January 5, 2011

Beyoğlu, Istanbul. June, 2007

Before I went to Istanbul, I did a great deal of preparation -- what I wanted to see, where i wanted to go, what I wanted to eat. Among the many things on my food wish-list: fried mussels with walnut tarator sauce, kokoreç (lamb intestines wrapped around a horizontal skewer like elastic bands and then sliced into servings), tavuk göğüsü (the famous chicken-breast dessert), ekmek kadayif (which became my Turkish nickname, a kind of syrup-soaked bread served with a rich clotted cream), hunkar beğendi (eggplant puree topped with chunks of roast lamb) and many, many more. One place I was determined to visit, Petek Turşuları, a pickle store near the fish market in Beyoğlu. Just pickles -- string bean, plum, unripe melon, tomato, beet, garlic, okra, cherry, apple, quince, egg, apricot, cauliflower, peach, pear, etc. -- displayed in colorful jars lining shelves up to the ceiling. At a small bar, regulars -- from old neighborhood men to suited women executives -- come for an afternoon mug of mixed pickles served in their brining liquid of grape vinegar, lemon, garlic and spices. I tried it, of course. A salty and sour challenge, but not an unpleasant one. Once.


  1. I'm reminded of the famed catch phrase by Turkish comedy star Mustapha Monde, "Is that lamb intestines wrapped around a horizontal skewer, or are you just glad to see me?"

  2. That looks delicious! I just watched a foodie TV special in Beijing at one of the country's oldest pickle markets which has been in continuous operation for over 500 years. Wish I had known about it when I was there! That's a lot of pickles.