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Posts Tagged ‘ Tekirdağ ’

Jan 17

Lost in Thrace: Following the Tekirdağ Köftesi Trail

Filed under Out of Istanbul, Reviews (Eats)

Editor’s note: This week, Istanbul Eats hops on the bus and heads west to sample the Thrace region’s most famous
köfte in its native environment. Guest writers Sherri Cohen and Alex Hallowell, Fulbright English Teaching Assistants at Namık Kemal University in Tekirdağ, have run the gut-busting gauntlet to bring you their top choices for Tekirdağ köftesi, the meatballs that are their namesake town’s claim to fame.

Although Tekirdağ’s city limits start at the standard blue sign at the edge of town, countless highway-side restaurants and truck stops advertising “meşhur Tekirdağ köftesi” fool the novice traveler into thinking she’s entered the small city of 130,000 long before that. The lure of the spicy meatball draws visitors far and wide to this hilly seaside town (which is equally famous for its rakı) about two hours west of Istanbul. Since most home cooks rarely undertake the mixing and spicing process required to make this kind of köfte, it is a dish best eaten out. The more motivated can buy premixed beef and lamb at a local kasap (butcher) for home grilling, but with multiple köfte shacks beckoning on every street, there’s no need to. Each köfteci offers the same lineup (beef meatballs, sometimes mixed with lamb), piyaz (white bean and vegetable salad dressed in oil), çorba (usually lentil soup) and ayran (salty yogurt drink), but too often you’ll end up with a mushy, greasy meatball in a ketchup-y sauce. We’ve been leisurely expanding our waistlines for four months in pursuit of the perfect meatball; here are our top choices. Continue…

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