Join Culinary Backstreets

Sign up with email

or

Already a member? Log in.

Log in to Culinary Backstreets

Trouble logging in?

Not a member? Sign up!

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

For the past 24 years, Cemil Tuncay has wheeled his small metal cart to the biweekly produce pazar in Edirne. He sets up shop around noon, lighting coals under what can be described as massive, torpedo-shaped sausages. Kokoreç is a simple fast food made from bits of sheep left over from butchering, stuffed into intestines to the bursting point. It is a one-man operation. With the exception of his wife (who sometimes helps him clean and prepare the meat), Tuncay goes it alone. His mustachioed face is often grizzled with a little bit of stubble and worn by years’ worth of fragrant grill smoke. He is tall and stoops over a bit to prepare each order, doing so with a jaunty smile and a twinkle in his eyes.

There are really only two options to choose from: half or full portion. The standard sandwich features tomatoes and meat seasoned with kekik (an oregano-like herb), spicy red pepper flakes and salt. If you like, you can drink ayran as well, but that’s about it. The meat is fatty and sumptuous, gliding over your tongue with a peppery nip that screams for more.

Cemil Tuncay Tuzu Kokoreç Dürüm, photo by Theodore Charles“The most important thing is for the meat to be clean,” Tuncay states as he slices tomatoes with the tip of his knife. Working with intestines and other types of offal means that hygiene is incredibly important. Everything on his work surface is careworn but clean. His knife, likely once a standard chef’s tool, has been worn down by countless trips to the sharpener into something that would look at home on a fishing boat. Each segment of kokoreç is lined up in an orderly fashion, positioned so that each absorbs the correct amount of smoke before being place directly over the flame. He quickly cleans his cutting board after each sandwich, checks how the meat is cooking and methodically places fresh bread to warm on the fire, hands moving with the experience of thousands of meals gone before.

When we first photographed Tuncay, people recounted stories of visiting him as a child on market day. Today, little has changed. The cart is something of a local legend. You can smell what is cooking while you haggle over melons and peppers under the blue roof of the open market. People coming and going often stoCemil Tuncay's kokoreç, photo by Theodore Charlesp by for a quick bite. Even with the constant stream of customers, he only works his magic twice a week at that particular market. You cannot find him downtown, assailing people leaving bars with peppery meat morsels, or set up along the river, waiting for passing tourists. His fare is a localized phenomenon that is easily missed if you don’t show up at the right place and time. Only word of mouth or your sense of smell can guide you to him, and if by chance you make it, your tongue will thank you for it.

 

Get directionsExport as KML for Google Earth/Google MapsOpen standalone map in fullscreen modeCreate QR code image for standalone map in fullscreen modeExport as GeoJSONExport as GeoRSSExport as ARML for Wikitude Augmented-Reality browser
 

loading map - please wait...

  41.663346, 26.581898 Cemil Tuncay Tuzu Kokoreç Dürüm, Evleri Pazar Yeri 8. Sk (Directions)

 
Cemil Tuncay Tuzu Kokoreç Dürüm
Address: Evleri Pazar Yeri (across from the northwest corner entrance) 8. Sokak, Edirne Merkez/ Edirne
No telephone
Hours: Wed. & Sat. noon-7pm
 

Related stories

June 14, 2017

Friggitoria Masardona: Naples' Ur-Pizza

By Amedeo Colella
Naples -- Pizza, as you might already know, was born in Naples. What you might not know is that in Naples, fried pizza existed before baked pizza. And although Neapolitans have raised pizzamaking in the oven to an art form, their skill at turning out fried pizza is even greater. As with so many local…
May 15, 2017

Biscoito Globo: King of the Beach

By Danielle Renwick
Rio -- Asking cariocas if they remember their first Biscoito Globo, the ubiquitous, crunchy beach snack, is like asking anyone who teethed in the United States if they remember trying Cheerios for the first time. Globo biscuits and sweet iced mate are to Rio's beaches what hot dogs and beer are to American baseball stadiums. Calls…
June 17, 2015

CB on the Road: Deniz Börek Salonu in Edirne

By Theodore Charles
Istanbul -- Edirne has more meat to offer beyond the glistening liver that bears its name. Deniz Börek Salonu has crowned the top of Saraçlar Caddesi since 1986. Every morning, lines of salivating citizens hurry to work with crunchy poğaças or sit down to enjoy steaming heaps of stuffed pastry. While there are many börek…