We are unabashedly fanatical in our love of hamsi, or anchovies, a late fall/wintertime specialty whose arrival we eagerly await each year in Istanbul, where the tiny fish are most commonly served pan-fried, grilled or in pilaf. But as any hamsi aficionado knows, for the best anchovy-eating in Turkey one must go directly to their source: the country’s Black Sea coastline, where the catch is brought in. Writer-photographer duo Robyn Eckhardt and David Hagerman recently did just that, chronicling their journey in words and photos in a delightful travel piece published last month in The New York Times.
Malaysia-based Eckhardt and Hagerman, the creators of the highly regarded food blog EatingAsia , are frequent visitors to Turkey. In “A Turkish Anchovy Quest on the Black Sea,” Eckhardt describes their mission:
I was on a pilgrimage of sorts, inspired by an anchovy obsession, one shared by many Turks. For connoisseurs of hamsi, as anchovies are called in Turkish, the fat-padded specimens netted from the frigid Black Sea trump those taken from the Sea of Marmara, south of Istanbul and the Bosporus. The Black Sea season – which usually starts mid-autumn and runs through February – has been keenly anticipated for centuries.
The rest of this post can be found on CulinaryBackstreets.com, here .