There are lots of things I miss about Istanbul. The fresh produce which is incomparable to any fruits and vegetables I have had anywhere else in the world, the stunning views of the sea or the Bosporus or the medieval cityscapes depending on your particular vantage point in the city, the pitch perfect grilled levrek that can be found in a host of back alley lokantas and meyhanes…but the single thing that I long for the most is a proper Turkish simit. I used to eat three or four a day – one or two on my way to catch the bus in Taksim, another mid-morning in Bebek, another one at lunch time, and sometimes a final one on my way back home to Cihangir if there were any simit vendors still hanging around. Despite the fact that they probably all come from the same handful of central bakeries, there were some vendors that always had fresher and superior tasting simits. I made sure to grab my morning simit from the guy selling them on the corner of the driveway in front of the Alman Hastanesi on Sıraselviler Caddesi because the insides of his simits were pillow soft. I also made a trip to the Eminönü docks whenever I found myself in Sultanahmet because, against all odds given that it is a tourist trap, the simit guy right outside the gate for the TurYol ferry always had a great batch. Such a simple thing, and yet such a reminder that the U.S. does not have a street food bread culture that compares. In any event, this bout of nostalgic reminiscence was prompted by a story in Zaman that a body called the Istanbul Simit Tradesmen Chamber is seeking an international patent for the simit in an effort to prevent those devious Greeks from stealing another Turkish national culinary treasure. I fully support this move; it is time to grant the simit the international glory that it so justly deserves!
If I could mail you some, I would. And I know exactly what eminonu guy you’re talking about- transcendental!