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“The East Campus Köfte Man” July 11, 2010

Posted by Steven Bartus in Quick Eats, Street Food, Turkish Cuisine.
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Street food in Ankara has this interesting tendency to be prepared in the back of modified vans. Earlier in the year I profiled two of these vehicular eateries that dish out some exceptional köfte. Little did I know, though, that another great option is located almost within eyeshot of my lojman window.

Just before the gate to the east campus of Bilkent University (my employer), Abi Esat parks his van and on most nights cooks up a variety of quick eats that are renown throughout Ankara. People drive from all over the city to sample his goods, and it is without a doubt worth the trip.

Like the other vehicles I wrote about, Esat’s köfte is particularly good. The seasoning and toppings strike a near-perfect mix that provoke groans of satisfaction after the first bite. Combined with the option for melted kaşar on top, it might be the best I’ve encountered.

However, Esat’s star attraction is his antrikot. Dervied from the French word entrecôte, meaning ‘between the ribs’, this premium cut of beef is an uncommon offering in the form of street food and makes for a highly delectable treat. Be sure to ask for it with cheese for some added flavor.

To reach Esat’s van, take Bilkent 1. Cad. to 9. Cad. and look to the right shortly before the campus entrance (Google Maps). He’s usually around most nights after 20:00 or 21:00 and stays open until late. Köfte is priced at 5TL ($3.20 at 1.55TL/$), while the antrikot is a bit more pricy at 10TL ($6.45). There is also self-service midye available for 0.50TL ($0.30) each.

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“The Köfte Men” January 10, 2010

Posted by Steven Bartus in Street Food, Turkish Cuisine.
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In my travels around the globe, street food is often the culinary highlight of any trip. Indeed, I’ve found “avoid walls” to be a particularly useful adage when deciding where to eat in a new city. In Ankara, this advice rings true late at night when dozens of venders set up shop and sell delicious midye dolma, pilav, kokoreç and köfte to the hungry masses.

Two of the my favorite after-dark places to eat are not street food per say, but are actually modified, somewhat-dilapidated vans. Don’t let their appearance fool you: you’ll be hard pressed to find better food at any hour of the day.

“The Köfte Men” is the label my friends and I affectionately apply to these vehicular eateries. One, run by a man named Ali, is located on Tunus Cad. by the Bilkent University bus stop (Google Maps). The other, run by Vahit, is just past the corner of Eskişehir Yolu and Bilkent Blv. near the new mosque (Google Maps). Both open at around 21:00 and close sometime around 2:00. I would rank their köfte among the best I’ve had in Turkey. Perfectly spiced and made to order, there are few greater joys to be found in the early hours of the morning.