There are wonderful foods available in Istanbul, among them, kaymak (a double-double cream), pastirma (dried spiced meat, a relative of pastrami and prosciutto), olives and figs and hazelnuts to mention but a few. And excellent restaurants full of mezze and kebabs and baklava.
But no cilantro, no sour cream (or fresh non UHT cream for that matter), no hominy, no kale or bok choy, and the list goes on. Not to mention the utter dearth of non-Turkish restaurants.
What’s a foodie to do? Yes, I believe in eating local. Yes, I support the nascent organic movement here. But I note that many if not most fervent locavores live in locations of super-abundance and variety, and when they’ve eaten beets from their local farm cooperative delivery box for the umpteenth time by late January, the local Thai (all-organic of course) is just a phone call away. Not so for the rest of us.
This page is thus a chronicle of my adventures of locating (growing, substituting, suitcasing) ingredients and preparing otherwise unfindable foods.