People who read this blog a lot will know that we have a bit of a ‘thing’ for Turkish pickles. Type pickles into our search box on the left and you will see the list of posts we’ve done in celebration of the tantalising taste of fruit and vegetables preserved in vinegar. Even the thought of it now is making my mouth water. We love pickles!
There’s something about winter that brings out those pickle cravings; a craving to make pickles (we’ve made and crunched our way through 2 rather large tubs of homemade pickled red cabbage recently) and a craving to eat pickles.
A few months back, a Turkish friend told us to make sure we bought some pickles from the street the next time we were in Istanbul. It’s a winter thing, she told us. Well, the weather was definitely behaving as if winter was upon us and, as we were wandering around Eminönü in October, we spotted a turşucu (pickle seller). We’d just finished munching on some other street food loveliness but a cup of turşu wasn’t going to do us any harm, was it?
1.5TL bought us a plastic cup of karışık turşu (mixed pickles) and a little plastic fork…and then we were free to walk around in public, slurping pickles and pickle vinegar while ambling across Galata Bridge. How heavenly is that? Pickle appreciators everywhere will appreciate that one! And yes, we drank the vinegar between us, too. We wanted to, other people were doing the same, it was acceptable. If you’re a pickle juice slurper, Istanbul is the city for you.
In last month’s Istanbul itinerary post, we said we intended to explore the Cihangir and Çukurcuma areas of Beyoğlu. Despite the bad weather, that intention became an accomplishment, and while we were enjoying the woodwork and craft shops of Çukurcuma, the pickle shop above sticks in our memory. How can it not? So tempting when you see beautifully stacked jars full of pickles arranged in pristine fashion. We gazed, we hovered and we nearly went in to make a purchase…
…but we wanted to go back to our favourite Beyoğlu turşucu, Petek Turşuları (Petek Pickles). We’d talked about it so much throughout the year that it felt like we were cheating our dream if we didn’t head back there.
These guys know how to do a good display to tempt pickle lovers anywhere (click on the Petek link above to see more). As soon as the latch from the door is released, your nostrils are filled with the aroma of pickling vinegar as the staff stir fruit and vegetables in cauldrons of this wondrous preservative.
Photographed above is our Istanbul souvenir that we brought back to Fethiye with us. From Petek Turşuları, we bought a jar of sweet pickled red chillies and, remember the chilli paste from the fantastic köfte lunch we had at Edirnekapı? Well, this stuff is exactly the same but not quite as blended. Crushed, super-fiery red chillies in (we think) oil and a splash of vinegar. The contents of both jars are now severely depleted.