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.

eG Foodblog: sazji - Istanbul Glutfests


sazji
 Share

Recommended Posts

I got a bunch of stuff today!

It's been interesting doing this blog; and good for me because I'm not always extremely good at approaching perfect strangers. But this has forced me to. I've had only one really negative reaction and that was this morning at our neighborhood yufkacı (maker of yufka which is more or less like phyllo). I had hoped to take pictures of the rolling out and preparation process as it's fairly interesting. The guy was having none of it, he said "Is this some sort of commercial?" (meaning commercial for me...?) I told him nobody was making any money off this but he said "ahhh, but you'll find your way to profit from it....forget it!" I've been in the shop many times before but never met the owner, it was always a young and very nice woman who helped me there. I imagine if I'd known the owner and not been a complete stranger he would have been more than glad to hear what this was really about.

Still I was just a bit hesitant when I asked at the Hatay food store in Aksaray if I could take pictures for a "web diary." But generally people who specialize in something are proud of what they are doing and like to talk about it; the owner was happy to get a bit of exposure. I told him I couldn't promise him any instant profit but he might get some curious "pis boğaz" (literally "dirty throats," the Turkish equivalent to "foodie") at some time in the future. :smile: So here's his storefront - sorry for the tilt - he's on the last street to the west behind the Aksaray Metro Station, right on the corner, if you are in Istanbul, give him a visit and say Bob sent you!

gallery_28660_3996_58711.jpg

He was curious to know if there were similar stores in the U.S. and were non-Turks really interested in this kind of stuff? Here, aside from certain things that have become pan-Turkish, most people pretty much stick to what was familiar. They were shocked to learn that I knew what sürk was (see below) and even more so that I actually liked it. To prove the point, he asked three people who came in buying run-of-the-mill items if they knew what sürk was, each time they said "no," he looked satisfied and said "işte, gördün mü?!" (There, you see?!).

They invited me to share their çiğ köfte or "raw köfte." This is made of pounded meat, pepper paste and bulgur.

gallery_28660_3996_51072.jpg

The version best known in Turkey is the one from Urfa, it is dark, loaded with hot pepper, and generally served either wrapped in lavash or eaten rolled in a lettuce leaf with a squeeze of lemon. The Antakya version is much milder, and is eaten along with this cooked meat "sauce." You take the köfte and drag it through the sauce and get what you can on it. It was quite good. The told me that right down the street was a restaurant (which he owned) specializing in Antakya style kebap and home cooking. Next week I'll go try it.

This little neighborhood is populated mostly by people from the area around Urfa and Antakya, which is reflected in the restaurants and shops on the street. Antakya, or Antioch as it is known in English, is in Turkey's Hatay region, the little "tail" projecting down towards/into Syria. It has some of the most interesting food in the country, a blend of Anatolian and Levantine influences. One of the more unusual specialties of the area is sürk cheese. This is a sheep's milk cheese that is mixed with hot pepper and other spices, salted and aged. It tastes very sheepy, and is extremely sharp. It's served as a meze, or appetizer, grated, with olive oil drizzled on the top. A little goes a long way. If the regular one isn't corrosive enough, there is a küflü (moldy) variety available too; now I'm sorry I didn't take a picture of it.

gallery_28660_3996_23007.jpg

They sold their own yogurt, made in flat pans, tepsi in Turkish. I hadn't thought of getting any but Ferda thought we should. I'm glad she suggested it; it's hands down the best and most velvety smooth yogurt I've ever bought in Istanbul. I'll be getting more yogurt from there! I'm eating it as I write...

gallery_28660_3996_19328.jpg

One of the things people from various regions seem most attached to are dairy products from home. Factors like climate, what the cows/sheep/goats eat and local methods mean that often nothing else quite tastes "right." Besides yogurt and sürk, this shop sold a variety of other local cheeses. The most interesting of the two were örgü peyniri (braid cheese) and ip peyniri, or "rope cheese." The braid cheese is familiar to me (see my avatar)...

gallery_28660_3996_28445.jpg

...but the rope cheese was new.

gallery_28660_3996_22689.jpg

Both of these, as well as a cheese that was obviously flattened into irregular rounds in the palms of the hands, are kept in strong brine. Before using, one pours boiling water over them and lets them sit for 15-20 minutes. They lose some of their salt and become softer.

Another cheese is lor, various versions of which exist all over the country and in Greece as well, where it is known as mizithra. Behind it is butter, also from Hatay.

gallery_28660_3996_58171.jpg

Another specialty of the area is their version of kabak tatlısı, squash sweet. This is completely different from the common version served around Turkey; the squash pieces are first soaked in lime water. Quicklime is dissolved in water and allowed to boil out and settle, the water is then skimmed off and the squash is soaked in this, then washed well, and boiled in sugar syrup. The result is that the squash doesn't get mushy, it has a delicate crispness that is very hard to describe. The interior is translucent. This process is used on other fruits as well, notably on green walnuts (though I like the non-limed version better) and on the island of Tenedos/Bozcaada off the Aegean coast, tomatoes.

gallery_28660_3996_38224.jpg

And no Antakya grocery would be complete without a selection of peppers. Here are various grades of Maraş pepper, as well as sumak, pepper pastes, and a big bag of isot on the left.

gallery_28660_3996_35124.jpg

My food buddy Ferda didn't have lots of extra time so we had to make sure we had time to eat. We went next door to the kebap restaurant "Asmalı Edessa" (Edessa with the Vines). Edessa is the ancient Greek name for the city of Urfa, less than an hour from the Syrian border. It's a statement about the people in the southeast especially, and in Turkey in general, that if you go to a restaurant more than once, you are treated like old friends, you are greeted at the door with handshakes and welcomes, everyone will come to say hello. At a place like this, asking if I could take a picture in the kitchen was merely a formality!

gallery_28660_3996_11053.jpg

Here the cook is roasting some hot peppers. If you go here in the summer you will find the special short green peppers brought from Urfa; they are quite hot with an incredibly rich flavor. Unfortunately they are not available in the winter; the peppers we had were decent and supplied the heat but were not nearly so good as the others.

As soon as you order they bring a series of side dishes. Here are lebeni, yogurt with boiled whole wheat kernels and chickpeas; a finely chopped salad with pomegranate molasses, pickled red cabbage, and bulgur pilaf. There were also onions with oil and isot pepper, and a plate of parsley and lemon wedges. The only thing that really disappointed me was the salad; it's usually great but today it tasted like it was chopped the day before...and it looks like it too.

gallery_28660_3996_4281.jpg

Seeing me taking pictures of everything, the waiter said "don't you want your picture taken as well?" We are drinking şalgam, a drink that really took me some getting used to. As in, the first time I tried it, I almost hurled. It's made of turnips, black (dark red) carrots, water, salt and bulgur, which is left to ferment. The aroma is wonderful; it reminds me almost of cranberry, but the drink is salty and sour, like pickle juice, and there are hot peppered versions as well. It's something that you have to try at least once.

gallery_28660_3996_21364.jpg

I also had an içli köfte (stuffed köfte) for an appetizer. This is a meat and onion filling, sometimes with finely chopped walnuts, in a shell of fine bulgur kneaded with pounded meat and pepper paste, then deep fried.

As it was Ferda's first time here, we ordered a mixed kebap to get a good variety. This included patlıcanlı kebap (eggplant kebap) - eggplant interspersed with unspiced ground lamb; Urfa kebabı, a spiced lamb mixture but with no hot pepper; Adana kebabı, similar to Urfa kebabı but with heat; kuzu şiş (marinated lamb on a skewer); tavuk şiş (marinated chicken breast on a skewer), kanat (chicken wings); and ciğer (liver).

gallery_28660_3996_40.jpg

We also got a side of one of my favorite things, grilled whole onions in pomegranate molasses. The onions are cooked till sweet and a bit caramelized but not mushy, the molasses is fruity and sour. Ferda was in ecstasy!

gallery_28660_3996_42451.jpg

Well, if we'd had room we would have ended the meal with künefe, but we didn't...so sorry there is no picture of that! (I was actually looking forward to taking that picture...) But I have visitors coming soon, a good camera now, so it may show up in the "What did you eat for dessert" thread in the near future...

As it was a beautiful sunny day today and those are at a premium this time of year, I decided to walk home. The Fatih district up on the next hill was glowing in the setting sun and light haze, and I liked the contrast between the vaguely mysterious look of it at a distance and the up close and pedestrian...

gallery_28660_3996_14730.jpg

Tomorrow is the last day of this blog, I'll try and do something nice!

Edited by sazji (log)

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Aferin sana!

Estağfurullah! N'oldu ki, bi yemek yedik yani... :biggrin:

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In case I don't get back to this blog before you sign off, I'll thank you now. This has been a wonderful blog. I know there's more to come, and I look forward to reading it.

You've inspired me to get out some of those Turkish cookbooks I bought (that is, they're written in English but they're about Turkish food) and cook more from them. Although I've enjoyed the things I've made from those books, I've tended to go back to those same recipes instead of trying others. There's a whole country worth of food I've barely touched, and simply looking at your gorgeous photos makes me want to learn more about it. Thank you!

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Though it's not over yet, I'd like to thank everyone who I haven't answered specifically for their kind words and supportive comments throughout this blog. It's especially good to know that some have become more curious about the rich culture (and food culture!) of Turkey. If you find yourself on the way to Turkey let me know; if I'm not swamped it's always nice to find a dining companion. (Heh, and you can bring me coffeeeeeeeeee...)

I hope you'll forgive me for a two-line off-topic note: There is a lovely performance by musicians Tolga Sağ and Cengiz Özkan at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtBMeHWFrxI&NR

Edited by sazji (log)

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Speaking of cookbooks, are there any English-language Turkish cookbooks that you would recommend?

And what would be the best low-season time to visit Turkey? (Best meaning not too expensive, or too rainy. Chilly is OK, but rainy is a downer.)

If I ever make it to Turkey, I'd be happy to bring you a suitcase of coffee (a little carry-on suitcase, but a suitcase nonetheless). :smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Speaking of cookbooks, are there any English-language Turkish cookbooks that you would recommend? 

And what would be the best low-season time to visit Turkey?  (Best meaning not too expensive, or too rainy.  Chilly is OK, but rainy is a downer.)

If I ever make it to Turkey, I'd be happy to bring you a suitcase of coffee (a little carry-on suitcase, but a suitcase nonetheless).  :smile:

Lessee....Ι brought four pounds of coffee on my last trip to Seattle, gave one to a friend, that leaves three, which should last me until about the second week of February...

February is definitely the best time to come to Turkey, yep, no doubt about it.

:rolleyes:

Spring and fall are the best times I think. You can take advantage of shoulder fares. Spring can be rainy but the landscape is beautiful and the wildflowers especially on the plains can be amazing. May is wonderful, the rain has mostly finished and everything is still green. Fall is also nice, the heat is less, and fairly dry till mid October or so, then it's iffy. Summer is more expensive in terms of airfare, and late summer can be hot and humid (drier and searing inland). On the other hand it's when some of the best fruit is in season. Winter in Istanbul...well, we covered that!

As for Turkish cookbooks in English, I like Ayla Algar's quite a bit. She goes beyond the most common recipes and provides some recipes for things I remember fondly when I'm away, like Kandil Simidi. Don't follow the boza recipe though, it doesn't work. If you get into boza, ask me. :)

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for the culinary tour of Istanbul. It's certainly worth a visit, and I think you'd make a most gracious host.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great blog, sazji, thanks! It may please you to know, I think someone is opening a turkish restaurant in Chambana, finally. Me, I'll hold off until next week in Germany. It won't measure up to what you have but I'm dying for a lahmacun right now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great blog, sazji, thanks! It may please you to know, I think someone is opening a turkish restaurant in Chambana, finally. Me, I'll hold off until next week in Germany. It won't measure up to what you have but I'm dying for a lahmacun right now.

Are you in Chambana? I lived in Urbana for 4 years. Even did time at Jumer's. As a busboy. I'd be interested in knowing how the Turkish place does. Unfortunately many of them seem not to do well; I've seen many come and go, usually because they do what many do here - get the customers coming, then once they get their clientele, start cutting corners on quality to make more money. Or just not consistent. I've seen several really wonderful places go that route in Istanbul lately and have heard similar reports about others that I haven't been to. A place gets famous and they start trying to ride on the fame.

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just have to tell you that you inspired me to make the celeriac dish and we found it very tasty.

Neither of my Turkish cook books call for using pepper paste. I was given a jar sometime ago and would like to use it in some things. Does the Algar Book use it in any preparations?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bob: Thank you for sharing beautiful pictures, mouth-watering food, witty writing, and for opening some eyes (definitely including mine) to Turkish food and culture. I did not realize that chilies were used so frequently in Turkish cooking. Are many Turkish foods spicy-hot, or are they more well-seasoned without a lot of chile heat?

Did you mention the derivation of "Sazji"?

Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This week has gone really fast, and the timing has been great; no urgent work has come in but now there are three real estate appraisals awaiting translation, so life is going back to normal very soon.

This is my last "real" entry, though I'll be hanging around till 12:00 tonight to respond to any questions or comments. It's been a very fun project, but it also has driven home the point (to me at least) that a week is not nearly enough to really delve into food in Istanbul, let alone Turkey. There were more places I wanted to visit and share, but I do loiter around "What's for dessert" and "What's for dinner" quite a bit, as well as the Middle Eastern food forum. Still it's been great to do a blog and go back and forth. And of course I'm willing to try and answer any questions you might have in the future or refer you to someone who can.

Many thanks also to those who sent their kind and encouraging messages, both within the blog and in private.

So...I set out this morning highly expectant but things turned out a bit anticlimactic in reality. My first stop was Köşkeroğlu Baklava, in Karaköy, which in my mind is one of the finest Baklava makers in the city. I recommend it to anyone who visits Istanbul.

gallery_28660_3996_18306.jpg

I hoped to take pictures of some of the different varieties and go into the kitchen and show the rather amazing process of opening baklava yufka (phyllo) to about half or less the thickness of the commercial phyllo generally available in the US. They roll up to 13 sheets at a time to get it that thin. I had the name of the owner and a reference from a friend, but it turned out he is in Athens, where they are opening a branch, till Tuesday. Well, lucky Athenians! But I do plan to go back sometimes next week or the week following. The person at the desk was very nice and was happy for me to take photos out front but could't allow me into the kitchen on his own.

Here are just a few random shots of some of the things available. A double-pistachio-filled baklava:

gallery_28660_3996_2501.jpg

A view of the offerings in the window. Pictures probably speak more than words here!

gallery_28660_3996_26798.jpg

Here's a bit of what I had - Pistachio, walnut and almond baklava, accompanied by dark and sugarless tea!

gallery_28660_3996_5941.jpg

One of the most beautiful things there was the pistachio bohça, or "bundle" baklava.

gallery_28660_3996_16644.jpg

Köşkeroğlu has two outlets in Karaköy, which is right across the Galata Bridge from the Old City. The first is on Mumhane Caddesi 2/2, below the large parking garage. This branch also serves kebap. The second is nearer the bridge, on necatibey Caddesi, Eski Gümrük Sok. No:6. If you want just baklava the smaller one is probably the better one to visit; it's old and picturesque.

My original plan was then to take a boat across to Kadiköy and visit Çiya restauant. The next setback was realizing, after I'd gotten all the way to Karaköy, that when I put on my shirt this morning, I had forgotten to take both my ID and my bank card. The first was a bit of a nuisance (gone are the days of surprise ID checks at any time), but the second was a problem because I had all of 10 YTL on me and there is no way to get out of Çiya for 10 Lira! So since it was a beatiful day I decided to take a few photos as requested of a mosque or two, and then head up to a nice restaurant where a friend works.

The route to the Old City takes one across the famous Galata Bridge, which spans the Golden Horn, the inlet that divides the European side of the city in two. Once a green "playground," it was built up with factories in the early part of the century and horribly polluted. Nothing lived in it and the smell was nauseating. Now it has been cleaned up and 24 fish species are once again thriving in its waters. Just this side of the pink building in this photo is a great little cheap fish restaurant, especially worth going if you come in the fall after the fishing season opens. It's right at the end of the fish market by the water at the end of the bridge. You sit outside, order your food, shiver a little, have a nice bonito washed down with rakı.

gallery_28660_3996_73123.jpg

There is a constant crowd of people fishing on the bridge. Now they are catching mostly istavrit, or horse mackerel. They use fishing rods but they are strung with lines of 10 or more hooks.

gallery_28660_3996_3382.jpg

From the bridge one has a good view of Eminönü, the site of the famous Spice Bazaar and hundreds of shops selling all sorts of dry goods, coffee, cheeses, meats, vegetables, you name it. Hamdi restaurant is here, also very good if you are willing to shell out a bit of money. There are also two mosques here worth visiting. One of them, Rüstempaşa Mosque, is the smaller mosque in the foreground. Behind it on the hill is Süleymaniye Mosque, the largest Ottoman mosque in the city.

gallery_28660_3996_19297.jpg

Eminönü is a bustling market area, everyone is selling something, and it's nearly always crowded. The underground pedestrian passages are loud and crowded, lined with shops selling food, clothes, clocks, belly-dancing dolls, electronics....

gallery_28660_3996_24005.jpg

The large mosque at the end of the bridge is Yeni Cami, or "New Mosque." It is often overlooked by visitors in favor of Sultanahmet and Aya Sofya, but it is a beautiful building.

gallery_28660_3996_88971.jpg

Looking up we see the names of Hasan (Right) and Ali (Left) in Arabic calligraphy.

gallery_28660_3996_1431.jpg

Ottoman mosques tend to be airy and bright; the play of light within them can be stunning.

gallery_28660_3996_63379.jpg

It's nearly impossible to realize the enormity of Aya Sofya without actually entering it, but coming up the back way one sees a little-photographed angle, which gives some idea of it.

gallery_28660_3996_28945.jpg

Across from Aya Sofya, and built of the stones of the ruined Byzantine royal palace, is Sultanahmet Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque.

gallery_28660_3996_58729.jpg

Okay, back to food!

My friend works in Mozaik, a very nice restaurant in the heart of the tourist area near Aya Sofya. It's in an old house just a street back from the light rail stop. Their food is quite good. I looked up at the engravings on the wall and right next to me was one of an Ottoman palace cook!

gallery_28660_3996_41408.jpg

A little inspection revealed the head chef just a few feet away. I imagine him saying "come, let me show you how to stuff a quince..." I'd like to see Emeril wearing that hat.

gallery_28660_3996_44645.jpg

Being practically lira-less, I ended up having the employee meal along with my friend. :laugh: It was delicious - Lamb with eggplant, tomato and pepper, and a big pile of pilav. What was interesting was that the pilav was made of long-grain rice, the first I've ever seen here! It's never available in grocery stores, people preferring short-grain types like Calrose and Baldo.

gallery_28660_3996_67330.jpg

One thing this blog has done is made me look at storefronts with a newcomer's curiosity again. On the way home, I found something I'd never seen before that I had to take a photo of. Food vendors nearly always go all out in presenting their product. Pickle sellers often have jars of pickled fruits and vegetable arranged artfully in beautiful jars. Sometimes they are packed into bottles in a way that the only way to extract them would be to break the bottle. These are generally not for sale (the pickles for sale being in normal vats in the back); they are simple to catch the eye. But usually everything in the jars is edible. This particular masterpiece featured an unusual ingredient: pinecones! Next to it are bottles of a popular brand of şalgam (Check the section on yesterday's kebap lunch for a description of it.)

gallery_28660_3996_36744.jpg

And...I guess that's about it for this time. Thanks again for reading and responding!

Edited by sazji (log)

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just have to tell you that you inspired me to make the celeriac dish and we found it very tasty.

Neither of my Turkish cook books call for using pepper paste. I was given a jar sometime ago and would like to use it in some things. Does the Algar Book use it in any preparations?

I don't have the Algar book here to be able to give you a good answer on that. As it's hard to find, she might have made adjustments in the amount of pepper or compensated in some other way.

One really nice way to use it that I didn't mention before, is to make acılı ezme, or "hot crushed salad." Take any amount of chopped walnuts and add enough of equal parts pepper and tomato paste, enough to bind them and then some, like a spread with walnuts in it. Say you used half a cup of walnuts, add at least half a cup of pastes. Add a clove or two of garlic, olive oil to thin a bit, salt, chopped parsley, and some dried mint. Some people also add thinly sliced/chopped fresh red onion; it's good either way. This is very good as an appetizer eaten with bread. You can use either sweet or hot pepper paste, or a combination, to your own preferences.

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bob: Thank you for sharing beautiful pictures, mouth-watering food, witty writing, and for opening some eyes (definitely including mine) to Turkish food and culture. I did not realize that chilies were used so frequently in Turkish cooking. Are many Turkish foods spicy-hot, or are they more well-seasoned without a lot of chile heat?

Did you mention the derivation of "Sazji"?

Thanks!

It was a pleasure, and I'm glad it inspired. :) Pepper is used a lot but in most of the country it's used with moderation. The Maraş and Isot peppers are hot but not searing, you can actually use quite a bit before the heat becomes unbearable. Many people in the west of the country and in the Black Sea can't deal with hot pepper at all. Urfa and nearby areas are best known for using a lot of hot pepper. A friend from Maraş used to brag that he could eat any amount of pepper of any heat. And by Turkish standards, he was pretty impressive. He'd go to a kebap place and eat an entire bowl of the very hot small thin yellow pickled peppers, happily hiccupping away till the actual food came. On one trip back from the US, I brought him an habanero, with repeated and insistent warnings, even though he wanted to just pop the thing into his mouth. :shock: In the end I persuaded him to try a piece half the size of a pinhead first, and then if he could take that, to have at. He put it into his mouth, bit, and said "Heck, this isn't hot at a---Aman Tanrım! Aman Tanrım! Aman Tanrım! Aman Tanrım! Aman Tanrım! ...........................Aman Tanrım!" This script continued pretty much that way for several minutes, — peppered (so to speak) with a few choice words that I won't include here but started with "s" and "a" for those endowed with that side of Turkish vocabulary. :wink: (Aman Tanrım, if you haven't guessed already, means "Oh My God!")

"Sazji" is the non-turkish-character rendition of "sazcı," which means "a person who plays the saz" (the instrument being played on the two video clips I provide a few posts back).

Edited by sazji (log)

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really enjoyed this week. I already knew I loved Turkish food, but you have shown me lots of things new to me, and inspired me to go back to my Turkish cookbooks soon.

I really feel that when I was in Istanbul, more than 10 years ago, I did not do it justice. I hope to get back one day and eat some of the wonderful things you have been showing us.

Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn't get to chime in as much as I would've liked, but I've really enjoyed your blog. Turkey and Syria are really amazingly different, despite many similarities. Do let me know if you make it down the Damascus or Aleppo way.

Lovely baklava, we don't get that style of pistachio sweets, so green!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you, thank you for this glimpse of other places, other climes, other cuisines that I'll never sample save through the eyes and tastebuds of others.

Your descriptions and pictures have been wonderful, and this has been an especially delightful blog-week. Please keep posting---there's a whole world of flavor you haven't covered yet.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rachel - I'd love to keep posting but my access to this blog will end in approximately 30 minutes! :) But I'll keep posting elsewhere...

Chufi - yeah, when I first came here I never even ate kebab. I lived on street lahmacun, those "buffet" restaurants, and occasional pide. I do remember eating *way* too much baklava in one sitting one evening... and I was lucky enough to be here during Ramazan so that güllaç was around in its original homestyle form before every place started making it in plain flat pans.

And that's just the food. With people from all over the country, Istanbul is really almost as vast as Turkey itself, but it takes a long time to search it out/meet people/stumble upon it. It's good to know that there will always be something new to learn here! I hope you make it back!

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bob: I logged in today only because the schedule for weekly blogs has changed. I'll have to come back to read the most recent posts, but I see you've indulged one of my requests. Beautiful interior of mosque with hanging lamps and then, the Hagia Sophia, my favorite building in the world. Quinces and pistachios... I have to get to Istanbul!!!

Thank you so much for introducing us to your city and to foods I rarely glimpse here.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bob:  I logged in today only because the schedule for weekly blogs has changed.  I'll have to come back to read the most recent posts, but I see you've indulged one of my requests.  Beautiful interior of mosque with hanging lamps and then, the Hagia Sophia, my favorite building in the world.  Quinces and pistachios... I have to get to Istanbul!!!

Thank you so much for introducing us to your city and to foods I rarely glimpse here.

So I can still post in here? [looking left...right....] Yes, I think you definitely need to get here! It's not even all that expensive to get here from the E. Coast. Everyone talks about meeting fellow gulleteers, wouldn't it be fun to get a group of several here for a week or so! (I'll just find a good excuse to take leave when y'all decide to go eat tripe soup...) :blink:

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

  • Similar Content

    • By liuzhou
      Note: This follows on from the Munching with the Miao topic.
       
      The three-hour journey north from Miao territory ended up taking four, as the driver missed a turning and we had to drive on to the next exit and go back. But our hosts waited for us at the expressway exit and led us up a winding road to our destination - Buyang 10,000 mu tea plantation (布央万亩茶园 bù yāng wàn mǔ chá yuán) The 'mu' is  a Chinese measurement of area equal to 0.07 of a hectare, but the 10,000 figure is just another Chinese way of saying "very large".
       
      We were in Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County, where 57% of the inhabitants are Dong.
       
      The Dong people (also known as the Kam) are noted for their tea, love of glutinous rice and their carpentry and architecture. And their hospitality. They tend to live at the foot of mountains, unlike the Miao who live in the mid-levels.
       
      By the time we arrived, it was lunch time, but first we had to have a sip of the local tea. This lady did the preparation duty.
       

       

       
      This was what we call black tea, but the Chinese more sensibly call 'red tea'. There is something special about drinking tea when you can see the bush it grew on just outside the window!
       
      Then into lunch:
       

       

      Chicken Soup
       

      The ubiquitous Egg and Tomato
       

      Dried fish with soy beans and chilli peppers. Delicious.
       

      Stir fried lotus root
       

      Daikon Radish
       

      Rice Paddy Fish Deep Fried in Camellia Oil - wonderful with a smoky flavour, but they are not smoked.
       

      Out of Focus Corn and mixed vegetable
       

      Fried Beans
       

      Steamed Pumpkin
       

      Chicken
       

      Beef with Bitter Melon
       

      Glutinous (Sticky) Rice
       

      Oranges
       

      The juiciest pomelo ever. The area is known for the quality of its pomelos.
       
      After lunch we headed out to explore the tea plantation.
       

       

       

       

       
      Interspersed with the tea plants are these camellia trees, the seeds of which are used to make the Dong people's preferred cooking oil.
       

       
      As we climbed the terraces we could hear singing and then came across this group of women. They are the tea pickers. It isn't tea picking time, but they came out in their traditional costumes to welcome us with their call and response music. They do often sing when picking. They were clearly enjoying themselves.
       

       
      And here they are:
       
       
      After our serenade we headed off again, this time to the east and the most memorable meal of the trip. Coming soon.
       
       
    • By FoodMuse
      Hello everyone,
      eGullet was nice enough to invite me to write a food blog chronicling what I've made or eaten out for one week. I'm so excited about it! Thanks guys.
      About me:
      I dream about food, I wake thinking what's for dinner and I'm so excited to share it with you. I'm part of the food world in New York. By that, I just mean that I'm so fortunate enough to be invited to great events where I get to eat great food. I'm also a nerd and a part of the technology world. I produce, edit and sometimes host food related web videos and I'm also a part of the tech world.
      I'm launching a website called Please, Pass the Gravy. www.pleasepassthegravy.com We let you create a menu, invite friends and then collaborate on that menu. Never host another potluck with 8 pasta salads. You could use it now, but we're alpha launch, it works but it's ugly. It's my ugly baby. So, if you use it be kind and message me if you have improvement ideas. I thought it would be ok to write about it here because it is food related.
      I live in Brooklyn with a lovely guy who likes to eat and a small corgi mix dog. I cook pretty much every night and do a nice brunch on the weekend. I am not a crazy dog lady, but I do admit to cooking food for the dog. I have an excuse, beyond doting, he had seizures that have stopped since not feeding him dog food.
      Foods I cook:
      Spicy foods! If you look at my blog I have a simple papaya ketchup with habanero that is pretty darn good.
      I love great cheese. This may be the week for Beer Cheese Soup.
      I try to limit carbs, though I do cheat.
      In any given week C. and I probably eat cauliflower, broccoli and green beans as a side.
      Tonight's dinner will be Vietnamese inspired. We'll see how it goes. I'll post about it as soon as I can.
      Any requests? Questions? I'd love to hear from you.
      -Grace
    • By Duvel
      In these challenging times, a full summer vacation is not an easy task. For the last 1.5 years we have been mostly at home with the clear plan to visit Catalonia (or more precise my wife’s family) latest this summer. And it looked good for a while. Unfortunately, the recent rise in case numbers in Spain have resulted in …
       
      OK, let’s skip this part. Long story short - my wife and me are fully vaccinated, as are >90% of the people we care about in Catalonia. After some discussion (after all, Germans tend to prefer to be on the safe side of things) we simply fueled up the car, got each a test (for the transit through France) and started to drive …
       
      After a leisurely 11h drive we arrived at a small fishing town somewhat north of Barcelona around 3.00am. We unloaded the car and my wife an the little one went straight to bed. 
       

       


      I found an expired beer in the elsewise pretty empty fridge and enjoyed the cool breeze on the terrace. Holidays, here we come …
       

    • By liuzhou
      Last week, Liuzhou government invited a number of diplomats from Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar/Burma, Poland, and Germany to visit the city and prefecture. They also invited me along. We spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday introducing the diplomats to the culture of the local ethnic groups and especially to their food culture.
       
      First off, we headed two hours north into the mountains of Rongshui Miao Autonomous County. The Miao people (苗族 miáo zú), who include the the Hmong, live in the mid-levels of mountains and are predominantly subsistence farmers. Our first port of call was the county town, also Rongshui (融水 róng shuǐ, literal meaning: Melt Water) where we were to have lunch. But before lunch we had to go meet some people and see their local crafts. These are people I know well from my frequent work trips to the area, but for the diplomats, it was all new.
       
      So, I had to wait for lunch, and I see no reason why you shouldn't either. Here are some of the people I live and work with.


       
      This lovely young woman is wearing the traditional costume of an unmarried girl. Many young women, including her, wear this every day, but most only on festive occasions.
       
      Her hat is made from silver (and is very heavy). Here is a closer look.
       

       
      Married women dispense with those gladrags and go for this look:
       

       
      As you can see she is weaving bamboo into a lantern cover.
       
      The men tend to go for this look, although I'm not sure that the Bluetooth earpiece for his cellphone is strictly traditional.
       

       
      The children don't get spared either
       

       
      This little girl is posing with the Malaysian Consul-General.
       
      After meeting these people we went on to visit a 芦笙 (lú shēng) workshop. The lusheng is a reed wind instrument and an important element in the Miao, Dong and Yao peoples' cultures.
       

       

       
      Then at last we headed to the restaurant, but as is their custom, in homes and restaurants, guests are barred from entering until they go through the ritual of the welcoming cup of home-brewed rice wine.
       


      The consular staff from Myanmar/Burma and Malaysia "unlock" the door.
       
      Then you have the ritual hand washing part.
       

       
      Having attended to your personal hygiene, but before  entering the dining room, there is one more ritual to go through. You arrive here and sit around this fire and wok full of some mysterious liquid on the boil.
       

       
      On a nearby table is this
       

       
      Puffed rice, soy beans, peanuts and scallion. These are ladled into bowls.
       

       
      with a little salt, and then drowned in the "tea" brewing in the wok.
       
      This is  油茶 (yóu chá) or Oil Tea. The tea is made from Tea Seed Oil which is made from the seeds of the camellia bush. This dish is used as a welcoming offering to guests in homes and restaurants. Proper etiquette suggests that three cups is a minimum, but they will keep refilling your cup until you stop drinking. First time I had it I really didn't like it, but I persevered and now look forward to it.
       

      L-R: Director of the Foreign Affairs Dept of Liuzhou government, consuls-general of Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos.
       
      Having partaken of the oil tea, finally we are allowed to enter the dining room, where two tables have been laid out for our use.
       

       
      Let the eating, finally, begin.
       
      In no particular order:
       

      Steamed corn, taro and sweet potato
       

      Bamboo Shoots
       

      Duck
       

      Banana leaf stuffed with sticky rice and mixed vegetables and steamed.
       

      Egg pancake with unidentified greenery
       

      Stir fried pork and beans
       

      Stir fried Chinese banana (Ensete lasiocarpum)
       

      Pig Ears
       

       
      This may not look like much, but was the star of the trip. Rice paddy fish, deep fried in camellia tree seed oil with wild mountain herbs. We ate this at every meal, cooked with slight variations, but never tired of it.
       

      Stir fried Greens
       
      Our meal was accompanied by the wait staff singing to us and serving home-made rice wine (sweetish and made from the local sticky rice).
       
       
       
       
      Everything we ate was grown or reared within half a kilometre of the restaurant and was all free-range, organic. And utterly delicious.
       
      Roll on dinner time.
       
      On the trip I was designated the unofficial official photographer and ended up taking 1227 photographs. I just got back last night and was busy today, so I will try to post the rest of the first day (and dinner) as soon as I can.
    • By shain
      It's been more than a year in which international travel was challenging to impossible, but gladly this is changing, as more countries are able to vaccinate their population.
      Greece had managed to return to a state of near normality, and opted to allow vaccinated individuals to enter. And so I decided to go on a slightly spontaneous vacation (only slightly, we still had almost a month for planning). To the trip I was joined by my father, to whom I owed some good one-on-one time and was able to travel on a short-ish notice.
       
       
      Many people are yet unable to travel, and many countries are suffering quite badly from the virus, and therefore I considered if I should wait some time with this post. However, I hope that it will instead be seen with an optimistic view, showing that back-to-normal is growing ever closer.
       
       
      We returned just a few days ago, and it will take me some time to organize my photos, so this is a teaser until then.
       
       
       
       
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...