Simit – a must taste Turkish food
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Simit – a must taste Turkish food   


     The most popular and traditional street food in Turkey is called Simit.

Everyone falls in love with this tasty treat, eventually. It is actually a ring of bread, covered with sesame seeds, and sometimes cooked, sometimes just baked.

Simit is a local treat in all Turkey, but in Istanbul, you can buy it on every corner, and it has been present on streets for decades.
  Simit can be as mentioned, baked as bread, or cooked, which makes it even crunchier and tasty. It can also be covered with cheese or in a modern version, with ham. Simit is also often made in corner bakeries, and sold afterwards in kiosks in front. You will notice people selling them, very easily; they either have simit on a tray, or around their hand, like a bracelet.

People who come to Turkey for the first time love to watch these salesmen, because their working day often becomes a performance. They take simit and throw it around, dance with it, and often receive an applause, and ovation. They are also one of Istanbul’s most photographed sites, by tourists of course.

Once you see a simit, you will probably think that it is a sweet, but it is not. Turkish people actually rarely eat sweet food, and if they do, it is mostly as snacks. Simit tastes like a very fine pastry, like a better version of bread, for instance.

Simit is originally traditional food, and the recipe is very old, and was in the past kept secret. That is why it was prestigious to make it “the original way”, and Safranbolu and Kastamonu bakeries were famous for doing it properly. When you make this food, you must follow certain rules and recipes, like Galata bakeries, and ones in Samatya and Beylerbeyi. They know the right way of making a perfect simit, with excellent combination of water, milk, yeast, sugar and of course – flour. Once the dough rises, you make rings out of it, and then patiently dip them one by one, into grape molasses and (always) into seeds of sesame. Like the old bakers say, simit needs to be baked, until it gets a perfect gold colour, and all sesame seeds turn light brown.

As we mentioned, simit is a huge part of Turkish tradition. Simit is even mentioned in memoires of Evliya Celebi who stated in his famous book, that Turkey had 70 simit bakeries in Istanbul solo, where almost 300 bakers worked on producing this fantastic deli. All these bakeries (all 70) become part of new association “Bread and Pastry Bakers” formed in 1910.

Ugur Koktas, famous Turkish researcher, stated in his book about history of Turkey and lifestyle of Turks, that in the past simit sellers usually bought freshly prepared pastry in these bakeries, and took them to different further parts of city to sell them there (because these districts didn’t have their own simit bakeries nearby).

In the afternoon, when people were getting home from work, simit sellers were carrying their food on a long stick, with a lantern in the end, trying to draw customers to their selling stations. Of course, hungry workers always gladly bought simit, even after a long day, because it was so tasty you could eat it few times a day, easily.

Even today, in a modern Turkey, people often don’t have enough time for breakfast in the morning, and they buy fresh simit on their way to work. When you stroll around the city, you will notice how many passers buy eat simits, and drink yoghurt as a perfect addition to this tasty pastry. With new municipal laws, sellers who deliver food, have the obligation to stor it under a glass tray, so you will rarely see a real simit seller who carries them around on an open trey on their head, or as a bracelet.

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