The Humble Sīmīt.

DSCN7092

Sīmīt are everywhere in Istanbul. Simple, sesame-encrusted bread rings. Some call them the Turkish bagel. Sold from stationary red-painted government-owned carts, and from men who roam, swirling them on a stick, carrying them in baskets, setting them down on makeshift trestle-tables, or balancing them niftily in wicker trays on their heads – they are impossible to escape. Arranged in impressive towers and pyramids, the jengo blocks of the fast-food world. In every tea garden the sïmit men pace, shouting ‘sïmit, sïmit, sïmit’…. although the words run together and are unintelligible to us.

Sïmit is the go-to snack for everyone on the move – kids chew on them in pushchairs, and adults nibble on them on the ferries. They can be smeared with Nutella, or softcheese triangles from fiddly tinfoil wrappers, or enjoyed ‘au naturel’.

But sïmit is best eaten fresh. (Maybe that’s why I’ve seen them thrown to dogs and seagulls). When we bought them in the Pierre Loti Cafe, Jim mumbled that it was like chewing on a rubber tyre. So the Galata Sīmītçïsï Sīmīt shop was a godsend. I walked in on a sïmit production line, sïmit everywhere; Emir arranging them just so on the longest paddle I’ve ever seen, shoving them in and out of the oven. He’s been doing it for twenty years. They were still warm when we tasted them, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. Delicious. And just one Turkish lira!

DSCN8720

DSCN8117

DSCN7970

DSCN7426

DSCN8084

DSCN7786

DSCN7728

DSCN6922

DSCN7475

Galata Sīmītçïsï Sīmīt. Mumhane Caddesi 47. Opens 06.00! There are a few tables and chairs on the pavement outside, and you can also buy tea and coffee.

 

11 thoughts on “The Humble Sīmīt.

  1. Oh those were DELICIOUS!!! We too had them fresh and hot and thought of them as the Turkish version of a bagel, for sure. Loved em. Thanks for making me crave those now big time ahaha.

    So well written and love the photos. Really nice collection.

    Peta

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s