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Friday, August 27, 2010

Food Tour continues

For some reason, the walking tour has turned the meal sequence backwards by starting first with pastries, sweet desserts and we were told, the main course will be our end point. I had no problem with that given my frustration of never ever having enough room for dessert after heavy meals.

So after the candy store, we were led to Istikal St, a long main street that is slowing turning into high street with modern fashion chains and run of the mill coffee joints like Starbucks. Virgin Megastore is opening up there, taking down a old historical building with it and more plans are feared to be in place that will remove part of history .

Inci is one establishment, it is housed within a famous old building ( ottoman era ?) that is slated for modernisation. The man behind the counter of Inci, claims to have invented the profiterole, Ansel explains with doubt. Still, it was a quaint and you can tell, a very old shop, still churning out their own macaroons and freshly prepared profiteroles. The ceilings soar above you as you step inside and provides a cool shelter from the sweltering summer heat.

We had to have one tasting, and after taking one big scoop admired the consistency of the choux pastry. The chocolate that was generously drowning the pastry was made with real stuff that was unsweetened and slightly bitter. We saw a few more people coming in asking for the dessert and this was not even 11am, so he is obviously very popular.

Another dessert was waiting for us, Ansel said this one was going to be strange but a must try in Turkey. Tavuk Gogsu, when translated means Chicken Breast literally.  A pudding made out of chicken breast? Sounds disgusting so I couldn't wait to try it.

As it turns out, he wasn't joking, this pudding served cold has been in Turkish history books since the 14th century. The Atlantic had an article about the origins of this bizarre savoury dish here.

Apparently chicken is used not for its taste as it doesn't really possess any inherent flavour, but the texture of cooked chicken breast provides the right binding factor in the sugar and milk formula.

A close up might give you some clue of the texture. The brown crust is a result of caramelised sugar and the taste is sweet and well milky with no trace of chicken, thankfully.

The rice flour that is also part of the recipe contributes to the stickiness of the dish and it is very close to a Asian local street food called Muar Chee. For those who know it, it is also made of rice flour and sugar but tossed in peanuts.

This photo was taken from here and you can also find the recipe.

A short trot took us to the next stop, a hole in the wall coffee shop Mandabatmaz. Apparently it means "So thick a cow cannot sink in" .

This photo from Istanbul Eats shows the father making the brew but we got the son that afternoon, who also made a mean cuppa. I ordered my coffee with medium sugar while T wanted his with less.

You can see how viscous the coffee is and believe me, it was thick and strong. Unlike the watered down versions that I have been served in the past few days. It was so good, we went back a few days later, albeit getting lost for about 1 hour, and had another hit. 2 cups of the strong brew cost 5 lira.

There are a few more stops to the tour, but I will continue another day. It's almost the weekend and hope you guys are having a good week !

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