaurants, that we identified a turning point in this city’s restaurant culture, one which might finally favor the informal, traditional and often overlooked local eateries that are the heart, soul and lovely underbelly of this city. In one brief description of an appetizer it was noted that the butter used was sourced from Beşiktaş Kaymakçı. Pando’s butter at Mikla? Worlds collided.
Reading those words, we pictured a future when heavily endowed chefs, like Mikla’s Mehmet Gürs, champion small, local producers like Pando – a dairyman who is one of Istanbul’s most celebrated makers of kaymak – and by doing so ensure the longevity of those small, fragile businesses. At that moment, we were sure that Pando, at least, was protected.
Though Pando, who has earned the love and respect of generations of İstanbullu with a full lifetime of slinging dairy goodness from the same shop in Beşiktaş, may be an institution, he is also a renter. His father was a renter before him, since 1895. The secret to a good kaymak business might be the wealth passed down through generations of his family, but the inheritance included the burden of a landlord-tenant relationship. And this summer, an eviction notice came.
Read the rest of this story at Culinary Backstreets.
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no responses - Posted 06.19.14
Charming and surprising, Fehmi Özsüt has an easy, no-worries smile that belies a life full of unbelievable stories and intense work. Every day, even on weekends, he wakes up at 3 a.m. in order to run his kaymak business. A quivery clotted cream made from water buffalo milk, kaymak is served with honey ...continue
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
no responses - Posted 01.21.13
When it comes to the first meal of the day in Beşiktaş, it’s hard to pass up the institution that Pando’s lovely old kaymak shop has become. Yet as much as Pando is the neighborhood’s culinary standard-bearer, there is another side of breakfast in Beşiktaş that feels more contemporary, more ...continue
no responses - Posted 01.07.13
Dear Istanbul Eats, I’ll have an eight-hour layover in Istanbul and was wondering if you have any suggestions for places to go for a good Turkish breakfast and lunch. I love to eat at small, local places serving authentic food. I would prefer restaurants in the Yeşilköy area, as I have ...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
no responses - Posted 04.25.11
(Editor's Note: This review originally appeared on June 12, 2009.) Regulars at Özkonak, a well-loved fixture in Cihangir’s ever-changing restaurant scene, must cluck in disapproval at the sight of a new generation of customers who walk right past the pudding display at the front and head for the steam table and ...continue
3 responses - Posted 12.28.10
(Editor's note: We are sad to report that after more than a century in business, Merkez Şekercisi has closed.) Despite the surroundings, working as a candyman in Istanbul is apparently not all sweetness. Take, for example, Mustafa Bey, who inherited the 132-year-old traditional Turkish candy shop, Merkez Şekercisi, from his grandfather. ...continue
2 responses - Posted 12.17.10
(Editor's Note: This post is part of our occasional "Since You Asked..." advice column. We welcome our readers' questions, so feel free to send any you might have to firstname.lastname@example.org) Hi! I'll have an 8-hour layover in Istanbul in a couple of weeks. I was wondering if you have any suggestions for ...continue
3 responses - Posted 09.24.10
For breakfast lovers, the experience of arriving in the eastern Turkish city of Van is akin to what a gambler might feel upon showing up in Las Vegas – overwhelmed by the options and the promise of a serious payout. Van, of course, is the home and birthplace of the monstrous ...continue
no responses - Posted 08.20.10
With all of the hype around Bursa’s claim to fame, the İskender kebab, you’d think Bursans persisted on a diet of thinly sliced döner, pide, tomato sauce and frothy melted butter. But in between the spinning meat-sicles, the very icon of Turkish fast food, the markets of Bursa offer a ...continue