11 April, 2010

İstanbul, day 3: Ortaköy - anatomy of a kumpir

I hadn't researched all the destinations on Ege's list - for example, “eat kümpir in Ortaköy” (what? where?). Thus it was a pleasant surprise as i approached the first Bosphorus bridge, getting rather hungry, to find myself in Ortaköy (literally, "middle village") surrounded by kümpir joints. The idea is simple: take a baked potato, cut in butter and cheese, and then stuff it with any and every thing you can imagine. Corn. Olives. Cabbage. Russian Salad. Couscous. Pickles. Anything. Stalls fill an awning-covered row, side by side, no elbow room. The local cafes serve it too. One massive kümpir costs between eight and ten lira, and will more than fill you up. I couldn't finish mine.


Kümpir crossed off the list, i wandered towards the bridge hoping for a better view, but none was to be found. At least the Golden Gate, and even the Penobscot Narrows, have an observatory. Footsore, i caught a bus north, but along the Bosphorus, traffic is a single lane crawl each way. On a Saturday afternoon, the bus was standing room only, and with a headache i disbarked to resume my journey on foot.