Kokoreç: My Lamb Intestine Experience

Well I just found out that a meal that Sydney and I thoroughly enjoyed in Istanbul was stuffed lamb intestines. And the stuffing was probably sweetbread. I guess ignorance really can be bliss.

After a tiring walk through the grand bazaar we were hungry and unwilling to pay a lot for food. Tucked away in a street corner I happened to notice some Turks gathered around a grill where two men were busily preparing some kind of burrito made of meat. No tourists, just locals. That generally gets my attention. The meat was stuffed into what I now know is lamb intestine and roasted on a spit over wood-burning fire. After enough rotations on the spit the griller scooped the meat off the spit and with a giant cleaver hacked the fleshy sack into tiny bits and threw them between two slices of bread. After some hot peppers and spices were added, this well seasoned sandwich of lamb guts was handed off to a salivated patron.

It looked like some deliciously grungy street food. Just what the doctor ordered. The banner read Kokoreç with some colorful pictures. I didn’t bother to ask what it was (and it wouldn’t have done me much good because no one spoke English). I simply ordered two with two bottles of water. Total cost: 8TL (4 bucks). Two bucks per lunch = Andrew is happy.

It had some of the chewiness of the lampredotto (cow stomach #4) we experienced in Florence, but less so. It had some hot pepper spice and some savory oregano, which blended together with the juicy meat to make a very satisfying sandwich.

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