Running after flavours is the modern age’s hunting.
When decreasing the scale in a universal proportion, it cannot be said for a person who lives his/her first day in the universe that he/she has drift apart from the ancestors’ instincts.

That is why the people living among grey buildings in metropolises still run after flavours. Because the satisfaction his/her reward created is the same with his/her ancestors.

My hunting experience in Istanbul started when my mother took me to an extraordinary meatball seller in Nuru Osmaniye just as the places described in the novels of J.R.R. Tolkien, a bow tied kokorec seller or to a fried fish sandwich seller whose hands were as firm as Norwegian fishers and who grilled the mackerels on the coal fire on her lunch breaks while working as an officer at the Retirement Fund in Eminonu.

That is why all of my stories about Istanbul shape around flavour. accept the flavours l find at back streets for 32 years with a hunting power as a hunting reward from the days my mother taught me how to hunt and write about them like the modern world taught me and archive them in my blog. My stories start at the flavour line and expand with the story of the cooker there and the story of the place. Thus, the place and the cooker complete the subject about flavour.

The great thing about it is that there are many places to hunt in Istanbul. For example, the region called Women’s Market in Fatih bears the traces of the Siirt and Bitlis foods. Foremost among them comes to mind Buryan which is made of lamb meat cooked inside the underground tandoori. When you go to the opposite side of the road you will come across the one and only Vefa Bozaci which has boza (thick, slightly fermented millet drink) since there were thousands of Boza sellers in the Ottoman Empire.

When you change your direction to Beyoglu lstiklal Street, you will see Master Muammer who cooks Nigde style kuzu kelle (sheep’s head) for 50 years as he learned from his father at a very small bench on the exit of “Fisher Market” lf you enter the Buyukparmakkapi street along Istiklal street again, ask the Kebab maker Hayri Master. Who is Hayri Master you might ask He has the most delicious but the thing that draw our attention the most is that it is one of the two places in Istanbul that can cook the Liver Roasting as in Gaziantep. This is very important I mean finding a place that can cook Liver Roasting as good as Gaziantep.

If you go to Besiktas, you can taste meat doner at one of the most delicious places (Karadeniz Doner) and enjoy lzmir Sogus (boiled meat) without going to lzmir 50 meters ahead behind the Eagle sculpture. The name of the place you can find Albanian style diced liver in Balat only on Tuesdays is “Kofteci Arnavut”.

Let’s say you want to have fried fish sandwich but the sandwiches in Eminonu do not appeal to you. Well I will recommend you Balikci Tufan in Karakoy then. It is on the same road as the famous for its baklavas Karakoy Gulluoglu is. You see what l mean right?

Baklava with water buffalo cream on after the fish is equal to final for us flavour hunters, Nirvana.

Let’ go to the Anatolian side. Lipa at the neighbourhood of Pendik Sapanbaglar where Bosnians gather, is one of the hidden places for flavours as Bosnian Dry Meat, Sausage, Bosnian Meatball and manti (meat pasty). You can also taste the most delicious meatballs of your life at Ekspres Inegol Koftecisi in Kadikoy where they make the best Inegol Meatballs in Turkey and you can later have a special desert that E you won’t be able to find in another place of the world that will finalize the meatballs you ate at the garden of the historical Baylan with Kup Griye. Do you feel like eating Karadeniz (Black Sea) style mihlama (a dish made with vegetable and eggs), go to Cay Tarlasi which won’t be different from the original in Karadeniz. Walk towards Moda and you’ll be there…

Well, people know what they talk about when they say lstanbul is the bridge between East and West. Do you know what the best side of this is? There are still many places to hunt in lstanbul and lstanbul is full of flavours.
by SALİH SEÇKİN

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