Gaziantep: Land of pistachios and kebabs

It was a family affair. I never thought pistachios or baklava would play such a huge role in my life.

This weekend approximately 20-30 members of our family from my father-in-laws close relatives were in Gaziantep to discover their roots and much more.
Gaziantep, one of the main cities in Turkey is renowned for its food culture. Bordering close to Syria the influence of the immenent Middle Eastern culture is very apparent.
For us however the main question was "how many kebab restaurants and patisseries can we fit into our 48 hour schedule?". Everyone was enthusiastic especially about our tastebuds.

Some sights in Gaziantep include the castle (Gaziantep kalesi), the formerly Armenian church- now the Kurtulus Mosque and the spice bazaars. 

Below I will share some recommendations for food. But before I do I have to mention a place of visit, that should be on everyone's routes as they travel South East Turkey: The Zeugma Mosaic Museum.
The museum is yet to be officially opened and houses many of the mosaics undercovered during the archeological digs to the ancient city of Zeugma. Unfortunately, the ancient city is covered by a dam with which dozens of similiar mosaics drowned underwater.
If not for the mosaics the museum should ve visited for the bronze Mars sculpture dating to 2 AD.The pictures from the museum will be my next post, but here is a bundle of pictures of the mosaics that I have found from the internet.
(Source: http://www.zeugmaweb.com/)

On to the food...

- For the best "Katmer" : Orkide pastanesi
Katmer is layers of pastry filled with pistachios, butter and clotted cream.
-For kebabs: Imam Çağdaş and Üçler
Three differenst kebabs were of interest to us:
1) Keme kebab: Keme is a local grown mushroom type of vegetable.
2) Yeni Dunya kebab:  Yeni dunya is a fruit , a type of plum that was very interesting to taste cooked.
3) Garlic kebab: It is the season for fresh garlic. Once grilled with the minced meat it is caramelized with pomengranate syrup.
-For "Lahmacun": Imam Çağdaş
Lahmacun aka the Turkish pizza, is minced meat-tomatoes-onion-parsley all shredded in tiny particles to be placed on the thin dough and oven cooked.
-For "Şöbiyet" and "Baklava": Zeki Inal
These are special deserts made with pistachios, pastry and syrup.
- For "Yuvalama" and other home made foods: Kırkayak Gaziantep Evi
Yuvalama is a type of soup, yoghurt-based, with chickpeas, bulgur balls and shredded lamb meat.

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