Sunday, September 21, 2014

But wait - there's more!

One walking tour wasn't enough - we followed the first eating extravaganza with another. This one was the Two Continents tour - breakfast in Europe, lunch in Asia. 

First breakfast was a quickie in another han - yesterday was a centre for the coffee folks, today it was metal manufacturing. The building was built in the last 1500's and was stuffed full of little workshops making springs and screws and stuff. 

Second breakfast was at a restaurant that mostly does lunches for the workmen in the area. But they did a beautiful breakfast for us - more Kaymak!  

We walked through the fish market - it is anchovy and bonito season -to get to the ferry to take us to Karakoy on the Asian side. Always nice to ride in boats but especially with views like this:

The Asian side of Istanbul has been inhabited for a very long time, but the area we were in doesn't have quite the same narrow twisty streets as the old city. And it is not a particular tourist destination - it doesn't have the big attractions and the ferry stop for Uskadar is closer to the old town  - so the people were just out doing their own things. On both days it was really nice to be away from the tourist areas - we could walk along without attracting any attention. 

Once again it was a panopoly of food. First up mussels, both stuffed and deep fried. Mussels are in season right now and are sold as street food. I was glad to try them from a proper restaurant - seems like an iffy choice for street food.

Good, but not super mussel tasting - mussels for people who don't like them?

Of course there was a stop at a candy store. Our guide Katerina has a plate of sugared vegetables for us to try:

Sugared cabbage, tomatoes and olives. And walnuts, whole in the shell - the process totally softens them up. Kind of weird. I think I'll stick with the Turkish delight. 

We tried many types of cheeses - mostly goat and or sheep milk of varying strengths. Then there was the goat skin cheese:

Goat's milk cheese aged in a goat skin. Imagine what that tasted like. 

Turkey produces a selection of nuts - almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts in particular. So fresh and so delicious. We saw them piled up in markets all over. But on this tour we visited a store that displayed them like jewels. 

We tried pistachios from different regions (they are different!) as well as such yummy hazelnuts. Turkey has been exporting hazelnuts to Europe for the manufacture of Nutella for ever. Someone finally thought - hmm. Maybe we should just make the stuff where the nuts are, so a factory is opening in Turkey. But I digress. 

After a stop at the green grocers for fresh figs and grapes it was time for the pickle shop. The Turks like to pickle pretty much everything. Not just the usual suspects like beets and cucumbers. Whole heads of garlic? As well as the samples of pickles we got a glass of pickle juice - pale pink in colour, tart - I quite liked it. But opinion was divided on this one!

After a stop for Turkish coffee it was on to lunch. Tough work, some one's gotta do it. We had a selection of regional salads - not green salads, but vegetables mixed with yoghurt and other interesting combos. And stuffed zucchini flowers. To accompany the salads we had deep fried horse mackerel, little fishes about 4" long, gutted but otherwise whole. Opinion was divided about eating the heads.....

In case we were still hungry we stopped for Turkish pizza topped with lamb, then ambled over for tantuni, which looks sort of like a burrito:

Stuffed with beef and accompanied with a nice foamy mug of ayran. We made a stop for Kokorech, which Wilf and I didn't have this time as we had it yesterday and we knew there was baklava in the offing. Must have been done differently than what we had because it was a big fail. Honestly one gal was trying to back away from her own tongue and another didn't get it past her nose.  The only solution was, of course, get something else to eat. So, another round of baklava - so good. The Turks make it with syrup, not honey, which I prefer. Our last stop for the day was for soup made from sheep's heads and feet. Sounds disgusting but was delicious. 

And there we were at 4:00, having put in a solid day of eating. All kinds of interesting foods. It got us away from the tourist treadmill of hummus and kebabs. Some things we liked, some we loved, a few we didn't care for. We learned a lot about the country and its people - it was a great way to spend a few days. 

And just think - soon we'll be on a cruise and you know how hard it is to get anything to eat the !


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