Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
sazji

eG Foodblog: sazji - Istanbul Glutfests

Recommended Posts

INTRODUCTION-BACKGROUND

So I’ve been thinking for weeks now about what kind of things to put in this blog, images of food porn dancing in my head, fantasizing about the nice restaurants this will give me a good excuse to go to, and predicting the looks I’ll get when the waiters watch me photographing everything brought to our table. But I didn’t really think much about the introduction. Now it’s a day before I’m to start and suddenly I have to think about this!

My real name is Bob Beer, I’m nominally a Seattleite (14 years) and I’ve been living in Istanbul, Turkey for around 6 years now. The original reason I came here was to study Turkish folk music, as well as learn Turkish well (I work as a translator). And of course, eat and learn to make at least my favorite dishes. I am not nor have I ever been a food professional; I’m just a person who likes good food, and is drawn to what is different. I remember as a kid begging my mother to buy a persimmon in the grocery store — they were terribly expensive — because the idea of a fruit I had never tasted was so alluring. Years later I spent 10 dollars I didn’t have to try durian for the first time. (Fortunately I loved it.)

A random note that doesn't fit into the flow - the pictures in the teaser are 1) a view from my garden to the mosque next door, 2) a boy in our local weekly neighborhood market selling snake gourds, and 3) a cup of strong Turkish tea in the typical glass.

My mother is a southerner and the daughter of a Greek restaurateur (he was Greek, the restaurant wasn’t but he was a damn good cook in any case) from Marmara Island, about 2 hours west of here by fast ferry. You might imagine that I grew up eating lots of Greek food, but mom was married to a meat-and-potatoes man whose mother was, by all accounts, a horrible cook. Chicken was boiled. Steaks were fried-till-dead, then incarcerated in milk gravy and boiled further. My dad was thus very finicky about food and many a meal was begun with a tentative sniff, and a “....what’s this?” (The groaning buffet table to which we were invited at a Chinese friend’s house was a wonderland for me; to him I think it was more like a chamber of horrors, the little whole octopuses and thousand-year-old egg topping the list of terrifying surprises...) Greek food? “Hrumph! Why do they keep putting cinnamon in the beef?” Lamb? Mom tried feeding it to him once, convinced that he wouldn’t even recognize it. He did. :) I was a kid who ate pretty much everything except fresh tomatoes; the rule for my brother and I was that we had to try everything. My brother took on more after my dad, I took after my mom. So aside from some really good sweets around Christmas, Greek food happened mostly on those weekends when my dad was out of town, much to my brother’s dismay. To be fair, my first taste of feta cheese made me want to hurl... And we both did like yogurt, which we always had around, because my mom made her own, not a common thing in Iowa in the 60s. We called it "yiaourti," I didn’t even know it had any other name. I remember one of my playmates almost gagging when we fed him some.

When I was growing up, my dad was a grad student and mom a housewife, so we ate cheaply and mostly out of cans; more Spam than I care to think about. Mom was a pretty good cook actually but I think tended to see it mostly as a job and not something to get really creative with unless there was company. I don’t think I ever had fresh beans or peas till I was in around 6th grade and my mom planted a big garden. That was a revelation.

Various things spurred me to really get interested in food. I had a good friend in 7th grade from Taiwan, and I ate at their house a lot. Living for a summer and then a year in Greece (where I discovered that tomatoes could be edible and nearly everything was made from scratch) was definitely another one. The first cookbook I ever bought was on that trip. For a while there I made bread every week.

I grew up in Iowa City, Iowa. When I moved out of the house, I went to Champaign, Ill., and was exposed to a wok for the first time. There was a big Asian food store there, and all these mysterious ingredients! I still can’t cook Chinese worth a damn though. :huh:

My first trip to Turkey was in 1982, for 2 weeks, and I instantly fell in love with the country, its people and its food. I was living in Greece at the time so it was fascinating to see the different takes on things that were very familiar, as well as things completely new to me. I also was dismayed to find that recipes I found for some of these foods in cookbooks in the west came out tasting very different from the way they tasted in Turkey. Milk is not milk, yogurt is definitely not yogurt, and pepper paste is...more or less nonexistent. Yeah, it's all in the pepper paste!

Most of the time, I eat fairly simply. My own cooking habits are strongly influenced by my time in Greece. I suppose if I were writing this blog from Greece, I’d say my cooking habits are heavily influenced by my time in Turkey. It’s a relatively new border, with Greeks and Turks on both sides of it, what the heck! I’m not vegetarian but I don’t eat lots of meat. I cook for myself a lot but don’t usually go all-out unless I have guests. So this blog should offer a good opportunity to make some good food, go to some of my favorite (if not necessarily upscale) restaurants, and take you on a virtual tour of some of the wonderful food markets here. Of course I’ll take suggestions as well: If there’s something you’d like to see (excluding the cuisine served in a Turkish jail), just ask.

TURKISH PRONUNCIATION

I’ll be using lots of Turkish words, so here is a quick guide to pronunciation for those who are curious. That way I can write a word like “İmam Bayıldı” without constantly having to include hideous transliterations like “ee-MAHM bah-yuhl-DUH” in parentheses. Or you can go to the online Turkish/English dictionary http://www.seslisozluk.com and hear the words pronounced. You have to become a member for that function, but it’s free.

You may have to change your encoding for these to display properly. If you are seeing letters like “þ” or “ý,” then you need to choose View > Encoding > Turkish on your browser.

Turkish is 99% phonetically written. Maybe 98%. The vowels are:

a - father

e - bet

(Or, if you are the Turkish equivalent of a valley girl, a drawn out, nasal a as in “bad...” If you want to hear a masterful imitation of Turkish valley girl, I can direct you. :laugh: )

ı - somewhere between butter and wood. Capital: I

i - about halfway between bit and beet. Capital: İ

o - roll

ö - close to the German ö

u - tool

ü - close to the German ü

The consonants are pretty much as you might expect with the exception of:

c - jet

ç - cheese

ğ - lengthens the preceding vowel

j - Zsa Zsa

ş - shoot


Edited by sazji (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey, I didn't know you went to U of I. Were you a music major? Are you going to display your mad noodle-throwing skillz?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

sazji, I'm so happy to see you blogging! You are one of my favorite posters -- great photos, and very instructive. I'm sure we'll learn a lot and have great entertainment from this blog. Enjoy!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Behemoth - I was a Russian major actually! My father was a professor of music at the U.I., my mother was a professional cellist (and is still a fine musician) but left the profession to be a mom.

Pan - thanks for the good word!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How exciting; I can't wait to see what you share with us!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, onto blogging. I should be in bed really but I just got back a few days ago from a month in the US, and am terribly jet-lagged; I was sleepy at 5 this evening but not now!

Well, one blogger started a day late, so I don’t suppose it’s cheating to start a day "early!" Meaning that I had such a nice food day yesterday that I couldn't not share it. And today was pretty pedestrian in terms of food - a cup of coffee (albeit Sumatra from Cafe Vita in Seattle), a banana, several mandarins, and a kır pidesi (well, pretty pedestrian here, and it wasn't a good one).

Having just returned from Seattle, my friend Ferda called me and invited me to a nice day of “re-entry.” Ferda owns a great little “home cooking” restaurant in Istanbul’s Taksim district (which I’ll definitely be visiting this week), and is an enthusiastic traveler and lover of good food. She’ll call and say “Bob, [so-and-so]’s mother is here and she made a batch of [such-and-such] from their village, it’s amazing, you have to come right now!” She has a lovely little house on Burgazadası, the second of the Prince’s Islands off the coast of Asian Istanbul.

gallery_28660_3996_61777.jpg

The weather being beautiful, we decided to eat breakfast on the boat, which takes about an hour. I brought an açma (a light buttery bun) with olive, and a portion of cheese su böreği, a baked dish with “phyllo” of thin rolled noodle dough which is boiled and layered with a filling. There’s a lot of mediocre mile-high su böreği in Istanbul but we have a place in our neighborhood (Kocamustafapaşa) that makes a wonderful home-style one with lots of real butter.

gallery_28660_3996_16138.jpg

Ferda brought salad makings — a salad of some sort, or at least sliced tomatoes and cucumbers is an indispensable part of a Turkish breakfast — and olives, sandwiches with cream cheese, string cheese, pastirma and beef ham.

gallery_28660_3996_20030.jpg

Also indispensable is strong tea in narrow glasses, which Ferda bought on board the ship.

gallery_28660_3996_37584.jpg

We could have had simit (sesame bread rings) as well, but we already had plenty of bread. Along with the tea guys, the simit sellers are a permanent fixture on the ferries. You'll also see them walking through the streets of Istanbul with these trays expertly balanced on their heads.

gallery_28660_3996_48460.jpg

We also had musical accompaniment provided by 5 young guys with a guitar!

gallery_28660_3996_11027.jpg

When we got to the island, we went to where the fishermen bring in their catch. It pays to be very careful when buying fish in the markets in Istanbul; unscrupulous dealers will often try and slip in a less-than-fresh one to people who don't know how to choose. They also sometimes use some sort of trick to make their gills stay red and point to those as a sign of freshness, but when the eyes are sunken and cloudy... The ones here are very dependable; much of what they have is still alive.

Todays’ offerings: lüfer (3-year-old bluefısh), sarıkanat, (2-year-old bluefısh), istavrit (which I didn’t know in English but seslisozluk informs me is "horse mackerel," Trachurus trachurus), and hamsi, a small sardine-like fish that travels in huge schools in the Black Sea and is the main protein source there. Τurkish is interesting in that for several fish there are different names according to the age/size of the fish. Lüfer migrates from the Black Sea into the Bosphorus each fall, fully fatted, and is amazing. We took the sarıkanat, which means literally “yellow wing,” because at that stage, the fins are distinctly yellow.

gallery_28660_3996_20951.jpg

After hanging out at the house a bit, we took off into nature to collect wild greens. There are many, many different edible plants growing on the island according to the season. Right now the best are mallow, nettle, and wild mustard. I picked a good bunch of wild mustard, steamed it, and dressed it with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. I must confess, though this is a distinctly Greek way to prepare greens, if I were "really" Greek the greens would not be nearly so brilliant because I would have boiled them a lot longer...

Wild mustard: before

gallery_28660_3996_39305.jpg

Wild mustard: after

gallery_28660_3996_32857.jpg

Ferda also picked a lot of Arbutus unedo fruit. Also known as strawberry tree, A. unedo is common on the islands. The latin name "unedo" means "I eat one," because one is plenty for most people. Here they are known as kocayemiş, koca meaning "great big" and yemiş being the blanket term for all sorts of berries and nuts. The flavor is not bad but it is covered with a layer of gritty points that you can't really take off, and full of seeds to boot. Imagine trying to scrape sand off a soft chocolate truffle you dropped on the beach...and once you do, find that it already had gravel in it. I had one and spent about five minutes spitting out the grit. More for her!

gallery_28660_3996_54809.jpg

We had a nice dinner on their patio which overlooks a small bay. I won’t show the cooked fish because despite all Ferda’s efforts, it stuck to the grill. :sad: But ıt was great. Many fish lovers here say "never never never put lemon on fish." I do, I like it, I get chewed out for it, but to each his own.

Here’s our dining table...

gallery_28660_3996_10252.jpg

That's it for tonight. Tomorrow morning I'm going out to İkitelli Köy, a village that has been subsumed into the sprawl of Istanbul, for breakfast with friends from Tunceli, followed by an engagement party. So it will be evening here before I'll be back online.


Edited by sazji (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How exciting -- so much for me to learn as I know almost nothing about Turkey. What is the climate like there?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm very excited about this, too! Turkey is in the top three of countries I most want to visit, so this is like a travel planner for me. :smile:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

sazji,

I will be reading your blog with much interest.

My very first trip out of the USA was to Turkey, of all places!!! This was in 1978 or so. I had a very good girlfriend who. at that time, was dating a professor at Carnegie Mellon who was from Turkey. He was returning for the summer to do a guest lectureship at a University in Istanbul (Bosphorus?) and wanted her to come for a couple weeks to meet and visit his family. I was invited as a travelling companion. Too bad I was only two years out of college and we had very little money BUT who could turn down such an opportunity? Those years Turkey was under a military regime. so stepping off the plane with soldiers with armed machine guns was a bit of a culture shock for us BUT the trip was still amazing. We spent time in Istanbul, Izmir, and Ankara. We first arrived in Istanbul so were there for several days but his family lived in Ankara, so most of the trip was spent there.

Food? Fortunately, even almost 30 years ago, I was an adventuresome eater. Loved the food. My friend, however, was not so enthralled.

I do recall one of our most memorable days. While exporing the ruins near Izmir (Ephesus?), hanging out in one of the amphitheaters being excavated, we spotted some folks on the other side WITH, of all things, A COOLER (now this was after almost 2 weeks of luke warm beverages...lucky to get 2 small ice cubes in a drink)!!!!! We soon discovered (after making fools of ourselves....yelling and screaming at them) that they were Americans stationed at a base nearby. And in that COOLER was some ICE COLD BEERS!!!!! Not being a regular beer drinker myself did not mean that I did not thoroughly enjoy that cold one more than any other beverage I have ever had!!!!!!

I never did learn much Turkish BUT, to this day, I can still say "I'm American, I do not speak Turkish" in Turkish!!!!

Looking forward to more of your blog. Brings back memories!!!

Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Awesome start! This is going to be delightful. Those greens look wonderful. I like lemon on fish, too. :smile:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How exciting -- so much for me to learn as I know almost nothing about Turkey. What is the climate like there?

Istanbul is fairly hot and humid in the summer with rain up into early July or so, rare after that. In the autum the rains start again. But there are also lots of microclimates here - I'm close to the Marmara sea, and this summer got almost no rain after early May. Sometimes I'd sit on my porch in the sun watching thunderstorms go over Taksim (just a couple kilometers away), which was getting flooded. Frustrating as I really needed rain! The winter is comparable to Seattle, perhaps with a few more sunbreaks. Mostly gray and cool, light freezes at night but occasional cold snaps and snow.

The country has a wide variety of climates. The Black Sea is overall mild, subtropical in some areas (they used to grow mandarins in the E. Black Sea before they began growing tea in the early part of the century). The Mediterranean area has hot dry summers and cool mild winters; at the southernmost point they grow avocadoes and bananas. The most severe climates are inland - Erzurum is known for extremely cold winters, and in the southeast near the Syrian and Iraqi borders summer temps of 110 (45 C plus...) and above are fairly common. I was there last winter and we had lots of 70 degree days (20 C).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Those years Turkey was under a military regime. so stepping off the plane with soldiers with armed machine guns was a bit of a culture shock for us BUT the trip was still amazing.

Food?  Fortunately, even almost 30 years ago, I was an adventuresome eater.  Loved the food.  My friend, however, was not so enthralled. 

I never did learn much Turkish BUT, to this day, I can still say "I'm American, I do not speak Turkish" in Turkish!!!!

Well, you did more than lots of other foreigners who come here! I think that's why many Turks assume "all or nothing" - if you speak a little Turkish, you must understand everything, because people tend to either really put in an effort or not at all. It's one of those learning curve things...there's a woman here who came over 16 years ago and decided right away that she couldn't learn. Her street is called "Asmalımescit" and she pronounces it "Ass-molly-medgit." Which we have distorted to "A Smelly Midget." It will never bet the same....:)

Overall I love the food of course, though certain things can get tiresome - the enless "fry an onion in lots of oil, throw in some tomato/pepper paste and whatever else you have" kind of foods common in some of the buffet type restaurants. Home cooking is something else entirely. I still cannot eat tripe, and kokoreç (intestines wrapped around liver, kidney etc. and roasted on a spit) only about 10 percent of the time, when they leave out the core of fat in the middle. Mostly its the quality and freshness of ingredients that I'm in love with.

When I came here the first time, it was still under a military regime as well; I crossed over from Greece to Ayvalik. The military security soldiers with the uzis at every bus stop demanding ID was pretty intimidating. Istanbul went off military rule the night I left! There is still work to be done but Turkey has changed a lot since then, both good and bad. The good is of course the incredible change in human rights, with minority language/cultural restrictions lifted. The bad is an incredible consumerism; and the blind acceptance of just about anything that comes from the west. It's like a cultural flash flood. I was struck when I came back in 1996 after 11 years absent, by the proliferation of packaged foods. Lots of younger people, even women, express astonishment that I still make certain foods; they are just "too much trouble" and they never learned. In another 10 years will Turkey be like the US in that respect, where you go into a store and find "aisles and ailes of 'food' and nothing to eat?" I hope not!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sazji, I feel guilty confessing that I rarely read any of the blogs -- however I met a famous Turkish chef (Musa Dagdeviren of Çiya restaurant in Istanbul) several years ago who completely turned my head when I tasted his food at a conference here in California.

Now I'm almost obsessed with learning about Turkish cuisine and visiting in the near future (perhaps late next year). I'll be reading and re-reading your blog to learn more!

Thanks so much for this lesson!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sazji,

What an interesting story!

You also seem to have a wonderful eye for light and reflection in your photos.

"Strawberry Trees" are grown here in SF as (fairly messy) street trees. I don't think anyone thinks to try to eat the fruit. Though, I understand, in some parts of the world a wine of some sort is made from them.

Perhaps I will be emboldened enough to try a fruit one day.

Looking forward to seeing and reading more.

Cheers!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, wonderful!

I've been to Turkey 2 times (first trip was Istanbul and the westcoast, second trip southcoast) and I loved loved LOVED the food. And the tea! We had countless glasses of that strong black sweet tea, sitting in the shade in teagardens, with a book or our little portable chessboard.

Can't wait to see what you have in store for us.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

sazji, what an exciting blog! I visited Istanbul (and parts of central and western Turkey) just over 2 years ago and I LOVED it, especially the food. It's hard to replicate the dishes I ate there because the ingredients were so good and fresh. Is yoghurt in Turkey the same as 'greek' yoghurt?

Looking forward to the rest of the week.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"Strawberry Trees" are grown here in SF as (fairly messy) street trees.  I don't think anyone thinks to try to eat the fruit.  Though, I understand, in some parts of the world a wine of some sort is made from them.

Perhaps I will be emboldened enough to try a fruit one day.

Hmmm...now making alcohol out of them might work; the taste is actually fairly good. Apricot-like. Definitely try one! They are all over Seattle, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Is yoghurt in Turkey the same as 'greek' yoghurt?

Well...it's very similar to Greek yogurt in Greece, but if by "Greek" yogurt you mean the Fage brand and imitators that are sold in the US and western Europe...actually I'd have to say that "Greek" yogurt has almost nothing to do with Greek yogurt, much less Turkish yogurt! That was the one thing that I was most intolerant of on my trip back to the US - I didn't find a single kind of yogurt I could stand! They all had various gums/gelatins/thickeners, and just didn't taste like yogurt to me.

Actually I was living in Greece when Fage first hit the market. Many people there didn't like it at all, and of those who did, most would only use it for something like tzatziki, not for actual eating plain. Everyone was convinced it had skim milk powder, which the company denied, but a friend of mine actually found a lump of undissolved powder in her Fage. :) Now they seem to be used to it, and all the sweetened yogurts, unknown 20 years ago, are quite normal now. There might be something like that in Turkey now but I can't say I'm aware of it. There are lots of brands of yogurt though. Probably the best is Tikvesli, it's made with real whole milk, slightly yellow, with a nice skin (kaymak) on the top. Other good ones are Çoban and Itimat (an inexpensive dairy product outlet).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Today was not outstanding in terms of food, so I'll supplement with pictures of things I didn't eat. :) But it was an interesting day nontheless.

The sister-in-law of a musician friend got engaged today. The families are Zazas from the area of Tunceli and Bingöl. Zazas are a non-Turkic people sometimes associated with the Kurds but though their language is in the same group it is not intelligible to Kurds. Some are Sunni muslim, others are Alevi (see below).

I decided to grab a little something before starting the somewhat long bus ride to İkitelli Köy, a small (former) village on the west side of Istanbul that is in the process of being engulfed by the city. I went to the Simit Sarayi. About 4 years ago, somebody got the idea to elaborate on the basic simit (the sesame-covered bread rings sold all over Turkey), and started Simit Sarayi, or Simit Palace. They offered cheese, olive, sucuk (a type of sausage) and olive-filled simit, as well as a variety of cakes, pastries and cookies, and drinks. The concept took off, and as with everything that succeeds here, many rushed to copy them. Now there is Simithan, Simitçi, and other simit places, all essentially the same, and sometimes side-by-side in true Starbuck's style competitiveness.

gallery_28660_3996_34428.jpg

I saw something new - a simit with kavurma, essentially meat that is simmered in its own fat till very tender. It certainly looked good!

gallery_28660_3996_7940.jpg

It tasted...fatty. Luckily the tea was strong! :blink:

The traffic was moving pretty well and I got to İkitelli in about an hour. When I got to the house, the women were already busy in the kitchen making the meal to feed all the guests.

gallery_28660_3996_76934.jpg

Actually food at weddings and other such occasions, especially in the case of villagers in the East, is often not at all elaborate. It might be bulgur boiled with mutton. Today it was rice pilalf, boiled chicken and beans, with ayran (yogut mixed with water and often salted). People in the east generally spread a cloth called a sofra, and eat sitting on the floor.

gallery_28660_3996_50572.jpg

Here is a picture of a couple houses, not particularly old, in İkitelli Köy. Most of the original stone houses of the village are tumbling down. These are probably gecekondu, literally "alit at night," which refers to houses that are built illegally, and often overnight —at least the front walls— with the help of many friends, so that in the morning there is for all appearances a brand new house that was not there the day before! There are streets of regular cement apartment blocks surrounding the village as well.

gallery_28660_3996_61954.jpg

At the celebration there was music and dancing, and the bride-to-be received small gifts and wishes from relatives. Most of the singing was in Kurdish because the singer was Kurdish, and these people do mostly the same dances.

gallery_28660_3996_37825.jpg

Click here for a short video of some of the dancing!

Unfortunately it was actually quite dark in the room and it was hard to get good pictures there.

Here is a relative of my friend with a typical headscarf decorated with oya. In the east women mostly wear white headscarves. These are Alevis, who belong to a "heterodox" sect of Islam (many would not call themselves muslims). Men and women worship together, and there is no segregation of men and women. Woman are not required by their religion to cover but many village women do simply because it's traditional.

gallery_28660_3996_52630.jpg

On the way back, I decided to take some pictures of some of the shops on the road from the bus stop to my house, just to get some more food in my post!

Here there is still a significant degree of specialization. If you want dried fruits and nuts (known collectively as kuruyemiş, or dry foods, you go to a kuruyemişçi. On the far left are bottles of boza, a sweet-sour fermented (non-alcoholic) drink made from millet.

gallery_28660_3996_40375.jpg

This one is also selling çevizli sucuk, literally "walnut sausage," which is strings of walnuts dipped in grape juice or grape molasses thickened with wheat starch.

gallery_28660_3996_24832.jpg

I seem to have had a sweet tooth because I kept getting drawn to the sweet shops. Many people know "kadayıf" or "kataifi" in its Greek rendition, a shredded-wheat-like pastry. But other things are known as kadayıf as well. Here is ekmek kadayıfı or "bread kataif," which is soakedin syrup and filled with kaymak, or clotted buffalo cream. It is one of very few sweets I really just can't take more than a bite or two of. :blink:

gallery_28660_3996_29226.jpg

Another place was selling all manner of deep fried syrup pastries, notably tulumba (which means "pump"), the oblong large and small pastries in the very front, (being poured into the pan) lokma (the round ones in the back) and halka tatlısı or "circle sweet." The llatter is also very commonly sold by street vendors, probably because it's the easiest to hold and eat.

And no mention of Turkish would be complete without some baklava! Here we have rolled walnut baklava and pistachio roll, which is almost all pistachio. The other one in the middle is şekerpare, which is a bit like a soft crumbly cookie or cake soaked in syrup.

gallery_28660_3996_64500.jpg

I'm thinking of making a trip to one of the really good baklava places to elaborate on that. Enjoy!


Edited by sazji (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your blog is off to a nice start. I note that in one photo the tea was in narrow glasses, and in another the tea was in cups with handles. Is one more prevalent than the other? The Egyptian practice of putting hot tea in glasses threw me for a loop until I figured out how to hold the glass without burning myself.

What's that lux incir, next to the walnut sausage? Is it a fruit?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Your blog is off to a nice start.  I note that in one photo the tea was in narrow glasses, and in another the tea was in cups with handles.  Is one more prevalent than the other?  The Egyptian practice of putting hot tea in glasses threw me for a loop until I figured out how to hold the glass without burning myself.

What's that lux incir, next to the walnut sausage?  Is it a fruit?

It's extra quality dried figs!

About tea - when you go to a pastry/börek shop there is usually a choice between a large or small tea. Though at home most people use the small glasses (probably cause mom's always there to keep filling them) people who want a bit more when they eat out will usually get a large tea. It may be a teacup with a handle or just a large glass. But it's always glass; tea must be drunk from glass! :)

As for the fingers - funny about that, it used to get me too but not any more. If it's really really hot and it's to the edge, then you just wait a minute or so. Usually it's far enough below the edge that it's not an issue; you just have to have a steady hand. A little finger usually goes below to support the blass as well. In cold weather they fit nicely into cold hands...


Edited by sazji (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love this blog! Thanks so much for including that video; somehow, seeing and hearing it all in moving time adds so much that's hard to imagine from the written word.

I've seen the recipe for those walnuts dipped in grape in a Georgian cookbook, but it looks like you have to keep dipping them for days. Tell me, are they so delicious as to be worth the effort to make them here?

And being in the Seattle area, let me say that I have never in my life imagined our climate to be close to Turkey's. That alone is a revelation.

What instrument do you play, and can we have a little video clip of you playing?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh my...another great blog!! And Turkey is a place I dream of visiting. :smile:

Bugger not having an interesting enough day with food, the pics and video from the wedding are so evocative that food could wait!! My hips swayed at the PC with that video and Im now left wondering if I was from that part of the world in a past life. But then, you just HAD to pass the sweet store. :biggrin:

I want some of everything please, especially those walnut strings! I toffee walnuts to accompany blue cheese on occasion and those strings looked more than enticing.

This is all good and I cant wait for futher installments!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for a really educational look at the culture of Turkey from a food and music perspective, it's very facinating. Is that a real estate sale sign over the Simitci store a Remax logo??? Great job keep the pic's coming.


Edited by doc slaughter (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By Mullinix18
      I'm thinking about starting a blog featuring the recipes of antoine Carême that I've translated from 1700s French? No English versions of his works exist and his work is hard to find, even though he is the greatest chef who ever lived. After I get through his works I'd add menon, la Varenne, and other hard to find, but historically important masters of French cuisine. 
    • By Duvel
      Prologue:
       
      Originally, we intended to spend this Chinese New Year in Hong Kong. We have travelled a lot last year and will need to attend a wedding already next month in Germany, so I was happy to spend some quiet days at home (and keep the spendings a bit under control as well). As a consequence, we had not booked any flights in the busiest travel time of the year in this region …
       
      But – despite all good intentions – I found myself two weeks ago calling the hotline of my favourite airline in the region, essentially cashing in on three years of extensive business travel and checking where I could get on short notice over CNY on miles. I was expecting a laughter on the other side of the line but this is the one time my status in their loyalty reward program paid out big time: three seats for either Seoul or Kansai International (earliest morning flights, of course). No need to choose, really – Kyoto, here we come !
       

    • By Tara Middleton
      Alright so as of a few months ago, I decided to take an impromptu trip to Europe--mostly unplanned but with several priorities set in mind: find the best food and locate the most game-changing ice cream spots on the grounds of each city I sought out for. One of the greatest, most architecturally unique and divine cities I have visited thus far has gotta be Vienna, Austria. But what in the heck is there to eat over there?! (you might ask). 'Cause I sure as hell didn't know. So, I desperately reached out to a local Viennese friend of mine, who knows and understands my avid passion for all things edible, and she immediately shot back some must-have food dishes. Doing a bit of research beforehand, I knew I had to try the classic "Kasekreiner". Please forgive my German if I spelled that wrong. But no matter how you say it- say it with passion, because passion is just about all I felt when I ate it. Translated: it basically means cheese sausage. Honestly, what is there not to love about those two words. Even if that's not necessarily your go-to, do me a favor and give it a shot. Trust me, you won't regret it. A classic Austrian pork sausage with pockets of melty cheese, stuffed into a crisp French Baguette. No ketchup necessary (...and as an American, that's saying a lot). YUM. Best spot to try out this one-of-a-kind treat?! Bitzinger bei der Albertina – Würstelstand. Now here's a shot of me with my one true love in front of this classic Viennese green-domed building-- Karlskirche. Now, go check it.
       
       

    • By KennethT
      OK, I'm back, by popular demand! hehe....  After being back for 2 days, I'm still struggling with crazy jetlag and exhaustion - so please bear with me!
       
      This year, for our Asian adventure, we went to Bali, which for those who don't know, is one of the islands in Indonesia.  Bali is a very unique place - from its topology, to the people, language, customs, religion and food.  Whereas the majority of people in Indonesia are Muslim, most people in Bali are Balinese Hindu, which from what I understand is a little like Indian Hinduism, but has more ancestor worship.  Religion is very important to many people in Bali - there are temples everywhere, and at least in one area, there are religious processions through the street practically every day - but we'll get to that later.
       
      Bali has some food unique to it among its Indonesian neighbors, but like everywhere, has seen quite a bit of immigration from other Indonesian islands (many from Java, just to the west) who have brought their classic dishes with them.
       
      Basically all Indonesians speak Indonesian, or what they call Bahasa Indonesia, or just Bahasa, which, anyone who has read my prior foodblogs wouldn't be surprised to hear that I learned a little bit just before the trip.  Unfortunately, I didn't get to use any of it, except a couple times which were totally unnecessary.  When speaking with each other, most people in Bali speak Balinese (totally different from bahasa) - many times when I tried using my bahasa, they smiled and replied, and then tried to teach me the same phrase in Balinese!  As time went on, and I used some of the Balinese, I got lots of surprised smiles and laughs - who is this white guy speaking Balinese?!?  Seriously though, tourism has been in Bali for a very long time, so just about everyone we encountered spoke English to some degree.  Some people spoke German as well, as they supposedly get lots of tourists from Germany.  As one of our drivers was telling us, Bali is heavily dependent on tourism as they have no real industry other than agriculture, which doesn't pay nearly as well as tourism does.
       
      While there are beaches all around the island, most of the popular beach areas are in the south of the island, and those areas are the most highly touristed.  We spent very little time in the south as we are not really beach people (we get really bored) and during planning, decided to stay in less touristed areas so we'd have more opportunities for local food... this didn't work out, as you'll see later.
       
      So, it wouldn't be a KennethT foodblog without photos in the Taipei airport and I-Mei Dim Sum, which we called home for about 4 hours before our connection to Bali...
       
      Beef noodle soup:

       
      The interior:

       
      This was the same as always - huge pieces of beef were meltingly tender.  Good bite to the thick chewy noodles.
       
      Xie long bao (soup dumplings) and char siu bao (fluffy barbeque pork buns):

    • By KennethT
      Recently, there was a thread about stir frying over charcoal, which immediately brought to mind memories of eating in Bangkok in July 2013.  At that time, I hadn't gotten into the habit of writing food blogs, and considering that I had some spare time this weekend (a rarity) I figured I would put some of those memories down on paper, so to speak.  Back then, neither my wife nor I were in the habit of taking tons of photos like we do nowadays, but I think I can cobble something together that would be interesting to folks reading it.
       
      In the spirit of memories, I'll first go back to 2006 when my wife and I took our honeymoon to Thailand (Krabi, Bangkok and Chiang Mai), Singapore and Hanoi.  That was our first time to Asia, and to be honest, I was a little nervous about it.  I was worried the language barrier would be too difficult to transcend, or that we'd have no idea where we were going.  So, to help mitigate my slight anxiety, I decided to book some guides for a few of the locations.  Our guides were great, but we realized that they really aren't necessary, and nowadays with internet access so much more prevalent, even less necessary.
       
      Prior to the trip, when emailing with our guide in Bangkok to finalize plans, I mentioned that we wanted to be continuously eating (local food, I thought was implied!)  When we got there, I realized the misunderstanding when she opened her trunk to show us many bags of chips and other snack foods.. whoops...  Anyway, once the misconception was cleared up, she took us to a noodle soup vendor:


      On the right is our guide, Tong, who is now a very famous and highly sought after guide in BKK.... at the time, we were among here first customers.  I had a chicken broth based noodle soup with fish ball, fish cake and pork meatball, and my wife had yen ta fo, which is odd because it is bright pink with seafood.  I have a lime juice, and my wife had a longan juice.
       
      This is what a lot of local food places look like:

       
       
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×