Lynn and I recently spent a couple of weeks in Turkey. I had spent some nine months there in the late 70s-early 80s. Turkey has some of the best food in the world and there will be a number of posts about the trip. Let’s start with Turkish pides, what I call their pizzas. You can read about Kuwaiti “pizzas,” here.
Pide place next door to Urkmez Hotel, Selcuk, Turkey
Five Maudies – highly recommended
This restaurant is typical of the pide places we went to in Turkey. For the life of me, I can’t remember the name, but it is right next door to the Urkmez Hotel where we stayed in Selcuk. I’ve never had a bad pide and they are pretty darn consistent between towns and restaurants, although specific styles vary a bit. Some are thinner than others, some have more of a dough fold-over than others, etc. I remember buying pides from an old lady using a clay oven on a village street corner 30 years ago. Those were unreal, and so are the pides at this restaurant.
This was a simple place, with entrances on both sides of the streets on either side. This was a narrow block and most of the restaurants, stores, and our hotel, covered its entire width. Inside were simple tables and chairs, a TV tuned to an Islamic station, and Islamic calligraphy posters on the walls. It looked like this place has been here a while. In the center was the oven, this one wood charcoal fired, and pide making station. There were charred hot peppers, onions and tomatoes that were used as garnish for each dish. Other than than, all you could get was a pide, with a wide variety of toppings available.
Compared to the Kuwaiti manakish, Turkish pides are more oblong, have a thinner and not quite as crispy crust, except around the edges, where the dough is doubled over. They are inexpensive, filling, and very tasty. You
can get a variety of toppings, just like in Kuwait. If I had to choose, I would say I like the pide better than the manakish, but they really shouldn’t be compared.
The typical pide has a thin spread of very finely minced meat, typically lamb, with some herb, peppers, and fat or oil. Also common are vegetable toppings like peppers, tomatoes, onions, olives, and cheese. There are plenty of other toppings, as well, including spinach and egg. The first time we ate these pides, I went out to get some borek (Turkish savory pastries) and it was too late in the day. The borek place was out, these things sell like hotcakes in the morning. I was hunting for lunch. So, I went across the street to the pide restaurant. I ordered Lynn a vegetable pide and myself the standard minced meat. Now, Lynn is not a big meat eater, hence me ordering her the veggie. But, when she tasted the minced meat pide, she liked that one so much she ate almost all of mine.
You can always find a Pide Salonu in any Turkish town.