Walking around Cihangir, your nose may tickle and your salivary glands may start working up a storm. Not to worry, you’re probably just walking past Asri Turşucu, one of the oldest surviving picklers of Istanbul. Yep. Picklers.
Since 1913, this Istanbul pickle shop has line its walls with beautiful displays of mounted jars; jars filled with anything and everything from beans to bananas. But this being one of the oldest shops and, of course, this being Istanbul, the displays don’t stop at the pickled wall. In one corner, you’ll find the oldest (and darkest) jar dating back to the mid-60s. Our advice is not to look at it for too long.
Behind the tall counter, are containers – and some buckets – of the usual turşu fair from dark burgundy beets to at least nine different peppers to wonderfully gargantuan bulbs of garlic. One of the two men will patiently smile and offer you tasters to help you make your choice.
Unlike other turşucus (picklers), Asri has a couple of chairs and two tables to sit. So before you order your assortment, have a seat and ask for a glass of turşu suyu (pickle juice). You’ll be handed one of the more fickle plastic cups known to humanity (it’s thin and too malleable). Handle with care and you’ll be able to enjoy one of the city’s best pickle cocktails stuffed with cucumber, white cabbage, onions and a beet.
Some might serve a bowl of roasted almonds, others offer up small dishes of assorted pickles. In fact, bars sometimes serve pickled green plums instead of beer nuts. Yes, perhaps, that may be an abomination of the classic beer nuts ‘n’ beer combination. But we’re ok with it.
Cihangir Caddesi No.29, Cihangir
(0212) 244 47 24