From a group of 8 in Istanbul, with Tin, Bea (Bee-yah), Karen, Kim, Colin, Tony & Jörg, we were down to 7 as the latter, our walking Jörg-ipedia and dad-to-be needs to fly back to Geneva to be home with his wife, Gracey (shockingly, an old friend of mine back in the Uni days). Shortly after, we were up to 9 again, now with Denise and Dan joining in from Quebec — all en route to Izmir.
After the 45 minute flight from Istanbul, we were greeted by Hairi, our lodging contact, local guide, and friend of a friend. It was about 34-36 °C at that time and in hindsight, for most of us, it was already our third summer this year. First in Boracay, Philippines, Singapore and then Turkey! Now it’s the fourth for Kim as he went straight to hot-hot-hot Dubai. (Must be lovin’ sum melanin!)
Part of the original itinerary (before heading to the beautiful coastlines of Selcuk, where our apartment villas are located), is to explore Izmir’s metro as it is famous for its food and shopping bazaars, and, we can not simply miss the postcard perfect sight of the Konak Square.
First stop. Kemeralti’s Pride: Doyuran Manisa Kebap
A few steps from the iconic Konak Square, in the middle of the busy market in the metro Kemeralti, you will discover this four-decade-old Kebab house – Manisa Kebab cooked and served in front of you.
They served the freshest salad. Just squeeze a slice of lemon to it and you’re good to start. Aside from the salad, Coca-cola, Fanta, or Ayran, the Manisa Kebap is the sole dish on their menu.
Serving it since 1970, this very tasty brand which they’ve built has reached a different level of “yumskies”, especially when mixed with its own uniquely blended tomato sauce and yogurt. (Okay to ask for extra scoops).
The tables are set below the trellis covered with thick climbing plants that provide shade for the patrons. In the centre was a duo playing Turkish music. They were singing live while a hand drum and violin accompanied it.
We did not understand anything, obviously, but, we think they played both sad and happy songs. A while later, they ended up at our table and gathered their tips. (One verse and then they left. Not so polite musicians after all.)
While the service wasn’t very fast (as everything is prepared only when you sit), the result was PERFECTION. #yesdefinitely
The smell of it was as savoury as the meat. It deserved to be eaten at a slow pace; as eating it slow meant appreciating the taste and effort of the Chef. Happy to have tasted this Izmir-acle of a dish, but we later found out that the Sultan of all Kebabs is in Kusadasi. (That’s the next story, probably.)
Ask for more freshly-fired-on-charcoal pita bread. WARNING: It’s not FOC (free-of-carcinogen).
Watch out for more reads on Beautiful Istanbul coming soon.
eugephemisms: Meanwhile, let us always be grateful for the bounty of life and likewise be reminded of the hard work we’ve performed to afford our airfares, hotels and delicious meals. Thank you, Universe!