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Şampiyon Kokoreç September 30, 2009

Posted by Steven Bartus in Quick Eats, Turkish Cuisine.
Tags: ,

Sampiyon  007Kokoreç is a remarkably divisive food; in my travels I have encountered few dishes with such an uncanny ability to polarize opinion.  Some find grilled lamb intestine to be delicious and one of the best foods in Turkey.  Others are repulsed by the very idea of eating innards, not to mention the occasionally suspect conditions in which they are prepared.

The divisiveness of kokoreç even extends into politics.  Since Turkey’s ascension process began with the European Union, there has been talk about outlawing the dish in accordance with the E.U. ban on the sale of sheep organs.  This law was passed in the aftermath of the mad cow disease outbreak during the 1990s, and it resulted in the (official) prohibition of the Greek equivalent, known as kokoretsi.

Many Turks view the proposed ban as an unwarranted impingement on culinary tradition, representative of the overly intrusive reforms being forced onto Turkey by the Europeans.  Fortunately, recent developments indicate that the new health laws accommodate a ‘hygienic’ version of kokoreç, ensuring that all will be able to enjoy this dish irrespective of Turkey’s place in the world.

In this great debate,  I wholeheartedly place my allegiance with my fellow offal lovers.  The unique consistency and spicing of the meat makes kokoreç something that simply can’t be missed.  To sample it in Ankara, there are scores of good eateries to consider.  But one place in particular deserves a visit: Şampiyon Kokoreç

Şampiyon is a popular chain of restaurants in Turkey.  Originating in the Beyoğlu fish market off İstanbul’s famed İstiklal Cad. in 1962, there are now more than three dozen branches across the country.  The Ankara location is on Selanik Cad. (near Sakarya Cad.) in Kızılay (Google Maps).

While the namesake dish is enough of a reason to patronize Şampiyon, the midye (mussels) is what truly makes this establishment something special.  It comes in two forms: midye tava (fried) and midye dolma (stuffed).  The former is served in bread covered with an impeccable bread crumb and garlic sauce, while the later is filled with seasoned rice doused with lemon juice.  Both are superb and can be enjoyed together with kokoreç by ordering ‘Menü 9’.  When eating with a group, you are also given a dish of the midye sauce to soak up with slices of bread.

Şampiyon offers ten different combination meals that include ayran and dessert.  Most cost around 10TL ($6.75 at $1.48TL/$).


1. Kıtır « Eating Ankara - April 21, 2010

[…] is no shortage of places in Ankara to consume kokoreç and midye. I previously wrote about Şampiyon Kokoreç on this blog. But if you’re looking for something better than what is prevalent on the […]

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