Dear readers: Upon recent consultation with my calendar, I have come to the sad realization that I am leaving Turkey soon and have only posted 2, I repeat TWO, blog posts about this phenomenal country. I’ve been so busy with my camp job (more on that later) and traveling/exploring Turkey, that I haven’t been able to breathe! Now that things are winding down a little, I’ve decided to become a more faithful blogger, so I’m going to start a feature on (vegetarian) Turkish food. I’ve tried so much delicious and eclectic food here and I’d like to share it with you.
Turkish Food of the Week #1: Kumpir (koom-peer)
This popular Turkish street food may come as a welcome surprise to many, especially American ex-pats craving comfort food (like yours truly). Kumpir is a baked potato, cut straight down the middle and filled with delicious toppings that you get to choose. The potato is baked in an oven and the insides are mixed and mashed with unsalted butter and kaşar cheese (made from sheep’s milk). Once the insides are fully prepared, you get to fill your baked potato with various vegetable and meat options, such as: pickles, beets, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, mushrooms, Russian salad, corn and sausage. It is then topped with ketchup and/or mayonnaise and ready to eat!
You can find kumpir all over Istanbul and Turkey, but the most famous spot is the Ortaköy neighborhood of Istanbul. Just look for any of the small stands or restaurants that say kumpir and decide on your toppings!
Kumpir usually costs between 8,50 TL-15TL (approximately $4.25-$7.50 at time of publishing). Not bad for a filling and healthy lunch!