What Is? Pastirma

Pastirma, is a dried cut of beef coated with red pepper paste and garlic powder.

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.

This dried meat is tasty on pide, especially at Mavi Haliç Pıdecesi, or Hoca Paşa Pıdecesi on Hoca Paşa street.

A good place to buy, sample, and even enjoy a meal of, pastirma, is  Namlı Pastırmacı here is a map:

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