Eating In Eskişehir: Çibörek Or Çiğ Börek; It Still Tastes The Same

Before we set off on the first leg of this year’s Turkey travels, we asked people on our Facebook page if there was any special food we shouldn’t miss while we were in Eskişehir.

For us, visiting a new place is as much about the food as it is the scenery. In Izmir, we loved the Turkish street food such as sögüş and nohutlu pilav and the Turkish Coffee – so we knew there must be something we could test our taste buds with in Ekişehir. Well, whoever we asked, and wherever we asked, the overwhelming reply we got was, “You must try Tatar food – çibörek.”

Eskişehir, Odunpazarı

Tatar Kültür Evi in Odunpazarı, Eskişehir

Of course, the first thought that sprung from that was, why has Eskişehir got Tatar food? A bit of research told us the Tatar people are originally from the Crimea and, according to the International Committee For Crimea, for various reasons, many have migrated southwards to Turkey over the centuries since the 1700s. Eskişehir and Polatlı, close to Ankara, still have concentrations of Tatar people today. Official population numbers are unclear.

Çibörek At The Kırım Tatar Culture House In Eskişehir

So, as we were wandering around Eskişehir’s Ottoman houses in the old city of Odunpazarı, we happened upon the Kırım Tatar Kültür Evi (Kırım Tatar Culture House)…and they were advertising their homemade çibörek. Odunpazarı is arguably Eskişehir’s prime tourist centre, especially for domestic tourists, so we may well have paid way over the odds for our special börek, but why not enjoy a bit of indulgence from time to time? Çibörek is a Tatar dish, we were face to face with a Tatar Culture House; what else were we going to do? ıt would have been such a waste not to take advantage of our situation.

Turkish Food - Çiğ Börek in Eskişehir

Our serving of çiğ börek at the Tatar Culture House in Eskişehir

We’d never seen çibörek before so we sat down and confidently ordered iki tane (two of), expecting two çibörek to appear… And then we wondered what we’d let ourselves in for when the guy who served us walked off shouting ‘iki porsyon’ (two portions) to the lady who was cooking inside. Ayran and Antep Ezmesi were delivered and then a few minutes later, our iki porsyon of çibörek appeared.

And let us just say right now: if you’re in Eskişehir’s Odunpazarı at the Kırım Tatar Culture House and you’re not that hungry (we’d only finished breakfast a couple of hours before), and you’re only trying çibörek out of curiosity, one portion between the two of you is enough!

One portion of çibörek is five individual börek – we took our time ploughing through these, we can tell you. We didn’t want the people thinking we didn’t like their food. And there were other customers there who didn’t seem too perplexed by the size of the their lunch – guess they already knew better than we did. Afterwards, photos we saw in other börek places advertising their çibörek also showed an image of a plate with five pieces. The people of Eskişehir have no shortage of börek establishments to choose from so photos of çibörek portions were plentiful.

Turkish Food - Çiğ Börek in Eskişehir

Çiğ börek and Antep Ezmesi go really well together

And the çibörek verdict? It’s definitely worth trying – all local foods are definitely worth trying, wherever you may be. Neither of us fell in love with it but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good. Both the meat and the pastry were so light – apparently, getting the pastry like this is a special skill. – but it’s just so hard to top many of the fantastic foods we’ve eaten in Turkey over the years.

Çibörek is a thin layer of boiled, flattened minced meat (tastier than it sounds) encased in a lightly fried, thin casing of yufka (a slightly thicker type of phyllo pastry) and, aside from the serving of Antep Ezmesi, that’s about it. The pastry fills with air, puffing the börek to a size that makes them look more filling than they actually are, but a light tap to flatten them makes them look more approachable and easier to tackle.

Eskişehir And Çibörek

  • Eskişehir has many börek places to choose from throughout the city, some of them specialising purely in çibörek. Expect to see it written as either ‘çiğ börek’ or ‘çibörek.’ They are the same dish.
  • We ate çibörek at the Kırım Tatar Kültür Evi in Odunpazarı.
  • The Kırım Tatar Kültür Evi is on Şeyh Şemsettin Sokak. You can also visit the traditional Tatar house set up on the same site.
  • Update: Since writing this post, we have had commercially produced çibörek at different restaurants and we can definitely say the Tatar version in Eskişehir by far outdoes these – it’s the especially light pastry that does it! 

    Have you ever tried çibörek? Is it a thumbs up or a thumbs down for you?

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Comments

  1. Looks really good!

  2. Merhaba Julia,
    I do like the look of those ciborek!! I had some in Istanbul – I am hoping a good copy of it – and that was lovely; it wouldn’t be something I would like to eat all the time but once in a while, I sure it would go down very well. Looks like you had a great trip, look forward to more photos! Ozlem x

  3. @ April: It was good – wish we hadn’t had such a huge breakfast before trying it though. 🙂

  4. @ Ozlem’s Turkish Table: That’s the problem when you try something for the first time. You never know if you got the real deal. Assuming our çibörek was authentic. 🙂

  5. That sounds delicious! Like a flat version of the Russian peroshkis I adore. 🙂

  6. @ Rambling Tart: Interesting because the Tatar people are from that same area so it looks like the recipes are similar. The çiğ börek flattened as soon as you touched it so maybe the recipes are VERY similar. 🙂

  7. I can assure you any çibörek you had in Eskisehir is better than you find in Istanbul.
    As I know Russian versions has yeast, but çibörek does not contain yeast and the beef in it is more juicy. If you visit Eskisehir in winter try “boza” (fermented wheat drink) and tahini halva of Sefiller shop which you can find at downtown çarşı. This helva is nothing like you find in supermarkets.

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