I have unfinished business in Istanbul.  All of it is to do with eating. Eating more. Eating more of exactly what I ate at the charming restaurant in the Çiçek Pasajı where Andy and I were filming a group of young Istanbul residents, call them our subjects if you like. I’d specially like to eat more of the deniz börülcesi or samphire that I was so excited to see was one of  the huge selection of hot and cold meze that they ordered.

The numerous bottles of  raki that were also ordered were the perfect accompaniment to the meze.  Not that we were tempted to join in after accepting just one glass of the anise flavoured drink, since this was after all a normal working day for us. Andy filmed the entire meal – and here are a few frame grabs from the footage.

And then there was the kaymaklı lokum from Ali Muhiddin Hacı Bekir.

Hacı Bekir opened in 1777 and is currently run by the fifth generation of the Hacı Bekir family from the same location. Although the shop is filled with every flavour of Turkish Delight imaginable, the kaymaklı lokum – filled with clotted cream  – was what our subjects bought. We couldn’t fault them on their choice of  meze the night before and we most certainly could not fault them on this choice.  The cool, slightly tangy, creamy filling that seeped into my mouth as I ate the kaymaklı lokum was such a surprise, and such a joy,  that it is now on my top ten best foods of all time list. 

I definitely have unfinished business in Istanbul.


Take a look at this video to see how kaymaklı lokum  is made.