On a cold Winters night in Istanbul, Zubeyir, the Kurdish meat house, is sold out and my dreams of lamb ribs are evaporating into the nether. So it goes on a busy Friday night in the Beyoglu. My mind awhirl I begin rifling through my mental Istanbul Eats archive I keep stored in a dusty corner of my brain. Remembering tales of sucuk near Macka park I begin my hike.
A few minutes later I’m strolling past the Ritz Carlton and having a good laugh at the swells inside drinking their high dollar cocktails with nary a link of sucuk in sight. As I near the foot of the hill [I only have a rough idea where I’m going] I see a little cart across the busy thoroughfare with bright lights and sausages on strings swaying in the winter breeze.
I sprint over and begin quizzing the owner who assures me he has plenty sucuk and he’d be happy to make me a loaf. The man begins plying his craft and I watch like a hungry hound. This is deluxe sucuk: tons of sausage is cut into rough hunks, charred on a grill then stuffed into a crusty loaf of fresh bread with a few slices of tomato, onions, lettuce, cabbage and a thorough administering of red chile. His creation is presented with a bemused smile as he notes my eager face.
I seat myself on a tiny stool behind the cart and tear in. My mind races as the garlicky beef flavor begins to hit. Like any good cook there is a balance and symetry to Orhan Bey’s flavors that bespeaks serious talent no matter how humble the dish.
This is fine street food served by a sucuk usta with a quarter century anchoring one little chunk of asphalt in the big village of Istanbul.
Orhan’s Sucuk Stand is located across from Macka Park Underneath the Kamikaze Tower