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Çağla Yılmaz

You can see Hamsi Buğulama's picture here;
It is not fried,it is baked in the oven with onion,tomato and parsley.
I am sure that you can find in İstanbul!


Josh - we've been to Cinque Terre but not during anchovy season. A reason to return in colder weather!

Katy - I bet if you traveled in Turkey you would get a 'pass' (ie be an 'honorary man') too. I think it's more obviously yabanci (foreign) women than necessarily Caucasian women. (I also get a 'pass' in Indonesia as well. Less often from Malay men in Malaysia.)

Kristina - I love fried smelt! If it can't be anchovies, smelt please.

Julia - I wouldn't doubt it (hamsi dessert) but we saw no evidence. Then again hamsi preparations really start happening in a big way further east, past Samsun. Next trip. ;-)

Mesut - what is hamsi kusu? You've piqued my curiosity!

Su-Lin - the guts are removed but spines are definately edible. I found the spine hardly detectable at all but yes, you're right ... a couple of the guys picked the spine out.

Raluca - how do you prepare hamsii in Romania?

shayma - thank you! same to you -- here's to a great 2011!

Jessie - thank you, what a lovely comment. And you're welcome. Happy 2011!

locke - thank you. I imagine Switzerland might be difficult for a real seafood lover. ;-)

Stephanie - this is the tip of the iceberg. There are *many* food-ish reasons to visit Turkey!

Hi Albert - thanks! I can't call it work. We loved living and writing/photographing this post.


Hamsi is one thing I miss sooooo much here in Indonesia. But I'm not sure hamsi is the same with anchovies and I'm sure it's not ikan tamban either. Do you know what would be the closest fish available in Southeast Asia?


I think it makes sense hamsi is the 'authentic' Mediterranean anchovy and different sort from the SE Asia/China. They almost certainly have different seasons too. There might even be different sorts in the latter. But hardly any Chinese eat anchovy the way Mediterranean’s eat hamsi. Not sure about Korea and the Philippines; but Chinese use it mostly dried, stir fry with bitter melon, tofu, fermented black beans or fried rice with Taiwanese sausages. It is salty and good with rice.
The closest fish available to hamsi in SE Asia could possibly just be Sardine (prepared in the Mediterranean way that is);but I could be wrong.


Thank you for a wonderful trip to Turkey, gorgeous photography!


More on anchovies across the world at
with an embedded link to the Turkish Hamsi.


The pictures say it all... I love seeing people eating together and enjoying the food together. And wait till the last piece definitely they will be looking at each other and wondering who will have the last piece. I love to go to Turkey one day are try some of their foods.


I enjoyed reading this post! You know what? I'm from Turkey,living in Eskisehir, and have eaten hamsi several times so far but you made me crave for it again. The best way of enjoying fish is cooking and having it with fishermen at their place. Bet they cook better than anyone as they understand the language of fish. You're so lucky to meet that guy in Sinop. I will absolutely go to his shop some day!


Selen and Katy - I just learned that there are something like a dozen varieties of anchovy worldwide. Turkey's is Engranlis encrasicolus. Selen -- we have on occasion gotten sardines here in Malaysia and they come fairly close in oiliness and flavor. But honestly ... nowhere near as wonderful as hamsi. Are you in Jakarta?

Thanks Tim for the link! I left a comment. :-) Couldn't help it, the guy said he's never been impressed by fresh anchovies. Whaaat?!

Tina - I love the last picture as well. These guys were definately enjoying their food!

Zerrin - I love your words, they are so evocative: fishermen "understand the language of fish." And that translates to the skillet and plate. If you go to Sinop you MUST hit Mert's restaurant. I tell you the view is spectacular and if I can judge from him that family knows how to cook fish! Tell him we said 'hello' if you do. :-)


I just finished my lunch yet I`m drooling looking at those gorgeous anchovies! It`s interesting to know that they eat anchovies with bread. Maybe I should try that way sometime. At the moment I just want a big plate of hot steamed rice and sambal if I have those anchovies!


Arudhi, bread accompanies every single meal in Turkey. And fish sandwiches are very popular (grilled fish, usually). But now that you mention it some of these fresh hamsi just simmered till done in a little sweet-hot sambal would be very tasty indeed!

Ahmet Uzunhasan

I am a Laz from the Black Sea area, Trabzon. Thank you very much for the writing and the photos. I enjoyed it very much. Right now I am feeling very hungry for hamzi.

Ahmet Uzunhasan


Ahmet, you're welcome and thanks for stopping by. How lucky you are to be from what must be Turkey's most beautiful region! It's been 10 yrs since we were in Trabzon but we hope to make it back there soon.

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