Strolling through the streets of Istanbul, it is impossible to miss the warm, buttery aroma and seductive window displays of börek shops strategically tucked into nooks and crannies all over the city. Börek are savory pastries fashioned from flour, water and salt doughs of varying thicknesses, resembling anything from thin filo sheets to thick egg noodles. These light, flakey pies can be found stuffed with meat, cheese, potato, herbs, mixed fillings or nothing at all. The fundamental focus is on the butter slathered layers formed into a myriad of shapes from squares, rounds, crescents, cigars, to whatever a baker can dream up.
Börek may be boiled, baked, sautéed or fried and half the fun is sampling as many versions as possible to find a favorite.
At Ça?da? Börek, on a corner across Taxim Square from Istiklal Caddesi, we sampled meat, cheese and potato börek, finding them all light, flakey and just the slightest touch greasy. Our favorites were the beef and potato, both packing a flavor punch of spices we wish the more mellow cheese bundles carried.
The unfilled börek look like hot crossed buns,
or big slabs that are cut into long slices with the help of a wooden measuring tool. Both are served with packets of powdered sugar.
The protocol is to dip the unencumbered, warm layers into a mound of sweet, soft, sugar dust, turning each bite into a habit forming, melt in your mouth, fluff of Ottoman Empire culinary history.
Börek are usually served for breakfast, but are available all day and late into the evening at a myriad of brightly lit shops all over Istanbul. Don’t hesitate to take the edge off your hunger with this savory or sweet snack regarded as one of the national treasures of Turkey.
Ça?da? Börek Merkez-Tarlabasi Cd No. 20 A,Taksim-IST(0212) 237 67 41
Ça?da? Börek Istasyon Cad. No. 7/B, Yesilkoy/IST (0212) 663 32 47
Ça?da? Börek Sipahiglu Cad. No. 5/B Yesilyurt/IST (0212) 662 99 69
Ça?da? Börek Cekmece Cad. No. 4/1 Florya/IST (0212) 580 80 64
For börek in West Los Angeles try:
Aroma Cafe, 2530 Overland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90064
Phone – 310-836-2919