WednesdayFiled under Reviews (Eats)
Visitors to Istanbul’s iconic Spice Bazaar encounter a place packed wall-to-wall with overzealous shopkeepers selling everything from saffron to sumac assembled in rows of majestic pyramids at slightly inflated prices.
But for our money, the only spices worth a damn are found just outside in a humbler setting. Crammed behind a tiny kiosk perched in front of a fast-food restaurant that flanks one of the bazaar’s entrances is the endearing Orhan usta. The loveable 65-year-old is a veritable master of çig köfte and a connoisseur of the spicy red pepper flakes cultivated in his hometown of Gaziantep, the southeastern city considered by many to be Turkey’s culinary capital.
While it’s traditionally made of raw meat (çig köfte translates to “raw meatball”), the versions found around Istanbul are typically vegetarian, a mix of bulgur wheat, tomato paste, pureed potato and, in Orhan usta’s version, a healthy dose of fiery Antep red pepper.
Read the rest of the review at Culinary Backstreets.
All entries filed under this archive
no responses - Posted 10.31.16
Kurtuluş Son Durak is a busy intersection and transit hub that’s a hive of activity 24 hours a day. Marking a transition between the tidy, middle-class Kurtuluş neighborhood and the rough-and-tumble quarters of Dolapdere and Hacıahmet, the area is home to a host of eateries and cafes that never seem ...continue
no responses - Posted 05.11.16
The triangle of Kurtuluş, Feriköy and Bomonti represents an Istanbul on the verge of fading away. Though still inhabited by significant numbers of Greeks, Jews and Armenians, there are more local churches and synagogues than are used by the remnants of those diminished communities. The numerous schools, houses of worship and ...continue
no responses - Posted 01.21.16
Metin Akdemir is a filmmaker based in Istanbul. In 2011 he made a short film about street vendors in the city. The film, “Ben Geldim Gidiyorum” (“I’ve Come and I’m Gone”), won several awards in Turkish and international film festivals, and we think it’s a very valuable piece of work ...continue
no responses - Posted 09.18.15
The Yenibosna bus station sits at the intersection of numerous transit routes, where passengers can embark on journeys to the furthest corners of the city as well as to its beating heart. Close to Istanbul’s main airport, and wedged in beneath several high-rise towers that seem to have ascended from the ...continue
no responses - Posted 08.06.15
Don’t people just love to fight about food? Punch-ups over which city makes the best pizza, brawls about what’s the right way to barbecue. Louis and Ella nearly called the whole thing off over the pronunciation of the word “tomato.” In this pugilistic spirit, we took our place at a couple ...continue
no responses - Posted 06.09.15
For the past 24 years, Cemil Tuncay has wheeled his small metal cart to the biweekly produce pazar in Edirne. He sets up shop around noon, lighting coals under what can be described as massive, torpedo-shaped sausages. Kokoreç is a simple fast food made from bits of sheep leftover from butchering, ...continue
no responses - Posted 02.24.14
By the name of the place, you’d expect the Sütçüler (“Milkmen” in English) district near Isparta in southern Turkey to be a dairyland paradise, thick on the ground with men carrying buckets sloshing fresh milk, cheese wheels stacked in cool dark sheds, verdant hills freckled with cows. But there are ...continue
2 responses - Posted 12.03.13
When we last visited Cemal Bey, he was sitting behind a desk in a small, bare office on the second floor of a decrepit building near the Egyptian Bazaar in the city’s old quarter (he has since moved). Three large burlap sacks filled with what look like jumbo-sized yellow raisins ...continue
no responses - Posted 05.24.13
As rapidly as Istanbul marches toward its modern destiny, street food in this city is still served the old-fashioned way, by boisterous ustas with a good pitch and, sometimes, a really good product. When the bars close, hungry Istanbulites cruise the streets looking for the gas lamp of a rice ...continue
1 response - Posted 02.04.13
One of the big downsides to Istanbul’s otherwise great food scene is the lack of a credible Mexican option. We’re not asking for anything special, just a place that serves simple, tasty tacos or burritos. But when the craving for Mexican gets strong, we don’t despair; we just head down ...continue