**This appeared with a longer text written by Joshua Kloke extolling the virtues of Italian pizza joints in Istanbul which we presented as a sort of debate. Pizza vs lamacun.**
The evidence that pizza is the international food is also the reason you don’t need to look outside Turkish cuisine to find it. Lahmacun, the meat, tomato, spice and onion topped plate-sized pizza eaten rolled up with salad inside, red pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice (not flat with a knife and fork as the uninformed might think) or the more corpulent, cheese covered, breadier pide easily hold their own against their Italian cousin.
I’m not going to debase pide and lahmacun by comparing them with the version slopped onto plates at Domino’s or Pizza Hut. Turkish pizza doesn’t need the gimmicks of stuffed crust or All You Can Scoff buffets. Your pizza craving can be sated 24/7 in less time than it would take to remove your coat and be perusing the menu at an Italian pizzeria. The gratification couldn’t be more instant, faster even than paket (take-away), pide and lahmacun can be bought elde (in hand). It’s barely even necessary to recommend particular places, so consistent is the ubiquitous Turkish pizza. But Konyalılar Etli Etmek in Kazasker, Suadiye with the thinnest base imaginable, Konak on İstiklal, Borsam in Kadıköy, and Genç Kebab in Üsküdar cover most corners of the city you are likely to find yourself in when the pizza fix comes on.
The only drawback of ordering Turkish pizza is when the waiter can’t understand what you mean by ‘lamakoon’ and ‘peed’. Asking for ‘La-ma-joon’ and ‘pee-day’ will bring you a pizza that is always thin, always cheap, and more environmentally friendly without the air miles of imported prosciutto and ricotta cheese. Your fevered brain doesn’t have to contend with a bewildering array of hit or miss toppings, just a tried and tested pide combination of meat, sucuk, cheese, eggs or spinach or the reassuringly predictable lahmacun.
And need I even point out, you’re in Turkey. Cuisine is always better cooked by those who share nationality, not just proximity, with the dish; there’s no need to settle for foreign pizza done badly. What kind of peasant would go to Italy and order a kebab?
To read the story behind this article, go here.