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Istanbul - Category Archive

Aug 18

Happy Bayram! A Guide To International Groceries In Austin Texas

Filed under Istanbul

When I began preparing for my journeys through Istanbul, I dove headfirst into thick tomes on the culture of the city.

I quickly discovered that Turkey is a secular country with topless beaches, loud heavy metal concerts, couples making out on park benches, people walking down the streets drinking from cans of beer and all manners of conspicuous consumption like you might find in, say, New Orleans.

It’s good to be a Turk.

Then there’s Ramazan. Or Ramadan as it’s known in most of the Muslim world.It is a month long period of fasting prayer and celebration that comes to an end tonight Saturday August 18th 2012 at dusk. At the end of this month-long fast, Turkish Muslims throw a 3 day party known as Bayram. It can get a little wild as Turks love to party and heavy drinking is a cultural norm with bars and nightclubs often staying open til dawn.

Unlike 95% of USA where the blue noses and puritans tell the citizens how long they’re allowed to have fun.

Sweet treats, desserts and candy are a major part of the celebration. Lokum, or Turkish Delight, will be sold in metric tons across Istanbul this evening as the Turks, fifteen million strong in Istanbul alone, consume mass quantities of the unfathomably delicious candy.

Altan Sekerleme, the ancient, Ottoman-era sweet shop, will probably do more business in the next 3 days than they did in the previous 3 months.

 Tonight, Istanbul municipality will stretch a banner between the minarets of the Blue Mosque that reads Sevelim Ve Sevilelim or Let Us Love, Let Us Be Loved. I’d give anything to be there.

Here in Austin, Texas we are starting to see some markets open that cater to our Muslim community. I called International Food Market on North Lamar Blvd and they informed me that they have a wide array of Turkish goods including Lokum {Turkish Delight.}

1) International Food Market 11331 North Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78753 (512) 491-8282. This market is near where the development of north Austin ends and actual woods begin. Well stocked and open late.
2) Phoenicia Bakery on Burnet Road affirmed that they also have Lokum, as well as a coterie of other sweet treats from the region.
Phoenicia Bakery 4701 Burnet Road, Austin, TX 78756 {512} 323 6770. As we all know, Phoenicia puts out one of the great chicken sandwiches in Austin. But it’s also a very well stocked grocery store.
3) Sarah’s Mediterranean Grill and Market at 5222 Burnet Road 78756 (512) 419-7605 has always been a good source for baklava and kritsinia. I just got off the phone with them and they informed me that their shop would be a great place to break the fast with a full range of flavored lokum as well as their normal Greek-style pastries.
It’s a little known fact, but Turkey provides most of the high caliber baklava consumed in Greece.
4) And finally I spoke with the owner of World Food and Halal Market and he confirmed that there are plenty candies and desserts including Lokum in his shop at 9616 North Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78753 (512) 832-8365.
Istanbul may be six thousand miles away but if you’re part of the Turkish diaspora that has settled in Central Texas you can still celebrate Bayram in style by procuring delicious candies and sweet treats at the markets in the listings I provided.
Any wordpress gurus reading this? I spent hours on the layout above and it looks great on my admin page and looks like shit when you hit publish. Contact me if you have a solution.


All entries filed under Istanbul

Istanbul Restaurants: Where The Turks Eat by RL Reeves Jr. Lentil Soup-Mercimek Corbasi
1 response - Posted 07.01.12
The Turks know their soup. Many restaurants open early in the morning so workers can dash in for a bowl of  çorbası before they begin their daily affairs. Every restaurant, no matter how humble or grand offers at least one type and many places offer upwards of ten. The Turks know ...continue
Istanbul Restaurants: Where The Turks Eat by RL Reeves Jr
2 responses - Posted 06.26.12
You can't walk twenty feet in Istanbul without being presented with a glorious picture taking opportunity. If you enjoy urban hiking, eating street food and shooting endless photos, then Istanbul has no peer among the world's cities. We're down to the wire on finally getting the book: Istanbul Restaurants: Where The ...continue
Istanbul Restaurants: Where The Turks Eat
no responses - Posted 06.20.12
Hamsi is the most fabled of all the fishes sold in restaurants in Istanbul. The diminutive anchovy can be bought at cafes ranging from the high end { Four Seasons} to the most downmarket you can imagine: fishermen selling them off brazier grills drove into the muddy banks of the ...continue
Istanbul Restaurants: Where The Turks Eat
no responses - Posted 06.18.12
Mapping out my first voyage to Istanbul I quickly vectored in on Sultanahmet as the best place to stay for week 1 of a two week stay. Admittedly, this is not where you're going to have the best options as far as dining goes, but the scenery could not be ...continue
Istanbul Restaurants: Where The Turks Eat
no responses - Posted 06.16.12
As the release of my guide {Istanbul Restaurants: Where The Turks Eat} on where to eat in Istanbul, prepares to come to fruition, I'm going to be posting photos  taken during my research visits. This is the first restaurant I ever photographed in Istanbul. Of course it's Mexican. After flying ...continue
Istanbul Restaurants: Where The Turks Eat
2 responses - Posted 06.15.12
The book that's been a project for 3 years is set to come out. I'm going to start putting up lots of pictures from my research trips to Istanbul in celebration of finally, finally finishing this work. The first photo I ever took in Istanbul. I didn't know it at the time, ...continue
Istanbul Confidential Part 3. Drinking Under The Radar: Sahil Cafe
no responses - Posted 12.15.11
Walking north from Istanbul’s Karakoy neighborhood along the  eastern shore of The Golden Horn, an estuary that is also the world’s largest harbor, you eventually leave the maritime warehouse district and come upon the Ataturk bridge. As you walk westward across this bridge you are  departing  Beyoglu and will soon ...continue
Oh To Be Sailing Down The Golden Horn In Istanbul Turkiye
no responses - Posted 12.09.11
              If you ever have the slightest opportunity to visit Istanbul seize it. This is a photo of the sun going down on the Golden Horn, an estuary that bisects the city. If Turkiye interests you click on the Istanbul button on the right side of your screen. I've explored the city ...continue
Letter From an Istanbul Kitchen Part Ten: Gaziantep’Li Baklavaci Bilgeoglu
no responses - Posted 12.05.11
Traipsing through Moda on the Asian side of Istanbul I was searching for a Mexican. Back in Texas I'd heard that an hombre had moved over to these parts, settled down with a Turkish gal and went ahead and opened his own bar. Sounds like my kind of place. A Mexican ...continue
Letter From an Istanbul Kitchen Part Nine: Durumzade. Open All Night In Beyoglu
5 responses - Posted 12.03.11
After many, many hard nights of drinking and dancing at Araf Cafe in Istanbul's Beyoglu neighborhood I had to have sustenance to sustain me inspite of the fact I was walking back to my hotel with little else to do other than collapse on the bed in a deep slumber. This ...continue
Deemed Unpublishable: Top Istanbul Bites: Mullets, Ram Testicles and Turkish Hillbilly Cuisine
1 response - Posted 01.12.11
Kicked back in Austin Texas with an ice cold can of Pearl beer and Lefty Frizzell playing on the hi fi is as good setting as any for reflecting back on my two week run-up through Istanbul's dining scene a year or so ago. I could spill 1500 ...continue
Letter From an Istanbul Kitchen Part Eight: Haci Abdullah. Ottoman Steamline Cuisine
no responses - Posted 09.20.10
Contrasts abound at Haci Abdullah the venerable [ 1888 ] Beyoglu cafeteria. Yes, it's billed as Ottoman palace cuisine and yes its kitchen shows a careful hand with the classics. A shank of lamb braised with tomatoes, okra and potatoes is meaty and tender. The okra has been cooked "down" but ...continue
Letter From An Istanbul Kitchen Part Seven: Lades 2. A Diner In The Beyoglu
no responses - Posted 09.13.10
I have a passion for soup. I make 6 quarts a week [that's the size of my kettle] and have done so for the last several years. My friends are big eaters and they need good soup for sustenance. Lades 2 has a good hand with the chicken soup. With thunderstorms ...continue
Letter From an Istanbul Kitchen Part 6: Orhan’s Sucuk Stand. 25 Years of Sausage
no responses - Posted 07.26.10
On a cold Winters night in Istanbul, Zubeyir, the Kurdish meat house, is sold out and my dreams of lamb ribs are evaporating into the nether. So it goes on a busy Friday night in the Beyoglu. My mind awhirl I begin rifling through my mental Istanbul Eats archive I ...continue
Letter From an Istanbul Kitchen Part 5: Adem Baba. Fish Masters of Arnavutkoy
no responses - Posted 07.24.10
Like Galatoires in New Orleans Louisiana, Adem Baba puts a piece of fish on a plate and says "there's your fish now eat it". The restraint is admirable, the fish impeccable and the service beautifully understated. The proximity of a nearby mosque dictates no Raki shall be served and the proximity ...continue
Letter From An Istanbul Kitchen Part 4: Abracadabra Runs Out of Tricks
1 response - Posted 07.19.10
Abracadabra is the most anticipated restaurant on my Istanbul trip. I've read the accounts of Dilara Erbay's wizardry in the kitchen and I'm foaming at the mouth to get at her food. But the part where the rubber meets the road, as they say in the American South, finds Abracadabra not ...continue
Letter From An Istanbul Kitchen Part 3: Pera Sisore. Tuscaloosa Comes to Beyoglu
1 response - Posted 06.29.10
When planning my trip to Istanbul I envisioned eating the Turks'  version of soul food. I read this article: Pera Sisore: Black Sea Magic. [ http://istanbuleats.com/2009/04/pera-sisore-black-sea-magic/ ] on the Istanbul Eats website and it convinced me that indeed, good soul food can be found in Turkey. I'm not sure the owner ...continue
Letter From An Istanbul Kitchen Part 2: Van Kahvalti Evi. Short Order Kurds in Cihangir
3 responses - Posted 06.21.10
I can eat breakfast morning, noon and night. The traditional Turkish breakfast however {bread, jam, olives and cheese} leaves me cold. I was raised in the American South and our custom dictates fried eggs, country ham, grits, sawmill gravy and biscuits shot through with lard, be served in the morning hours ...continue
Letter From An Istanbul Kitchen Part 1: Kasap Osman. Osman the Butcher Plys His Meat Trade in Sirkeci
1 response - Posted 06.20.10
I researched restaurants quite a bit before coming to Istanbul. I first read about Kasap Osman on Istanbul Eats  {http://istanbuleats.com/2009/06/kasap-osman-a-cure-for-doner-fatigue/ } When the cabbie offers to take me to Sirkeci for 25 lira, I nearly bust a gut. I'm in the shadow of Hagia Sofia and could hit Kasap Osman with ...continue

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