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Posts Tagged ‘ noodles ’

Aug 03

Doğu Türkistan Vakfı Aş Evi: East Meets East

Filed under Reviews (Eats)

Making the manti -- photo by Yigal Schleifer
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 name of Doğu Türkistan Vakfı Aş Evi (or East Turkistan Foundation Food House), it’s clear this restaurant is not aiming for mass-market appeal. Rather, the place functions as a kind of public service agency. Located inside the charming and very pleasant courtyard of a 16th-century former medrese (religious school), Doğu Türkistan Vakfı Aş Evi (DTVAE from here on) serves up hearty dishes for homesick exiled Uighurs, a Muslim Turkic people who hail from Western China’s Xinjiang province, or “East Turkistan” as it is known in Turkey.

Turks and Uighurs share a linguistic bond, and many in Turkey romantically think of the Uighurs as the “original” Turks. But the two peoples also share a strong culinary bond, with Uighur cooking providing perhaps a blueprint of what the “original” Turkish cooking might have tasted like. Where the classic Turkish kitchen reflects a mix various regional influences (Aegean, Middle Eastern, Balkan) and the highfalutin tastes of the Ottoman court, Uighur cooking retains the simplicity of a formerly nomadic people. So simple, in fact, that the menu at DTVAE is basically limited to three items – and two of them are different takes on mantı, the traditional Turkish dumpling. Continue…

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