Streetfood and snacks

Streetfood and snacks

By
Andy Harris
Contains
17 recipes
Published by
Quadrille Publishing
ISBN
9781849493765
Photographer
David Loftus

Walking the city streets, it’s hard to know what or where to eat. Every few steps there’s something new to sample, such as tantuni wraps at Beşaltı Kirvem, where thin strips of beef are sautéed and steamed in olive oil and water then rolled in flatbread with chopped tomatoes, sumac, onions and spices. Kokoreç (lamb’s intestines grilled with oregano and cumin) always smells enticing even if the taste is a little too strong for some to stomach. At Lezzet-I Şark close to the Spice Bazaar, you can try künefe – made with finely shredded yufka (filo) pastry, melted cheese and sugar syrup and cooked until golden brown, it’s a favourite pit-stop snack for those craving a sugar hit. There’s the ubiquitous cry of the simit (sesame bagel) seller every morning and late at night, and the carts of must-try nohutlu pilav (chickpeas and rice usually served with some shredded chicken). Around Taksim Square, look for the steamed-up glass boxes serving the ıslak burger (‘wet’ burger), a unique Turkish take on fast food that’s strangely addictive with its steamed bun, ketchup and meat patty.

The Turks excel at grilling meat. There’s everything from döner grilled vertically or horizontally and served every which way, to spicy adana kebabs and the addictive yoğurtlu where köfte are piled onto sliced flatbread moistened with yoghurt and spicy tomato sauce. Canım Ciğerim serves simple liver kebabs all night long with an array of sauces, grilled vegetables and salads; and Şeyhmuz Kebap Evi takes the art of mincing meat to new heights as they chop the meat with a very large zıhr scimitar before threading it onto skewers to grill it and serve it with a pomegranate and chilli-laced salad. If you want the best döner kebab, head to Beşiktaş and follow your nose and the patient lunchtime queue of smart-suited office workers around the block at the tiny Karadeniz Pide ve Döner Salonu. It’s well worth the wait for the sight of the wobbly white hat and grinning chef expertly carving from the largest döner kebab in the city.

Çiğ köfte , a little like Lebanese or Syrian kibbeh, translates as ‘raw meatballs’. You’ll see vendors in white jackets sitting beside their glass-fronted barrows at key points around the Grand Bazaar and in the Fatih area. They knead huge mounds of raw minced beef or lamb with bulgur, tomato purée and pepper paste, finely chopped parsley and spices such as isot (hot chilli flakes). Served in lettuce leaves with sliced onions and sometimes a drizzle of pomegranate vinegar, it wakes the palate up with its fiery, intense flavours. Try it at the stand next to Sur Ocakbaşı which serves an array of kebabs and buryan kebab – slow-cooked pit-roasted lamb.

Turþu (pickles) are integral to Turkish cuisine and form part of the daily eating and drinking rituals for many people. Most cities have pickle carts and shops in every neighbourhood, where you can choose from a selection of vegetable pickles such as cucumbers, marrow, cabbage, runner beans, carrots, aubergine and tomatoes, to name just a few. Once you’ve chosen, they are deftly chopped and covered in the spicy vinegar brine to take home. It’s also common to eat a small glass of pickles and drink the accompanying brining juice as a suitable digestive after an indulgent meal. Turþu suyu (pickle juice) is either spicy or mild, orange or ruby red in colour. When made with turnips or black carrot and fermented with cracked wheat and salt, it is known as þalgam suyu, sold in bottles and from carts where they pour you a glass with optional hot pepper sauce and a slice of pickled carrot. It can even be drunk with raký and is said to be a great hangover cure. At Asri Turþucu in fashionable Cihangir, they’ve been serving pickles since 1913; they take the summer months off to go to the city of Bursa and prepare the pickles in a lemon and salt brine.

Since 1876, the strange brew known as boza has been served at Vefa Bozacısı in Istanbul’s Vefa district of the Old City. Made from fermented millet, it takes about 24 hours to boil the millet with water in huge copper cauldrons. After filtering it, sugar is added to help fermentation. The resulting thick, soupy mixture is served in glasses with ground cinnamon, and leblebi (roasted chickpeas) as an accompaniment. In the seventeenth century, there were 300 boza shops in Istanbul, and when alcohol was banned by Sultan Murad IV, they were forced to close. If you’re in Istanbul in the winter months, you’ll see boza and salep sellers on street corners selling the warming drinks out of plastic or copper containers. Boza is said to be good for stomach problems and pregnant women; its alcoholic content is only about 1 per cent these days. Opened in 1876, the shop is a time warp, with an ancient wooden bar, a well-worn marble threshold and a display case with Atatürk’s boza glass. They also sell classic chewy dondurma ice cream in the summer months.

Featured Recipes in this Chapter

    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again