From Is­tan­bul With Love

Berlin’s size­able Turk­ish pop­u­la­tion has be­stowed the cap­i­tal with a wealth of food, cul­ture, and street life to dis­cover, Hilda Hoy found.

Where Berlin - - CONTENTS - BY HILDA HOY

No need to go far for the sen­sa­tional tastes and col­ors of Turkey.

Var­i­ous waves of mi­gra­tion have left in­deli­ble im­prints on Berlin through­out his­tory, but one of the most sig­nif­i­cant is surely the Turk­ish. Fac­ing a la­bor short­age in its post-WWII eco­nomic boom, West Ger­many ne­go­ti­ated a treaty with Turkey in 1961, and over the next sev­eral decades, Turk­ish mi­grant work­ers came in droves. Many ended up stay­ing and, to­day, there are ap­prox­i­mately three mil­lion peo­ple liv­ing in Ger­many with Turk­ish roots – the largest eth­nic mi­nor­ity in the coun­try. About six per­cent of Berlin’s pop­u­la­tion can claim Turk­ish de­scent.

One en­dur­ingly vi­brant epi­cen­ter of Turk­ish cul­ture is Kreuzberg, in the neigh­bor­hood ra­di­at­ing out­ward from Kot­tbusser Tor. The best way to ex­pe­ri­ence this her­itage, nat­u­rally, is by eat­ing, and there are plenty of op­tions. Hasir (Adal­bert­str. 10–12, www.hasir. de) is renowned for be­ing the birth­place of the now-ubiq­ui­tous döner ke­bab sand­wich, but it faces plenty of stiff lo­cal com­pe­ti­tion for good nosh­ing. Nearby Doyum (Ad­mi­ral­str. 36, www.doyum-res­tau­rant.de) makes some of the best Adana ke­bab (spicy ground lamb skew­ers with rice and salad) around, while

Adana Grill­haus (Man­teuf­fel­str. 86, www. 2 adana­grill­haus.de) is fa­mous for its suc­cu­lent grilled lamb chops. Wher­ever you dine, try a glass of cold, creamy ayran, a salty yo­gurt drink.

Work off the meal by tak­ing a stroll through the twice-weekly mar­ket on May­bachufer, com­monly re­ferred to as the “Turk­ish

mar­ket.” Ev­ery Tues­day and Fri­day from 11:30am–6:30pm, lo­cals flock to the banks of the Landwehr Canal to score bar­gains on fresh pro­duce, olives, cheese, bread, and spices. For a snack and some peo­ple-watch­ing, make a stop at Smyrna Ku­ruyemis (Oranien­str. 27), where you can sip strong black tea and nib­ble on freshly roasted sun­flower seeds or Turk­ish de­light as you watch the street life on one of the neigh­bor­hood’s main ar­ter­ies. Or head down busy Kot­tbusser Damm to La Femme (No. 77), which makes deca­dent sweets as well as kum­pir, but­tery baked pota­toes with a mind-bog­gling range of top­pings. La Femme is also a spot for Turk­ish break­fasts of simit (chewy bread rings coated in sesame) and men­e­men (scram­bled eggs with onion and to­mato). Give the body a lit­tle TLC af­ter all the glut­tony at the hamam, or Turk­ish bath­house, at Kreuzberg’s Schoko­fab­rik women’s cen­ter (Mar­i­an­nen­str. 6, www. hamam­ber­lin.de). The tra­di­tional ex­fo­li­a­tion and soap mas­sage treat­ments will leave you feel­ing like new – but sorry, gents, this one’s for ladies only.

Turk­ish cui­sine is de­fined by a va­ri­ety of meat-based dishes, fried veg­eta­bles, olives, lots of Mediter­ranean spices and gar­lic, yo­gurt, sheep cheeses, and de­li­cious hon­ey­dipped pas­tries.

Left: Turk­ish tiles. Above: one of Berlin’s many ke­bab shops; This im­age: strong black tea, Turk­ish style; Right: chicken ke­bab on its spit.

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