/My Life, My Liver

My Life, My Liver


Canım ciğerim (my life, my liver), might sound like an alcoholic’s mantra, but it is, instead, a Turkish term of endearment. It is one of the many colloquial phrases I have learned this week and, strangely, it is the only one that does involve a midwife getting screwed. As troubling as that fact has been for me, that is what I get for asking about Turkish insults.

The much tamer canım ciğerim is both a sweet nothing and the name of a famous kebab shop in Asmalımescit (a district of Beyoğlu in Istanbul) that serves delicasies from Mersin. I ate there last night with my friend Can, whose knowledge of Istanbul food culture is encyclopedic, so I knew it would be great. It was.

The menu is simple. Choose from meat moresels (çöp şiş) or bits of liver grilled over charcoal as the Usta (Master) slices and dices tomatoes, onions, and parsely into a spreadable paste flavored with lemon juice pomegranate syrup, and spices. The salad, called gavurdağı, is slathered on to the paper thin lavaş the meat and liver is served with. Use a lavaş (or better yet, 2) to pull the meat or liver off the skewers, add some onion, parsley, cumin, and a spritz of lemon, then try to eat just one.

Big ups to Can for taking me here.

2016-01-09T13:33:01+00:00 September 3rd, 2009|Categories: Istanbul, Meat, Offal, Restaurants, Turkish Cuisine|9 Comments


  1. nan September 3, 2009 at 3:00 pm - Reply

    Istanbul is at the top of my list of places to visit…you are such a wonderful resource for all things Turk.

    Canım ciğerim looks like yet another keeper, makes my mouth water just reading about it…


  2. eru September 3, 2009 at 4:39 pm - Reply

    I think in one of the expat web-sites, the translation of Canim Cigerim was “Liver, my Dear” which sounds better and its not a wrong translation as well.

  3. Katie September 3, 2009 at 3:13 pm - Reply

    Prego! Nan, as a resident of Venice you have a responsibility to come here:) Let me know when you plan your trip. Who knows, I may even be living in Turkey by then!

  4. JP September 3, 2009 at 7:09 pm - Reply

    Liver in any language is not appealing to me but this presentation and your description may have changed my mind! I have yet to see an entry from your travels in Turkey that didn’t look appetizing. What’s this about living in Istanbul?

  5. Diana Strinati Baur September 3, 2009 at 9:25 pm - Reply

    Yum. This looks fabulous. Nan, let’s ditch Italy and hit Basiktas with Katie.

  6. Peter at italyMONDO! September 3, 2009 at 11:23 pm - Reply

    I’m with Diana! That looks tasty and I could use a change from my usual Italian menu 😀

  7. Katie September 4, 2009 at 9:35 am - Reply

    @JP yeah joj i was gonna tell you…

    @emu yeah i saw that translation but it kind of overlooks that the place sells liver. it is a pun. call me literal:)

    @Diana not a bad idea!

    @peter the spices they use here make all the difference!

  8. Aventine September 29, 2009 at 5:27 pm - Reply

    I like to follow your site for Rome, but we spent a month in Istanbul as well, and ate here three times! Absolutely fresh, cheap, and friendly.

  9. Where to Stay in Istanbul February 8, 2010 at 8:09 pm - Reply

    […] down to the Golden Horn and Galata Bridge from Tunel, and great restaurants like Mikla, Refik, Canım Ciğerim , Antiochia, and Pera Sisore. For more on food and sightseeing in Istanbul, delve into the ParlaFood […]

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