Turkish Food – Camel Sausage

Today was the 2nd Karaçulha Camel Wrestling Festival, just up the road from where we live. With just a 10 TL entrance fee and proceeds going towards the local school, we would have been negligent not to go again. Last year, we entered the ‘arena’ (read ‘spare land’) with trepidation and a little excitement at being able to witness an Aegean Turkish tradition we had never before seen. And we’d heard there could be camel sausage served up too…

Camel Wrestling, Turkey

The camels are huge beasts

Last year, we were all shocked and surprised that there would be camel wrestling in Fethiye. So, when we wrote the post, we were fascinated by the actual camel wrestling bouts. However, this year, we found ourselves talking about what we were going to eat once inside. When we got out of the car, the majesty of these beasts still took me aback. They command your appreciation and attention – especially when they’re all waiting in the car parking area.

Et Tava And Köfte

Lots of foods on offer at the camel wrestling events

We arrived early so, once inside, the food stalls, all using charcoal barbecues to grill their meats, were only just beginning to cook for the expected crowds.

The stall above was cooking red meat, which, when fried up and placed in a half bread, resembled tantuni kebab. We guess it was çoban kavurma, of the type served at Kırkpınar Restaurant in the mountains above Fethiye. Köfte was also widely available.

Camel Sausage, Deve Sucuk

Deve sucuk – spicy camel sausage – for sale at the camel wrestling event

Tempting as the kavurma and köfte looked, especially once the smoky, charcoaled, meaty aromas were wafting through the air around us, we hadn’t come for that.

Eating Camel Sausage

We were there for the sucuk. But when you go to a camel wrestling event, it isn’t dana sucuk (beef sucuk) that gets placed between your half-bread for your enjoyment.

No. This is camel wrestling. These food stands are specialising in deve sucuk. A spicy sausage of cured camel sausage. That was what we came for; a camel sausage half-bread.

We all had half an eye on the food stands while we were watching the camel wrestling bouts and were trying to work out what exactly was going on. Food simplicity is always the best.

Eventually, our friend looked at his watch and suggested going for some food. It must have been on all of our minds because, without speaking, we were at one of the food stands in no time.

Camel Sausage Half Bread

Camel sausage – heaven in a half bread

Long slithers of camel sausage were browning and sizzling over the hot coals beside grilled köfte. We ordered 4 half-breads of deve sucuk. With impressive deftness, the half breads were cut through the middle and placed bread-side down on the griddle to soak up previous meat juices.

Within seconds it was scooped from the griddle. A generous serving of deve sucuk was dropped between the slices. Then salad and crisp, strong-tasting, raw onion was thrown over the top…

Wrapping Up

The bread was slapped closed and paper was wrapped around the bottom before being thrust into our waiting hands. Money was taken, change was given. The whole process took less than a minute.

You can’t see in the photos, but the guy in the blue shirt was turning sucuk and köfte with his right hand. His left hand was gripping a wadge of notes as he was also in charge of the monetary transactions.

Verdict: Camel Sausage is highly recommended, especially when it’s as spicy as ours was!! A half bread was 5 TL (about £1.80). A kilo of deve sucuk to take home was 20 TL per kilo (about £7) at the time of writing. Good value all round!

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  1. i love beef sucuk…not sure if i could eat camel.

  2. I took my 19 year old daughter to her first camel wrestling match at the beginning of January. She still doesn’t believe me that the sucuk are made out of camels. I’ll get her to read your blog.

  3. @ Jaz: The way we look at it is we choose to eat meat. Meat is from many animals…including camels as well as cows. And it’s sooo good. You’re missing out. 🙂

    @ BacktoBodrum: Ohhhhh dear. I suspect your daughter is not going to like us too much when she reads this. 😉

  4. J and I have been a few times, always to different venues – the atmosphere is fantastic and ALL of our senses get to be stimulated. The only times I’ve seen anything get ‘hurt’ was when one of the beasts took off and charged through the crowd scattering people, chairs, picnics and barbies – highlight of the day!

  5. @ Alan: we pondered not bothering this year…once you’ve seen it and all that. But it’s such a spectacle and on tow occasions we scattered due to charging camels. Beautiful creatures but formiddable when they’re hurtling towards you. 🙂 Would love to go the big events along the Aegean.

  6. Camel sucuk? Interesting. I hope they used an older camel to make it. =)

  7. Now THAT is something I’ve never tried – how fascinating!

  8. @ Joy: Yes, I wonder which sort of camels produce the best sucuk actually… 😉

    @ Belinda: It’s worth trying if you ever get then opportunity. Heavily spiced and leaves a lovely after-taste.

  9. Camel sucuk….sounds interesting. I’m not sure I would have tried it without your recommendation. I’ve got wild images of camel wrestling in my mind. Do you have any photos!

  10. @ Jenny: It’s really good. You’ll just have to trust us on that one. 😉 We took lots of photos when we went last year and posted those but we’ll be posting some more today and tomorrow.

  11. Sounds amazing. Would love to try that.

  12. @ Rosemary: It’s a great day out and something everyone should see. We were unsure last year but so glad we went.

  13. I haven’t heard camel sucuk before but it sounds appetizing as you sad. Bon apetit to you guys!

  14. @Turkish Cuisine: Mmmm, it was sooo nice. Although the goose in your blog looked so lovely as well! 🙂

  15. I never tasted camel meat before or even camel milk, would love to try one day. Camel wrestling season seems pretty exciting

  16. @ Sarah: No, we’ve never tasted camel milk either. Wonder if it tastes really different? The sucuk was lovely and we’re curious as to what a steak would taste like. The camel wrestling was good – funny because they don’t want to fight, most of them so not a lot happens. 🙂

  17. found out of a company making chocolate out of camel milk; is camel going to be the next “in” meat?

  18. One hump or two? 😉

  19. found camel sausage and camel kafta at the supermarket in Juffair, Bahrain. Both were excellent

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