Going to Istanbul together with your Greek head-on, you fast turn out to be aware that you are in a city of unknowns knowns. Creeping up on you whilst you are least waiting for it, you suddenly comprehend that, either via the look of something or its name, exactly what you are coping with. From the call for beans, “fasulye,” fascia in Greek, to the phrase for a road, “sokağı” in Turkish, and “sokakı” in Greek, the knowns are everywhere. Though the 2 languages seem almost completely impenetrable to each other, more regularly than you’d count on, and the acquainted word pops up, and you understand precisely what’s happening.
I will not regurgitate the centuries of records that join Greece and Turkey; to be truthful, it isn’t the perfect of connections. Having said that, for 2 international locations which can often be adversaries, those nations and cultures couldn’t be more carefully related.
I want to lay out the simple motive for our Istanbul ride. It wasn’t actually for a cultural visit – it changed into born out of a 43- 12 months-old friendship between my husband and his first-rate buddy. They had been thrown together on a business studies direction in Sheffield and had been the handiest two foreign college students, one Greek and one Turk. So, more than forty years on, we’re in Istanbul and with our buddy as our host and our exceptional guide.
At his home, we are, of direction, the “Misafir” – and our ears hear the familiar word “mousafiris” – guests. Dinner is dolma, crammed greens, and, much less acquainted, homemade manti – sensitive Turkish ravioli – together with a terrific assisting of seamless communication on the facet. Above the chat and memories, the muezzin’s decision thru the open home windows reminds us that we’re, after such a lot of years, in Istanbul.
The days are full of awesome points of interest: Topkapı, Hagia Sofia, and the Bosphorus and the one-step transition among the 2 continents of Europe and Asia. There are mosques, minarets, cisterns, and church buildings, lives, and intermingling cultures anywhere. And in which there are humans, there are, unavoidably, meals.
When she became little, my sister wouldn’t consume something except she should look at it first – Greeks and Turks are identical. It changed into reassuring to see that in Turkey (it is less common in Greece nowadays), the mezze dishes are brought to the desk on massive trays for the customers to pick out once seen.
At Bebek Balıkçı, with a happy view of gently lapping water and bobbing boats, it was a hard preference. Smokey aubergine purée, a sharp parsley salad, sea-sparkling prawns, and the maximum luscious cured bonito have been finally decided on. And there has been that hand of familiarity once more: “maydanoz” like “maidens,” the Greek phrase for parsley, “karides” similar to the Greek phrase for prawns; and we all knew what we had been speakme approximately while the bonito become recognized as “Lacerda.”
At the ordinary eating places in both Greece and Turkey, all the food is on display – not simply as photographs, however on trays of what you’re sincerely going to devour. And that’s what is so crucial to the self-belief of desire in a restaurant – we all understand what we hope something will look like, and obviously taste like what it seems on the menu; however, the fact doesn’t usually fit the expectation.
Our lunch at Hünkar in the Nişantaşı neighborhood right now retook me to meals at Filippou in Kolonaki, Athens. These two restaurants are extra carefully associated than cousins – I’d name them stepbrothers. From the crisp white tablecloths to the lengthy-serving group of workers and the greater than committed shoppers, these two institutions are virtually born from the equal meals lifestyle. Both those places are not simply eating places; they’re touch-factors of familiarity for their clients – a culinary domestic from domestic. Obviously, the high-quality of the food and the provider are incredible, but they mainly come to have the right home-fashion food in familiar surroundings.