Tuesday, August 29, 2006

"Döner Kebab Central" Taxim Square

Taxim Square in Beyoğlu is the main bus and metro terminus for the northern side of Istanbul. It's the nightlife center of Istanbul and as soon as you go from the square to Istikklal Çaddesi there is the world's biggest Döner Kebab conglomeration. About twenty Döner Kebab stands one after another all offering the same thing - extremely good, cheap döner sandwiches for about US $1.50

Typically, the cheapest is a "durum" for 75 cents... wrapped in a flat "durum" bread.

Other variations are döner wrapped in thick lavash flat bread, döner served in a pide loaf, the ever popular "yarim ekmek" served in a half loaf of french bread, or a "porsiyon" i.e. "potion" served on a late with salad, bulgur pilaf, and bread.

An amazing amount of döner kebab gets sold here throughout the day to commuters, party goers, and anybody who needs a quick meat pick me up. my son, Aron loves döner kebab in Budapest, but it isn't anything like the original. If I can sneak it on the plane home, I'll bring you one, Aron... just joking.

The word döner comes from the Turkish verb "to revolve, turn" - hence the Greek version known as a "Gyro." In the late 19th century a kebab chef in Bursa named Mehmet Işkender developed a new kebab grilling technique by standing a charcoal grill on it's side, and suspending slices of meat vertically on a skewer. Thus, the döner was born. Nowadays "Işkender kebap" tends to refer to döner meat sliced thick and served on a pide bread covered in a tomato and yoghurt sauce. The Işkender family maintains a chain of "Original Işkender kebap" joints around Turkey, each graced with a portrait of the founder:

No comments: