Tahini Helva

Written by Katie Parla on August 12, 2009


So I’m in Eğirdir, a city around 100 km north of Antalya, that is very famous for its lake, and by consequence, fish. But low and behold I find myself eating very little of it. This is not a complaint, just an observation. Having expressed a love of Turkish food and especially köfte, Ibrahim, the owner of the pension I am staying in, took me to Meşhur Köfteci in the center of town for lunch yesterday. This little hole-in-the-wall has two items on the menu: köfte (obvious from the name, which means famous meatball maker) and tahini helva (a sweet sesame paste, a bit less obvious from the name). For 2TL (about a euro), we were served 100 grams of creamy tahini helva and a generous helping of crusty bread with which to eat the spread, which is not quite as thick as peanut butter. Half the fun was watching Güngör Gül, owner, chef, and one man show, use a great wooden spoon to ladle the helva from a big pot onto a little silver plate balanced on a scale. As Ibrahim ate his share (less, actually), in a controlled manner, I made a scarpetta, slopping up this creamy delight like it was going out of style. My Turkish isn’t great, but I gathered Güngör was pleased I was enjoying it so much. So if you ever find yourself in Eğirdir, just look for this storefront in the center, or ask for Güngör Gül the famous meatball maker. You will not be disappointed. Trust me on this.

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