ThursdayFiled under Reviews (Eats)
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 of stools at our favorite back of the fish market corner bar, Asmaalti, from which to call one of the great barroom debates of these parts: is a sheep’s head, or kelle, more tasty when boiled and served chilled or roasted and served hot?
Round one. Ding.
Based on looks alone, Muamar usta’s söğüş kelle – head boiled and served cold – was decidedly the underdog. A bit gaunt and ashen, this skull looked a bit past its prime, a dud with a glass jaw. But lay down a fiver and watch this Cinderella story unfold. Muamar usta went to work with a sharp knife, transforming that sheep’s skull into a beautiful plate of thinly sliced meat dusted with salt, onions and parsley.
Read the rest of the review at Culinary Backstreets.
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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
no responses - Posted 08.21.12
Recently, while continuing our research into how kokoreç (grilled lamb intestines) became a fast-food staple in Istanbul, we were told by our favorite kelleci (vendor of cooked sheep’s head), Muammer Usta, about one of the oldest kokoreç masters around. Ali Usta’s shop is in Dolapdere, down the hill from the Tarlabaşı Sunday market and just ...continue
1 response - Posted 08.07.12
(Editor’s note: This post was written by “Meliz,” an intrepid explorer of Istanbul’s culinary backstreets and frequent Istanbul Eats guest contributor who would like to keep her anonymity.) At Istanbul Eats HQ, the conversation comes up every once in a while about how çiğ köfte has emerged as a sort of fast-food franchising ...continue
3 responses - Posted 05.24.12
In Rotterdam, one of Europe’s most culturally mixed cities, you’d expect a more diverse street food scene. The Rotterdam diet does embrace shwarma, Vietnamese spring rolls and Turkish lahmacun, but then Dutchifies the food by dousing it with liberal squirts of mayo. Due to cultural assimilation or by catering to ...continue
1 response - Posted 05.01.12
Vahap Usta pulled a pair of reading glasses from the inside pocket of a snug dinner jacket and sifted through a stack of newspaper clippings. Here was a full spread from a major daily paper proclaiming him the “King of Kokoreç” and another with him in his signature tuxedo and ...continue
no responses - Posted 03.12.12
Last week, we wrote about our new favorite cake from Fatih Sarmacısı. We’d had our eye on this vintage-looking cake shop for quite a while but hadn’t had the chance to stop in for a slice and really explore the area until recently. It was lunchtime when we set out ...continue