My job took me this week to the Turkish city of Bursa (pop. 2 million, the country’s fourth biggest city). My friend Sam, whose wife Basak is Turkish, told me to make sure I was taken to the original Iskender kebab house, for which Bursa is famous.
I’m not sure whether it was the original Iskender’s we visited, but it was definitely part of the family business.
The business was founded in 1867 and has been kept in the family ever since. There are “Iskander” kebab shops to be found in many cities around the world, including Dublin, but they’re a pale imitation of the original. The restaurant we visited is located in the Botanic Gardens, next to the city zoo.
The meat looks quite different from what you see on the stick at your average city kebab shop in Amsterdam, Geneva, Dublin, etc. Tender, succulent, good quality meat.
It’s served on a plate, with the meat piled up on top of fingers of pitta bread, a tomato sauce and creamy yogurt.
But what makes it really special is the hot, melted butter they pour over the meat just before you eat it.
Empty plate, full stomach, happy customer.
And, of course, followed by a çay, the tea that seems to appear magically whenever you sit down to chat with a Turkish host.
Thanks for the tip Sam – definitely the best kebab I’ve ever eaten, and one of the tastiest meals I’ve had in a long time.