Turkish Food – Simit

Turkish street food simit gevrek

The simitçi in Fethiye doesn’t move too far, these days.

We’d be more than willing to bet that you cannot go to any town or city in Turkey without coming across this famous Turkish street snack – simit (a ring of bread topped with sesame seeds). If you are walking round Fethiye, there is still one guy who walks around shouting ‘Simitçi!’ (simit seller) with the tray on top of his head. It doesn’t even wobble.

Maybe it’s a dying skill or maybe the council are trying to phase out the ‘simit strollers,’ I don’t know, but these days, you are most likely to spot simits being sold to the people of Fethiye from these little carts or from the bakeries and markets. If you are in Turkey on a budget, simits are great because they’re around 50 kuruş each and they’re very filling. Enough to sort you out for the day.

Simit eating is a way of life in Turkey. In Istanbul, there is a chain of eateries (they have a fast food outlet look about them) called ‘Simit Sarayı’ (Simit Palace). We can only assume they serve simits with different fillings, the one in Eminönü is 3 storeys high and always packed full of people. (Of course, they also serve börek and other snacks.) Here in Fethiye, it’s not unusual to see toddlers in the street with a simit in their hand, chomping away quite happily.

Now, we both love our Turkish food, but we can’t get with the love of the simit. If we were to bring one home and slice it in half through the middle and put some butter and jam on it, then yes. Lovely. But, walking round the streets, chewing a dry piece of bread – no. We’ve tried a few times and it’s just not working for us. We hate to be defeated by food and hope that one day, we can learn to love the the Turkish street food favourite that is the simit…however, we may be some time.

2013 Update: 

  • We did refuse to be defeated and this post shows how we learned to love the simit.
  • Also, while in Izmir, we even debated the differences, if any, between simit and gevrek.

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Comments

  1. Simit has Pekmez and sesame.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pekmez

    Mostly simit is eaten with cheese.
    With Turkish cream cheese or soft Turkish cheeses without salt.

  2. I think we should have made the simit one of our New Year’s Resolutions – try it with cheese. There are no simit places in Fethiye where you can get a hot, fresh one with cheese. Maybe next time we’re in Istanbul…

  3. One time in Erzurum I saw a Simitci with a tray on his head, as he passed some steps a couple of tow-rags neatly lifted one each and vanished; perhaps that’s why they use carts these days!

  4. @ Alan: They must have been experienced at the that for the simitçi not to have noticed. The cart probably helps to stop them from going stale, too?

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