|Aryan - Yogurt Drink|
|hhhmmmm Sulut Nuriye - filo dough soaked in sugar milk|
If standards are sufficiently low and I make it to Heaven, there will be Eskander. And perhaps also thick clotted cream with jellied quince, milk and hazelnut soaked pistachio pastries called Sutlu Nuriye, sticky almond helwa made from paste of ground nuts and honey, but certainly Eskander. Before we left for Turkey a friend had recommended this dish made of spit roasted lamb, grilled peppers and tomatoes served over a bed of butter fried flat bread and under a rich buttery tomato sauce and an ice cream scoop of creamy yogurt. Simple, really, but so incredibly rich and tart and satisfying all at the same time.
|Tantuni, Kebab, Eskander|
|Our food tour started in a 16th century "Khan" designed by the great Sinan that functions as a workshop today.|
|A pickl-a-torium! There's nothing they won't pickle in Istanbul. |
We had a midday pickle juice pick me up.
We took the redeye to Istanbul and had only a few moments to drop our bags at the hotel before booking it across the Bosphorus to meet our guide for a culinary tour of some of Istanbul’s neighborhoods and backstreets. I had a sense that Istanbul was our kind of food town and it exceeded any expectation we had. We walked (later waddled) from one closet sized food shop to another sampling Simit - a pomegranate glazed breakfast bread covered in sesame seeds, Ayran - a frothy yogurt drink served in cool bronze mugs, Mennimem – a slow cooked dish of eggs and peppers, Tantuni – a turkish styled taquito filled with ground beef, spices and a grilled pepper, rice stuffed eggplant and mussels, pickles, olives and later in the week, spicy red pepper salad with buffalo yogurt, white fish with caramelized onion, warm bready Pides drizzled with butter, dried carrot leather and Turkish delight. Not unlike the small portion style grazing in Spain, Istanbul’s “backstreet” food is flavorful, simple and fresh. I broke up tours of byzantine churches with small kebabs, tile museums with sips of herbal apple tea and mosques with pomegranate sweets from the spice souk.
All this is to say that Turkish food is divine and we sampled a good bit of it.