07 August 2007

1854) Mosaic Cuisine Meets A Mosaic Of Customers

 This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians  Site ©  The Pangaltı restaurant brings together Turkey’s colorful culinary tapestry, a kaleidoscope that has cross-fertilized for hundreds of years. Armenian pies; Jewish dishes; Greek cakes and Turkish kebabs all feature on the menu. . .

Only them? Well, this restaurant has become a meeting point for foreigners in İstanbul, minorities living in İstanbul and Turks.

Chef Mehmet Uzunöz created the restaurant’s menu from colors of İstanbul mosaic. The gourmet magnet restaurant got its name from the part of the city in which it is located. Historically, Pangaltı was inhabited by Armenians, Greeks and Levantines. The spot where Ramada Plaza was built used to host a teagarden where the various peoples used to meet, a tradition taken on by the new hotel. This history was a factor in Uzunöz’s choice: the menu reflects the area’s character, a little like İstanbul itself.

Akabi yaya (grandmother) pie is made by Greek women for their grandchildren when they come for holidays, while topi is made by İstanbulu Armenians for holy days and weddings; Turkish rump of lamb wrapped in ‘pazı’ (Beta vulgaris cicla) and chicken and kebabs with artichokes and honey-nuts from Mediterranean region, are just a few examples ofUzunöz’s eclectic cuisine.

The menu dubbed ‘mosaic cuisine’ by Uzunöz is a true reflection of an intercultural dialogue. In reality, the foods are often familiar, for example, what Armenians eat will be well know to natives of Tokat, while some of the Greek items would be at home on a standard Turkish dining table. Commenting on this, Uzunöz said, “When you live in the same land the cultures tend to blend.”

Uzunöz uncovered this culinary mix by studying old cookbooks and talking to old people across the city. Many of the meals were tested on local residents before they made it onto his menu, the tasters often praised the food as evoking childhood memories. Some residents are so impressed that they now order hard to prepare items for home.

Pancaltı, is located inside the Ramada Plaza.



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