Post number 3 in our Fethiye Cheap Eats series. Remember, we’re on the hunt for sit-down-meals in the Fethiye area that come in under 10 lira and so far, we’ve eaten a rather filling Sundial Burger and any variety of dürüm kebab at Öz Gaziantep.
No series about Turkish food would be worth writing if we didn’t mention kokoreç; that little gem of Turkish cuisine that makes the foreigner either pull a face of complete horror or a face of intrigue. When we first tried kokoreç 11 years ago (I remember it well!), we fell into the ‘intrigued’ camp; probably helped by the fact that we’d just had a night out and in our inebriated state, felt brave and invincible. ‘Kokoreç? Lamb’s intestine on a sandwich? Bring it on!’ I can’t say we felt so brave and invincible the morning after when we computed what we’d eaten the night before, but well, that was a long time ago.
And things have moved on. You will still see (and smell) the little white kokoreç vans dotted about the streets of Fethiye; their chimneys sending out a constant plume of kokoreç-scented smoke. They’re an institution. But, just across the main road from Boğaziçi Restaurant, along Fethiye harbour, you will now also see Şampiyon Kokoreç and you can probably work out from the style of this place that somebody, somewhere in Turkey spotted a gap in the market for a chain of shops. Kokoreç is big business and there are Şampiyon Kokoreç outlets all over Turkey.
And so there should be! We’re not usually big fans of generic chain food, but we’ve eaten there twice recently and to date, it’s the best kokoreç we’ve ever had. The meat is spicy and tender and served on super-soft, fresh Turkish bread. You also get a plate of pickled chillies and gherkins (which we stuff into our half-breads, as you can see).
If you think you might like to try kokoreç but aren’t too sure about tackling such a big sandwich, you can also order a çeyrek ekmek (quarter bread). My sandwich, in the photo above, is a yarım ekmek (half bread). This is cut in half down the middle and might tempt you further. If you like spicy meat though, you can’t go wrong with kokoreç. Go for it and get the half-bread. Meanwhile, I’m psyching myself up to attempt a kokoreç plate. No sandwich, just the meat and accompaniments.
Fethiye’s Şampiyon Kokoreç comes with a little added bonus in that if you climb the wooden stairs at the side of the building, you can sit on the long balcony, overlooking the harbour…and you can eat your food and order an Efes Pilsen to go with it.
A kokoreç half-bread comes in at 6 lira (around £2.40 at current exchange rate). Obviously, the quarter-bread will be cheaper.
Şampiyon Kokoreç also serves fried mussels (midye tava) and stuffed mussels if you really can’t face kokoreç. A midye tava half-bread is 5 lira (around £2.00).
Şampiyon Kokoreç is on Cahit Gündüz Caddesi, opposite Boğaziçi Restaurant in Fethiye.