Turkish Goodbye-Dinner

Moving to a new country means new culture, new people and new food. I absolutely love Asian food, so my taste buds are very happy about going to Hong Kong and since about 40% of the students attending my school are from Hong Kong, it will be great to explore the city with them and try out all the amazing Chinese food that you won’t find anywhere in Europe. But of course, I will miss Turkish food very much.

Worried about the fact that I might not be able to eat Turkish Kebab for a while, my Turkish friends decided to take me out on a farewell-dinner in one of Berlin’s most famous restaurants:  Hasir.  It is located in the heart of Kreuzberg, a part of the city that never sleeps and is filled with tourists, hipsters and artists rushing through the streets.

The legend tells that it was the brother of Hasir’s owner who first invented the döner kebab. Having visited this original location, we are all inclined to believe the story. Four decades of kebab history are alive and well at Hasir’s, which serves everything from the quick döner to a full sit-down meal.

We sat down inside, as all the tables outside were full. The walls were decorated with oriental tiles in blue and gold and a huge chandelier, giving the restaurant its Ottoman flair. The wall right behind our table was made of shelves showing huge jars with pickled vegetables. We ordered “Yogutlu Adana” (Minced kebab on a skewer, generously slathered with yoghurt and spicy tomato sauce), “Iskender Kebab” (thinly cut grilled lamb basted with spicy tomato sauce over pieces of pita bread) and salad. While waiting for the food, I was so happy that I kept smiling at everyone, since I could not believe that we were actually there, eating Turkish food. All together.  As if all the beautiful gifts and surprises from the fare-well party were not enough, Ebru handed me a box with a blue ribbon on it. “That’s for you, Bibi, I actually wanted to give it to you at the airport, but I think now is better” I could not believe my eyes and gave her a big squishy hug. I took off the top of the box and realized that Ebru had written a wonderful wish in it. With wet eyes I got up and hugged her again. The box was filled with little surprises in my favorite color: turquoise and blue. One by one I stared at the beautiful gifts: a scarf, an amphora shaped candle, a dark blue candleholder, feather earrings with turquoise stones, matching nail polish, lots of my favorite coconut candy and a beautiful Victorian style pocket watch  necklace hanging from a long chain. I got up again, this time hugging Ebru even longer and trying to hold back the tears. Mahalo for everything.

The food came, but before we started eating we clinked our glasses of Ayran (traditional yoghurt drink), water and coke to “experiencing two unforgettable years in Hong Kong and always remembering the wonderful times here in Berlin”. Everything was delicious and the photos we took of us and our food turned out great as well.

Of course “just” having dinner was not an option so we ordered “Künefe”, a traditional Turkish

Dessert made of wirey shreds called “kadayif” and filled with a soft sweet cheese. It is cooked in small copper plates, and then served in very hot syrup, topped with pistachios.

Since Künefe is extremely sweet, we only ordered two (for eight people) and then shared. It was wonderful and lots of fun, because we were all so full, but did not want to leave anything.

After leaving the restaurant we decided to go to a park close by. The waterfront was beautiful at that time of the day and after taking funny pictures with a willow tree and making people who were walking by laugh, we walked back to the subway station and went home.

I cannot thank my friends enough for that wonderful and unforgettable day. And I have to think of another way to show my gratitude, because I am convinced that saying “Thank you” and hugging them is definitely not enough.

Sizi cok seviyorum!

 

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