Sunday, July 4, 2010

DIY Mangal

Every 4th of July in Amerikastan, we'd pack up the car and drive out to the suburbs of Sacramento to celebrate the holiday the way it was intended -- with a yard full of kegs and BBQ grills, fireworks in the street, dips in the pool, and the neighborhood on parade. Although (or perhaps because) I'm a die-hard city girl, I loved these excursions to the 'burbs. Last week, I think I may have found the equivalent experience in Istanbul.

First, you go to the store and buy as much köfte (meatballs), sucuk (beef sausage), chicken wings, and cans of Efes as you can carry. Then you walk up to Taksim, take the metro to 4. Levent, and then hop on a bus to Sariyer. (More than one bus, if you do it incorrectly.) Stay on as the bus turns away from the sparkling waters of the Bosphorus and cruises down the neighborhood's main drag, past the dusty little otogar and the dilapidated local sports "stadium," and then down a very unpromising-looking industrial road before hopping off by the sign saying "Çırçır Suyu Sosyal Tesileri." You may feel like you're walking into a construction site, but don't give up hope.

At the end of the road, there's a leafy, secluded patch of land, full of trees and picnic tables where you can set up your goods while the men working there bring you the fired-up mangal (grill) and all the plates and silverware you'll need for just 11 liras a person. And they'll clean up after you too. Just make sure not to get roped into letting the roving band of musicians play for you. They sound a lot better from a safe distance, when the neighboring group of raucous picnickers is paying their tips.

1 comment:

Myles Kennedy said...

That sounds like an exciting way to spend the 4th of July in Turkey. I'm planning a trip from the UK to Turkey and am looking forward to some great weather and a cultured lifestyle. I'm planning on ordering from deal checker - cheap turkey holidays and was hoping you could give a new tourist some tips.