Lokumlar or turkish delight

If you go to Istanbul or Turkey in general this is the thing you have to eat and bring home!
We been told to buy it at Keseklers shop outside the spicemarket. They are supposed to do the best. Don't buy the little square ones buy the whole rolls, they are just delicious!
It's a pomegranate molasses with pistachio nuts - totally adictive!
And if you stop at Keseklers don't forget to buy pistachios (buy the most expensive ones they are worth it) and some sumac.

Shopping at Keseklers is quite a happening tough :

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Culinary travels to istanbul

I spent a prolonged weekend in Istanbul ( luckily before the unrest thats happening now ). It was my first time there so I didn't really know what to expect food wise.

My first very positive encounter with turkish food came after my first 5 steps into the city. I arrived hungry at the airport (no veggie dish on the plane) On the 1h bus ride into town I got very hungry and realized that I would not make it  to the apartment we had rented, without eating something. Luckily in Istanbul on every corner you'll find a man selling sesame Pretzels called Simit. So first thing after I stepped out of the bus was to buy one of these Pretzels which the man wrapped into a lovely pink silk paper with tiny flowers on it. The perfect start into a unknown city!

I knew about the Köfte and Kebab but what I did not know was that they have this Meze - a selection of food served as the appetizer -  tradition. Meze are mainly vegetarian and there are a lot of restaurants serving Meze and Raki. They come in all forms, from salad like dishes to pastes and grilled vegetables and salty cheese.
There's dishes like Acılı ezme – hot spicy freshly mashed tomato with onion and green herbs, Acuka (also known as Muhammara) – a spread having both Circassian and Syrian origins, prepared with from Aleppo pepper paste, ground walnuts, tomato paste, breadcrumbs, garlic, and spices, Cacık – cucumber with yogurt, dried mint and olive oil, Fava – broad/horse bean puree, Çoban salatası – a mixed salad of tomato, cucumber, onion, green peppers, and parsley that you can find on almost all Meze menus.

Another thing I did not know is that Turkey produces many varieties of cheese, mostly from sheep's milk. Some are like feta cheese dense and salty, others more like Mozzarella or fresh goats cheese. The turkish do lovely rich breakfasts that include many different varieties of cheese (even grilled cheese is usually served). Salty pastries, bread, jam and honey and salad are also part of a turkish breakfast.
Sitting outside in the narrow streets of Galata or Cihangir neighbourhood eating one of these breakfasts is the perfect way to start the day in Istanbul.

A lovely thing I am determined to learn is the so called Gözleme sort of a crepe made of lavash bread or phyllo dough folded around a variety of fillings such as spinach, cheese and parsley, minced meat or potatoes.

Istanbul is a huge city and with close to 20 million residents the 4th most populous city of the world. There's a lot to do and see. We spent days just walking. I can't remember ever having had more blisters on my feet. Good thing there's plenty of stalls selling fresh orange, pomegranate or grapefruit juices and of course theres the chai (turkish black tea you get wherever you stop).

My biggest culinary discovery though was lokum or as it's also called "turkish delight". I've had it before but non of it comes close to the lokum we tasted in the streets of Istanbul - a real delight! But more on this in the next post.

4 days is never enough to discover this beautiful city but here's some tips :

1. Take a walk through the city with the people from istanbul-tourist-information.com
2. Rent an apartment so you have a nice place to stay when you need to get away from the hustle and bustle
3. Don't stay in Sultanahmet region. It's way to touristic. We liked the Galata and Cihangir area.
4. Do visit a hamam (but take on of the smaller ones. We went to )
5. Stay at least 4 nights this city need some time

And here the list of restaurants and food places we really liked:

1. Doga Balik fish restaurant  (reservation recommended)
2. Peymane meze and raki restaurant (reservation recommended)
3. Cafe Privato (best Breakfast in town )
4. Dinner at Açık Mutfak
5. Have a drink at Lebideria and enjoy the view
6. Buy plenty of  Lokum at Keseklers shop outside the spicemarket

Two more things I have to recommend:

Buy this record from our favorite label Honest Jon's:

And watch "Crossing the bridge: The sound of Istanbul" by Faith Akin.

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Belgrade Market

It's become some sort of tradition with us to spend new year in Belgrade. We come here since 10 years now . It's been tremendously interesting to see this city change over the past years. From the dark bombed city to the city it is today.
A good spot to observe this transformation is the market, back in 2002 one could hardly buy anything except cabbage, potatoes, carrots and paprika.
I love strolling over a local market and discover the local specialities, if you are into pickled vegetables you should definitely visit this market.

Here you can see more of my  Belgrade market pictures.

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Marché des enfants rouges

This is the first time I'll blog about restaurants or shops here but I try to get rid of one too many blog and this would mean
recommendations for restaurants and such would have to find a new home here. Probably not the worst idea.

So let's start with le marché des enfants rouges.
I come to paris twice a year to work and I hardly have time to discover new things. Luckily this time kevin came along and he discovered this covered market which I learned id the oldest in paris. Built in 1615 under Louis XIII. The rather strange name is said to come from an orphanage which was next to it where the children wore red uniforms.

We went there on a sunday morning and I immediately fell in love with it. The marché is almost secretly nested in a backyard, in the first part one finds lovely fruit , flowers and fish stands. But the real discovery were the stalls you can find further back in the market. Little food stalls that sell proper menus or a combination of products and take a way food. Theres big tables and benches everywhere and you can also sit down and eat you lunch or dinner right there.
I felt a bit like in an asian street kitchen only that we could choose between moroccan, libyan, japanese italian or french for lunch. The decision was difficult every thing looked so tempting.

Le Marche des Enfants Rouges
39 rue de Bretagne
Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday:  8:30-1PM and 4PM-7: 30PM
Friday, Saturday- 8h30AM-1PM and 4PM-8PM
Sunday: 8:30AM–2PM
Metro: Filles- Calvaire or Temple

I've learnt theres a very nice community garden called " le pottage des oiseaux" next to it if you have time to visit check the website jardinons-ensemble.org

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Vietnamese Markets - a feast for the eyes



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Vietnamese Street kitchens

The reason why it's been so quiet around here is because we were traveling through vietnam for the last six weeks.
The vietnamese kitchen is one of my favorites, I love phơ the light and very fragrant soup you get at every corner, he way they use all these different fresh herbs, the hot pots and crabs ... heaven !
Ever since I first visited hanoi I fell in love with the many street kitchens but I always hesitated a bit to eat on the street. Foremost because we don't eat meat. This time we were determined to try all the little street kitchens. With hands to point at stuff and a little note book with all the important food words noted, it turned out not to difficult to avoid all the meat. Of course we made an exception for the chicken stock used in all the delicious soups.

Some of these kitchens are not bigger than a little fire pot, a pan and some plates and bottles, some are portable - others are only late at night and some are  just for the workers at a building site. Sometimes we wondered if vietnamese people cook at home-  it seems they all eat on the streets.

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bali report

Welcome to Bali where the swell is good and the food is cheap and tasty!!!!!

Snapper BBQ  with pimiento lemongrass sauce.

Squid indian oignons. 

coffee or cacao ?

On the way to Ubud the capital of art and food

Spring rolls ,crab cake and randang with white and red rice + a delicious passionfruit tiramisu (sorry,forgot to take picture), everything with the beer for 30sfr. For there its really expensive but it was a incredible restaurant.

Bumbu Bali is one of the best restaurant for balinese food and the chef cook is a suisse guy :) Heinz von Holzen.

Green papaya salade whit shrimps and other stuff.

Randang and squid curry

Snapper in banana leaf with fresh coco, ginger and lemongrass with a chicken lemongrass.

Ku-de-ta is a very styled bar lounge and restaurant in the front of the beach in seminyak. very design and good food.

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Japanese food culture

All you fans of Japanes food and culture: don't miss this great post by Sooishi!
-> sooishi.blogspot.com
japanese chiffon cake photo by sooishi

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more food report from jp ;)


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food report from jp


bamboo + seaweed

NIKUMAN - steamed stuffed meat. similar to dampling

HAMO Oshi Zushi - hamo : like eel from the sea

Unagi donburi - Unagi is eel

Kakiage tempura

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