MondayFiled under Reviews (Eats)
Editor’s note: We’ve written previously about the strong connection between exiles and their dumplings; in this review, guest contributor İdil Meşe writes of her own family’s ties to this comfort food.
My grandfather passed away before I was born, and although we never met, he has always been a fascinating figure for me. He was from Samarkand, Uzbekistan, but after losing his entire family during the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, he immigrated to Turkey, bringing his shamanic beliefs and cuisine along with him.
I recall one evening when my mother and uncle shared memories of their father in my uncle’s kitchen over an intriguing, deep steamer, in which huge dumplings stuffed neatly with hand-chopped lamb and beef with a bit of tail fat – my grandfather’s recipe – were delicately arranged and left to cook for many hours. And I remember that sublime first taste of these dumplings – the festive, mouthwatering flavors that invoked happy pastoral scenes in my mind. It felt as if I was finally meeting my grandfather for the first time, and his Uzbek mantı became my favorite food on earth.
Read the rest of the story and find out where you can eat Uzbek mantı in Istanbul at Culinary Backstreets.
All entries filed under this archive
no responses - Posted 01.23.14
“I’m not a missionary, but I am not doing this just to make a profit. People must see that there is mantı outside of Kayseri, there’s Crimean Tatar mantı, as well,” explained Gülben Resuloğlu, in front of her restaurant in the leafy Feneryolu district of Istanbul’s Asian Side. If Martha Stewart were ...continue
1 response - Posted 09.12.13
It is puzzling that Istanbul, a city of some 15 million people with an increasingly lavish lifestyle, a world-famous cuisine and a booming tourism industry, has so little sparkle when it comes to fine dining. We’re surprised that the Prime Minister himself has not jumped into the culinary scrum by ...continue
no responses - Posted 07.11.13
In the former Soviet Central Asian republics, the boilerplate restaurant menu consists of plov, lagman, shashlik and samsa. Tired-looking Uzbek, Kyrgyz, Kazakh and Tajik establishments all serve up the same limp noodles and oily rice with a shrug – it’s their job. In the markets of Samarkand, Osh and Almaty, ...continue
4 responses - Posted 07.02.12
(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.”) 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 ...continue
5 responses - Posted 07.11.11
(Editor’s Note: In almost a decade of intrepid eating in Istanbul, we still miss the immigrant community restaurants we know from the American big cities where language barriers and foreign customs make a lunch into a real adventure. Istanbul has foreign communities and it has foreign restaurants but the two ...continue
1 response - Posted 09.20.10
After a while, some Turkish food, like mantı, can become repetitive – serving after serving of the same tiny, boiled dumplings with yogurt. Deeply conservative when it comes to food, Turkish cooks and diners alike generally don’t like any fussing around with traditional recipes. So, distinguishing between a good mantı ...continue
no responses - Posted 03.14.10
The English-language daily Today's Zaman has an article up that takes a look at some of the restaurants in Istanbul serving food from other regions in Turkey. The article (addresses included, for a change), offers some good tips on where to find food from the Black Sea and southeast regions ...continue
1 response - Posted 11.17.09
There are those restaurants worth going to because of their out-of-the-way location – a fish shack at the end of a lonely beach, a fondue hut at the top of an Alpine ridge. Then there are those worth seeking out despite their location – that culinary gem stuck inside a ...continue
1 response - Posted 09.04.09
The mini dumpling mantı, a dish that traces its roots to the mobile kitchens of nomadic Turkic tribes in Central Asia, is often referred to as “Turkish ravioli.” But could the Turks have beaten the Italians to the punch? Is it ravioli that should actually be called “Italian mantı?” We’ll never ...continue
19 responses - Posted 08.03.09
Editor's note: The Ottoman-era building that houses this restaurant is currently undergoing restoration, which means that the restaurant is closed for now. According to one of its owners, the restoration work will be completed next summer and the restaurant will reopen with a new and improved kitchen. With the particularly un-catchy ...continue