Photos: Slawomira Kozieniec
Kumpir is the Turkish name for a baked potato with various fillings.
It is one of my favorite fast foods in Istanbul.
They are made with big – I mean really big – potatoes that are wrapped with foil and baked in special ovens. The potatoes are cut straight down the middle and the fluffy, moister white interior flesh is mixed with unsalted butter and puréed with kaşar cheese.
All sorts of foods can be added to the potato: mayonnaise, ketchup, pickles, sweetcorn, sausage slices, carrots, mushrooms and even Russian salad.
The are sold in many touristic neighborhoods.
When you want to eat the skin too the potato, prior to cooking, should be scrubbed clean, washed and dried with eyes and surface blemishes removed, and possibly basted with oil or butter and/or salt. But in Turkey they don’t do that.The skin is often burned and inedible.
One of my favorite joints to eat baked potato is Kervan Cafe in Ali Suavi Sokağı (street) in Kadıköy.
At the start of this busy artist’s street is a statue of the author, journalist and revolutionary Ali Suavi (1839–1878), who died during a failed coup by the Young Turks against the rule of Sultan Abdul Hamid II.
Various artists work in this street, including jewellery designers, painters and glass blowers. Kervan Cafe is in the middle of this little street.
Enjoy your ‘Kumpir’, loaded with toppings of your choice. You can choose from ingredients such as corn, pickles, peas, black and green olives, grated cheese and carrots, red beet, ketchup and mayonnaise.