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I enjoyed reading this post so much. Great photos and kaimaki is the best! So creamy and rich and by far superior to clotted cream.

"portokali" is a Greek word which means orange.


Great post! My favorite treat has always been the tahinli corek, specially when you come towards the heart of the "coil" "spiral", there is a concentration of tahin!!, god I miss those so much!! If you guys go back to Istanbul, you should check out the Istinye neighbourhood which is not that far from Besiktas and which has little "firin" that bake my other favorite breakfast item the "zeytinli acma", ok I'll stop hear I'm hungry, and I can't find this stuff in NY! Maya
ps: just a question, I'm moving with the husband and daughter to Beijing in August for 3 years, could you recommend a good cooking school to me if you know any? thank you!!

Teri Y

Woah, I will go crazy (in a very very good way) with all those choices of baked goods. Great little historical info on Yedi Sekiz Hasan Pasa. That's what I like about food... with it comes history.

In the last picture, I assume that's the Turkish clotted cream? Is that honey on that same small dish plate? I can only imagine what a terrific combination of tastes it will create.

Turkey's For Life

Ooooooh, will look out for this place next time we're in Istanbul (possibly October). Looks lovely. I finished my 8km run in Beşiktaş last October. Wish I'd known about it then. I was starving! :)

Meister @ The Nervous Cook

Wow, everything in this post looks incredible -- that first photo made my mouth water for sure, and I'm just dying to sink my teeth into some of those breads.

What a great photo essay.


Be careful when you eat kaymak (from water buffalo, no less) and honey. After that, you can climb 10 mt wall without help.

Lisa in Toronto

OK adding this to the to-eat list.
Looks absolutely delicious. We will be doing a _lot_ of walking so I am sure we can try kaymak a few times.
Will report when back from Istanbul.
Thanks again for all of the delicious Istanbul food suggestions on your blog!


Magda, I agree!
Maya, I just **love** the tahinli corek. Probably among my top 10 favorite foods from all our travels around Turkey. Don't know of any cooking schools in Beijing but I do know of an outfit called Hias Gourmet and they might be able to direct you to one. They do off the beaten track food excursions, I think.
Teri - yes, honey is often just served in the same dish as the kaymak, both to spread on bread. In Van, in eastern Turkey, where breakfast is a VERY big deal, it's often honey still on the comb. Incredibly delicious. More about Van breakfast, the kaymak there, and yummy photos here:


TFL - oh, wouldn't that have been great after a long run? Keep it in mind.

Thank you Meister!

Mesut - unless you eat it too often, in which case you will be weighed down by all the kilos around your waist! It took me a couple months to lose my Turkey weight after that trip! ;-)

Lisa - go for it! I think you need to walk from Karakoy all the way to Besiktas to burn off the fat in that kaymak though. ;-)

Janet Upton

Maya, are you looking for local cooking schools or ones that can teach in English? If the latter, there are several -- Black Sesame Kitchen (run by Jen Lin Liu, you should read her book), The Fig Tree (more western cuisine focused, run by Lin Zhong), and The Hutong also offers a wide variety of cooking classes. I think Eileen Wen Moody may also still be offering cooking classes. I haven't taken any yet, but have heard good things about all. You might also want to join the Beijing Organic Consumers Association group on yahoo -- quite a lot of foodies participate in that and may be able to offer more advice.


Love it when readers help each other out. Janet, thanks much for responding to Maya's query.


Hoi Robyn, I saw your blog coincidentally today, when I was jumping from the one blog to another. My English isn’t very well, but I saw first the photograph of kaymak [thank goodness, the language of photograph is universal] :)read suddenly about Beşiktaş.
Nice blog, wish you success.
Just a point to clear: portakallı is with double ‘l’. it’s the -lı suffix in the Turkish language. As the lı of kaymak-lı. And that means with orange. See my portakallı kurabiye http://efsus.org/?cat=6
But we have other words form Greece, like efendi, enginar, cımbız…

thyme (sarah)

Robyn, I just wish I could hold on to your shirt tales on one of these trips. The plane $$ are beginning to down a bit and I am hopeful that a trip to Istanbul may happen. We don't speak any Turkish at all (only English/French) so I am a little worried about venturing out of Istanbul. Thanks for walking us through this fabulous bakery. And...I'm taking notes so that we can try that luscious kaimaki.


Thanks for the comment Sarah! On our first trip to Turkey in '98 I didn't speak a lick of Turkish and we didn't even have a guidebook. After 9 days in Istanbul we rented a car in Izmir and drove south to Bodrum, then east to Konya and south to Antalya. That trip is what inspired me to learn Turkish.
Long story short -- Turks are among the most hospitable folks you could ever hope to meet. You have kids, so of course you may not be as light on your feet as we were on our first trip. But if there is any place in which to put yourself out just a little bit, and let serendipity happen, Turkey is it.
You might think about Ayvalik as a diversion. Not too far from Istanbul, but different, a smallish town, pretty and on the Aegean, and close to the ruins in Pergamum. It would be a nice break from the big city, if you want to see a different side of Turkey.

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