Monday, May 30, 2011

New and tasty things I've tried recently

Even if you've figured out that there's more to Turkish cuisine than just kebabs, it's easy to feel after a while that there's nothing new under the sun, culinarily speaking. The seeming boom in Black Sea restaurants in Istanbul has been a bit of a revelation -- I can't remember the last time I went to a Turkish restaurant where there were so many completely unfamiliar items on a menu. OK, just three or four, but still! And sometimes, if you look hard enough, even the most traditional spots can hold a few surprises.

  • Tahinli pastry -- Something like a cinnamon roll with a thin coat of peanut butter between each layer. (Possibly an Armenian recipe.) At a small, nondescript take-out bakery on the shore road in Beşiktaş.

  • Kaygana -- Reminiscent of a crepe, an omelette, and a potato pancake, but made with kale, leeks, and hamsi (anchovy) filets. At the Black Sea meyhane Mohti.

  • Gelincik suyu (poppy juice) -- Ruby red and refreshing, if a bit of an acquired taste. Can also be served hot in a tea-like form. No narcotic properties that I could discern. At a cafe on Bozcaada.

  • Kabak ezmesi (pumpkin dip) -- Creamy and just a bit smoky. At Zübeyir Ocakbaşı.
Know of any other little-known sweets, snacks, or meals I should try to track down?

NOTE: In other food-related news, I've got a guest review of the fabulous restaurant Lokanta Maya up today on Istanbul Eats, the best website in town for people who love to eat.

7 comments:

Angela said...

I love Turkish food, when I went to Istanbul I felt in heaven, now that I live in Shanghai I'm the best customer of a delicious Turkish restaurant ;)

Anonymous said...

with sesame paste- not peanut butter! a traditional Turkish pastry.

The Turkish Life said...

I know, tahinli yani -- just a metaphor ("something like") for folks who don't know the flavor :)

Selen said...

If you haven't try it yet, I suggest you to go Çiya in Kadıköy. They have great meals from Gaziantep cousine and have an international reputation. My mother in law is also from Gaziantep and Çiya's foods are very similar to the original ones which she cooks.

The Turkish Life said...

Çiya is an all-time favorite! On my year-end best eats roundup:

A Taste of Turkey in 2010

TurkeyTravelCenter said...

Turkey is a great place for the ones who love food. Once you visit a local restaurant, you will have more than enough thing on your platter to plaese your taste buds.

If you want to taste something extraordinary, ask your travel planner to give you names of some must visit food joints..........

The Turkish Life said...

Actually, I suggest that visitors follow their noses and see where the locals are eating, as well as consult independent guidebooks and independent sites like Istanbul Eats. Travel guides too often will send you to the restaurant their cousin owns, or the one where they get a commission, rather than the best one.