from asia minor with love: midye dolma

it’s tough to capture what’s really going on with this crazy snack in a photograph, so we’ll try with words.  dave and i (adrian here) went to istanbul in march with our friend richie, who has plans for an amazing shop here and needed to go do eating research.  we thought he would’ve been all lonely going solo, so we did the right thing and tagged along.

not knowing exactly what to expect, we found midye dolma to be, along with a variety of meats on a stick and roasted chestnuts, the predominant street food in this ancient and incredible city.  it literally means ‘stuffed mussel’, and is made from arborio rice, a collection of sweet and savoury seasonings, currants (we use chopped golden raisin) and pinenuts.  on the trip, some locals we latched onto warned us not to eat more than five or six, saying that a dozen – and it’s very easy to eat a dozen – would make us unwell.  fishermen take the mussels out of the highly polluted bosphorus river, and keep the snacks at room temp all the live long day.  so we changed a couple things – firstly we use beautiful (and highly responsible) mussels from our friends at hooked, we upped the spicing and freshness quotients, and serve them away from a street corner (or at least in a building on a street corner).  so far they’ve been received very well – when we encourage snackers to try them out.  it’s a weird one – but a very good one – jon definitely knocked these suckers out the park.  ps, hint: use the top half of the shell as a spoon.

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