Tag Archives: barbun

The Barbun Challenge

11 Feb

Over my years in Istanbul I’ve fallen in love with balik (fish) restaurants.  Ask anyone what goes with balik and you’ll hear the word raki; the delicious national drink of Turkey.  I had to break-up with raki while I was pregnant but one week ago we met again. I missed raki and I think raki missed me too. It’s said two people strangers are no longer after a glass or two, or three of raki.

On Friday we went to my favorite area for fish; the Besiktas Balik Pazari.  Fish restaurants surround a small bazar where you can find fresh fish and produce.  It’s one of those places in the movies where two people fall in love.  Yes it’s that picturesque!

Credit: The Guide Istanbul

Here are the steps to a successful evening at a fish restaurant:

1) Sit down and order your preferred bottle of raki.  One large bottle for four people should be sufficient.

2) Select your cold mezes (small plates) I suggest a variety: eggplant, marinated sea bass, octopus salad, a yogurt dip, rice stuffed clams, spicy tomato salsa, ect.

3) Start drinking your raki!!!!!

4) After stuffing yourself with cold mezes, order your hot mezes.  I enjoy calamari or prawns in butter.

5) Drink raki while you contemplate if you’ve left enough room for the fish course.

6) Order your fish.  By this time I’m usually stuffed full of bread and raki, and in a near meze coma we order fish for the table.  My favorite is sea bass, but red mullet (barbun) is starting to grow on me.

Hey there little fish

Hey there little fish

Barbun is a small fish.  They are fried and served WHOLE.  There is nothing like your food staring you in the eye.   My one challenge is getting the yummy meat from the barbun without getting bones or head.  As a novice I’d use my fork and knife  ended up with a pea sized amount of meat on my fork.  Last Friday I finally mastered the most effective way to eat barbun.  I’ll use my video and not my words to explain it all!

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