For those of you who don't know what "Lahmacun" is, it is a very thin layer of dough topped with a special mix of ground lamb and onions plus a number of spices. Some call it "the Turkish pizza" and rightly so, although it doesn't come with different toppings but one, which is the perfect solution leaving no desire for anything else.
Halil's place is tucked in the middle of Kadikoy's historic bazaar, which is a jumble of small restaurants, cafes and bakeries and one of the best kept secrets (from the tourists that is) of Istanbul's beautiful Asian side.
Halil is a small place. The oven is right at the entrance. There is a second floor and also tables outside as long as the weather permits outdoor dining. You can order your lahmacun crisp or soft, this is how it feels when you take it in your hand, and yes, the right way to eat lahmacun is by rolling and holding it with your fingers, no shame in it. You will be amazed by the taste right from the first bite. Although there are a variety of options for drinks (no alcohol), the best is the famous Turkish yogurt drink "Ayran" (promounced like "i run"). The waiter will ask you "close" or "open", meaning mass-produced and served in a sealed container to be opened by you, or their own production, served in a glass with its delicious foam on top. I always go for the open version, which is creamy and delicious, just with the right amount of tanginess.
One lahmacun costs 3.50 Turkish Liras, which is around $2.00. If it's like an afternoon snack in between meals, i have two, if you want to make it your main meal, you can go for four or more, depending on ypur belly size. Halil also bakes "pide" which is great on its own right and can be ordered with a larger choice of toppings but if you are there for the first or only time, go for lahmacun. I like mine crisp but nobody tries to stop you from having one of each; isn't life grand in Istanbul?
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