You are going to Istanbul with your Greek head-on, you speedy turn out to be conscious which you are in a city of unknown knowns. Creeping up on you when you are least watching for it, you recognize that, both via the look of something or its call, you realize precisely what you’re managing. From the call for beans, “fasulye,” fascia in Greek, to the phrase for a street, “sokağı” in Turkish and “sokakı” in Greek, the knowns are anywhere. Though the two languages appear almost totally impenetrable to every other, more regularly than you’d expect a familiar phrase pops up, and you recognize exactly what’s happening.
I will not regurgitate the centuries of records that be part of Greece and Turkey; to be honest, it is not the easiest of connections. Having stated that, for two nations which could frequently be adversaries, those nations and cultures couldn’t be greater closely related.
I need to lay out the basic reason for our Istanbul journey. It wasn’t virtually for a cultural go to – it turned into born out of a forty-three- 12 months-old friendship among my husband and his exceptional friend. They were thrown together on an enterprise research direction in Sheffield and have been the simplest overseas students, one Greek, and one Turk. So, greater than 40 years on we’re in Istanbul and with our friend as our host and our very unique manual.
At his home, we’re, of the path, the “Misafir” – and our ears listen the acquainted phrase “mousafiris” – visitors. Dinner is dolma, stuffed greens and, less familiar, selfmade manti – delicate Turkish ravioli – in conjunction with an excellent helping of seamless speak on the side. Above the chat and recollections, the decision of the muezzin via the open windows reminds us that we’re, after so many years, in Istanbul.
The days are filled with incredible sights: Topkapı, Hagia Sofia, and the Bosphorus and the only-step transition between the two continents of Europe and Asia. There are mosques, minarets, cisterns and churches, lives, and intermingling cultures anywhere. And where there are human beings there may be, inevitably, meals.
When she became little, my sister wouldn’t eat anything except she ought to have a look at it first – Greeks and Turks are the identical. It changed into reassuring to see that in Turkey (it’s miles much less not unusual in Greece in recent times) the mezze dishes are delivered to the table on large trays for the clients to pick out as soon as seen.
At Bebek Balıkçı, with a blissful view of gently lapping water and bobbing boats, it changed into a hard desire. Smokey aubergine purée, a sharp parsley salad, sea-fresh prawns and the most luscious cured bonito were subsequently determined on. And there has been that hand of familiarity again: “maydanoz” like “maidens,” the Greek phrase for parsley, “karides” the same as the Greek phrase for prawns; and all of us knew what we were speaking about when the bonito became identified as “Lacerda.”
At the normal restaurants in each Greece and Turkey all the food is on show – not simply as pix, however on trays of what you’re in reality going to eat. And that’s what is so crucial to the self-assurance of preference in an eating place – all of us recognize what we hope something will make appearance, and manifestly taste like what it appears on the menu. However, the reality doesn’t continually match the expectancy.
Our lunch at Hünkar in the Nişantaşı neighborhood right now took me lower back to meals at Filippou in Kolonaki, Athens. These two restaurants are extra carefully related than cousins – I’d call them stepbrothers. From the crisp white tablecloths to the long-serving workforce and together with the greater than dedicated clients, these institutions are virtually born from the identical food subculture. Both these places aren’t simply restaurants; they’re touch-factors of familiarity for his or her clients – a culinary domestic from home. The high-quality of the food and the provider are exceptional; however commonly they simply come to have true domestic-style food in a familiar surroundings.
People aren’t here to eat the brand new food-fad – I can correctly say that there’s no longer a glimpse of avocado or quinoa to be seen. Both Hünkar and Filippou are bastions of traditional cuisine, and apart from the occasional exception, maximum of the dishes are remarkably similar.
We should have eaten, “anginares”/”engine” (artichokes) or perhaps “börek”/ “borrelia” (pies), or “paça”/”pasta”, an extreme broth made from veal trotters. I went for absolutely Turkish “hünkar beğendi” – the creamiest aggregate of pureed aubergine and bechamel with a braised lamb topping.
Eating our way through Istanbul, we had roasted chestnuts (“katana”/”keystone”) on the road, drank the maximum sudden mixture of clean mulberry juice and vodka, and purchased “fındıklar”/ “fountoukia” (hazelnuts) and “fıstık”/”fistikia” (peanuts) inside the bazaar. We saw menus with “kokoreç”/”kokoretsi,” “Arzola”/”Arizona,” and “media”/”media.” We located an area more acquainted than a foreign usa and perhaps a little stranger due to that. Above all, we found that very antique relationships are exceedingly sturdy.