Namlı is one of a dozen tiny delis crowded into the Sirkeci district, where you can shop or eat a small meal. As in other parts of the world, the deli specializes in fine meats, cheeses, and appetizers. Food is shelled out by the kilo or on a plate upstairs in the dinning room. None of these points are remarkable in themselves but when combined, and with the highest possible quality, they make this shop infamous, as its name, Namlı Pastırmacı (notorious pastrami seller), suggests.
Pastırma is a form of Turkish cured meat with exceptional flavor, a delicate texture, and a lingering taste. The predecessor to the Italian pastrami, this delicacy originated before the Byzantine times, in the East of Turkey in the town of Kayseri where it is still produced today. The story of its invention has to do with meat being pressed, bastırmak in Turkish, by the legs of horsemen as they rode with sides of meat hanging from their saddles. Today, shanks of beef are cut from domestically grown beef, and dry cured in the fresh air for a couple days. Next, the meat is covered in a paste called çemen, which is made from garlic, fenugreek seeds, and red peppers, and left to cure for another couple days. Connoisseurs will tell you that if your pastirma is cut with a machine, as opposed to a hand knife, it is inferior. Believe what you will.
The lengthy production process makes for a pricey treat, but it’s well worth the liras.
The dairy selection is diverse, including those rare imported cheeses like cheddar, gouda, emmental, and mozzarella.
Mezes (appetizers & dips) all look wonderful to my eye but unfortunately I have not had the opportunity to personally sample a sufficient cross-section to confirm or deny their flavor quality.
Stop by this shop just outside the Spice Bazaar for a pastırma or sucuk sandwich, or to buy all the supplies for a picnic by the seaside.
- Don’t Miss: Grilled sucuk sandwich
- Best Perk: Top quality meat and cheese
- Average Price: Lunch: 7tl