Saturday, September 09, 2006

Why Baked Goods are Better in Turkey

This is the reason the bread is so good in Istanbul. A long tradition of quality control exists to ensure that bakers offer only quality products to their consuming public. Below is the punishment meted out to bad bakers during Ottoman times: they were marched through the streets wearing a funny hat, whipped along by Jannisaries, yoked to a baking board hung with iron bells, exhibiting their less than superb baked goods (looks like a pogaça in the illustration below. Turks take their food seriously.

No such problem at today's lunch. We discovered one of the best kebab shops near us in Karaköy, the Urfa Sark Sofrası, one corner west of the entrance to the Arap Cami mosque - in the cement seller's market. Huge portions. Fresh. Cheap. This was the grilled lamb shish kebab, the highest price item on the menus: 8 YTL (US$ 5.00) Served with bulgur pilaf, grilled peppers and tomato, sumac onion salad, eggplant puré, esme pepper salad, mint salad mixed with scallions, obligatory parsley. Fresh baked pide bread. Five bucks. I couldn't finish it.

Urfa and Beyti kebabs grilling... Urfa is basically ground lamb, adana kebab is urfa mixes with hot salça and peppers, and beyti seems to be mixed with bulgur wheat and parsley.

Whenever you want to eat cheap and well, hightail it directly to the middle of a cement market.

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