« Happy Year of the Goat | Main | I Don't Like Brains »

2015.03.01

Comments

D.A.

I won't, but mostly because it's not Turkish.… You may have had this dish in Turkey, but it's Syrian/Lebanese.

sf

My one and only experience with it was in Amsterdam where it was wrapped about salad greens. Delicious.

e

Amsterdam is probably one of the worst places in the universe for lahmacun, where they wrap it around chopped iceberg and tomates soaked in Indonesian sambal sauce and garlicky mayonnaise. Even the spices in the topping are wrong and neither the dough nor the topping have anything to do with Halil's lahmacun, or any other lahmacun made and sold in Turkey.

LoulaMa

In Watertown, Massachusetts there were Armenian bakeries that sold lahmejuns, topped with lamb. There were bakeries in the Armenian quarter of Jerusalem that baked them as well.

sunflowii

Agree so much with your sentiment! I made paella for my sister and her family once. When I brought it to the table and announced that it was paella, her husband (the chef!) told his kids that it was seafood risotto. Thankfully after several years, my nieces, although not extremely adventurous, are at least not timid when it comes to strange food.

Martin

It looks delicious. I will try to make it myself!

Alison @ B-Kyu

At first when I saw 'Turkish Pizza', I thought of the pide style. In Sydney, a restaurant will advertise Turkish Pizza and that is what you will get, either the flatter style kiymali or the enclosed one filled with egg, cheese and sujuk. You could almost call it Turkish calzone, but I think that would just make you cry!

We also see 'Lebanese Pizza' (manoush) here, which I think is what your earlier commentator might be getting confused over.

Robyn

D.A. -- Thanks for reading.

From Turkish-Australian chef Somer Sivrioglu's new cookbook, called 'Anatolia':

"The idea of putting spiced mince on a disc of dough would have occurred to human beings long before there were nations called Italy or Turkey -- or for that matter Armenia, Greece or Syria -- all of whom have claimed to be the originators of [lahmacun]."

To be honest I would much rather spend my time documenting, cooking and eating foods like lahmacun than arguing about who 'invented' them.

Robyn

sf and e -- I'll try anything once but I think I would end up preferring Halil's version. :)

Loula Ma -- I was in Watertown at the end of January. At Arax Armenian grocery I purchased every single ingredient I needed to develop/test recipes for this book over the first few weeks of Feb (except for mahlep). Which in itself says something about the intermingled origins of food in Turkey and surrounding nations.
Unfortunately it was Sunday and the bakeries were closed. I'm sure I'll return at some point and I hope to check out an Armenian-style lahmejun when I do.

sunflowii -- thanks for reading. These kinds of comparisons are unavoidable I'm afraid but it would be great if we could all be more aware of them. I'm going to start calling pizza Italian Lahmacun. ;-)

Alison @B-Kyu -- Thanks for your comment!

In Turkey 'pide' can be either a not-so-flat plain flatbread (dimpled, with the fingers, or a boat-shaped pizza-reminiscent (oops, yes I did write that -- what I mean is open on top) pastry with thicker crust, kiymali as you describe (with minced meat), or with cheese, either can be with or without an egg. Here's a photo:

http://eatingturkey.tumblr.com/post/43492254678/first-pide

Anything enclosed and calzone-shaped is etli ekmek ('meaty' bread), or sembusek (and perhaps others I'm not aware of), but meat and cheese are never mixed inside.

To further complicate things there are many types of etli ekmek in Turkey, one of which is comprised of dough into which meat and spices have actually been kneaded (see link below).

http://eatingasia.typepad.com/eatingasia/2010/06/mardin-etli-ekmek.html

Elaine

I love the idea of lamacun with sambal...talk about synthesis! Isn't that what we're all after in this new world?

The everpresent journalist quandary - do you dumb down to make familiar, or just go for the jugular and trust your readers' smarts and sophistication? Will be looking forward to this book

Caitlin

This is a straw man argument since lahmacun is not usually called Turkish pizza. The term "Turkish pizza" usually refers to stuffed pide. Admittedly the lahmacun looks more like Italian pizza than pide, but it is still pide that gets the pizza label. And it's not because Westerners are stoopid - the term "pizza" is used by Turks in the diaspora to describe their pide.

Robyn

Hi Elaine -- thank you. Oh I don't have a problem with lahmacun and sambal and as I said I'll try anything once. But I can't imagine preferring the combo over a brilliantly prepared lahmacun served as it is in Turkey. I have a problem with "over-condimenting" in general, along the lines of the "Sriracha is great on everything" trend.

NJSpice

This was a favorite in our family, my Armenian grandmother always made it with lamb. The same grandmother also made a mean "tomato pie" in a rectangular pan with tomato and mozzarella! My other Grandmother, an Italian (and also an excellent cook) did not make any kind of "pizza" as far as I know, so I guess the Armenians had the corner on that.

Robyn

Caitlin thanks for your comment.

I've been subscribing to a "Turkish restaurant" Google Alert since September 2010, so I've seen a *lot* of round-the-world Turkish restaurant write-ups/reviews and menus. The 'Turkish pizza' moniker is used for both lahmacun and pide.

Even if your statement about the term 'Turkish pizza' not being used for lahmacun were accurate, I would make the same argument for pide.

Why not just call pide 'pide'? From my Google Alert, I know that many pide/Turkish pizza served in restaurants outside Turkey are an abomination, so thick of crust and heavily laden with cheese and meat as to be ..... a pizza. Pide in Turkey are not gloppy with cheese and meat.

That's my point. I used the 'Turkish pizza' example to illustrate that when we label foreign (unfamiliar) foods with familiar terms, expectations of what they are and should be are altered. And that's too bad, in my opinion, because diner/cookbook reader-user misses out.

Of course Turks in the diaspora call pide and lahmacun 'Turkish pizza'. If they used the terms 'lahmacun' or 'pide' most non-Turks would have no idea what they are referring to. Just as Taiwanese might call gua bao a 'Taiwanese hamburger' if they were speaking about the dish with a foreigner unfamiliar with Taiwanese food.

I didn't write this post to make Turks happy, but enough have responded positively to this post to indicate that some Turkish citizens would prefer 'lahmacun' be known as 'lahmacun'.

I don't think foreigners are 'stoopid', and I don't think I implied that at all. In fact, my argument is to the contrary -- that we (foreigners) are smart enough to learn terms (like 'pizza' or 'ravioli', which after all were at one time unfamiliar terms to most non-Italian Americans) .... and that we (foreigners), most of us, have broad enough palates to be willing to try foods that are not necessarily described in terms of foods we know.

And that's my point, in case you missed it: There's no need to pander.

Thanks for reading.

Molly

Halil makes good lahmacun, but after undertaking a fair amount of lahmacun study in Kadiköy and greater Istanbul last fall my favorite is Borsam Taş Fırın, just down the street from Halil.

I've tried to make lahmacun now that I have moved back to the U.S., but have had difficulty getting the dough right. I suppose I'll have to wait for the cookbook for a definitive recipe?

Robyn

Molly -- thanks for the tip! We will check out Borsam next time we're in Istanbul.

I'll be putting recipes from the cookbook up here on the blog, and elsewhere (you'll know if you follow on Twitter ... and if I remember to mention other publishings here on the blog) beginning in a few months, probably, and lahmacun will probably be one of them.

Thanks for the comment!

Ljubljana Slovenia

I never call anything Turkish ever since I visited Greece. I just point my finger. :-) Love your blog.

Laura

It looks very tasty, regardless of what you call it. I'm definitely looking forward to the recipe and the cookbook.

JoJo

I've never cared for foods that people give names to make it seem like it's an ~exotic~ version of more familiar food. I think a good example would be people calling gulab jamun "Indian donuts" which really doesn't do those justice!

John

This bring back the sweet memories savoured at Halil Lahmacun. And the vivid memories a classy city. Istanbul is forever in my heart! Great recipe.

Smiley

I agree with JoJo use the proper names. It is like Shepards Pie is never made with beef it's made with lamb. Cottage Pie on the otherhand is made with beef. Food broadens the mind if people do not have the opportunity to travel.

Robyn

JoJo -- Exactly. I agree about gulab jamun!

Smiley -- that is beautifully put. And food can only broaden the mind if it, and what it's called, isn't dumbed down to taste like one's home country's food.

Leo Sigh

I've eaten something similar in Amsterdam as well, and agree with the person who said it was delicious. It was. It may not have been particularly 'Turkish', but it was still very satisfying :) Great photos, btw

Qin Xie

I love your pursuit of authenticity though it's hard for people to get an idea of something unfamiliar. It's like most people know kimchee so they use it to describe Chinese pao cai.

Robyn

Thanks Qin Xie -- So why can't we just describe things using a broad category instead of a specific food? Eg. lahmacun is a meat-topped flatbread. And paocai is a type of pickle.
'Pizza' was once an unfamiliar word to Americans. So was 'tostada' and 'taco'. Let's treat 'pao cai' and 'lahmacun' similarly, add them to western vernacular, and broaden some minds in the process. :)
Thanks for reading!

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Istanbulandbeyond_Cover_Final
Look Inside and Pre-Order! Also available at Barnes&Noble and Indiebound.
Saveur.bfba.200