Friday, March 25, 2011

Istanbul Market

7912 Hillcroft


Bissonnet is one of our great food streets with a very wide diversity of eateries. As far as ethnic or national cuisines go it's probably most known for Mexican and Salvadoran but there is Greek, Italian, Cuban, Ethiopian, Nigerian, Vietnamese, Kosher, Korean, Caribbean, Filipino, Colombian, Ghanaian, Pakistani and probably several others I've forgotten. The intersection of Hillcroft and Bissonnet has quite a diverse collection itself. Within a block or so are Hoagie's and More (Vietnamese/Salvadoran - a banh mi/pho/pupusa shop), Sheba (Ethiopian), Aroma Pizza Cafe (Kosher), Pupusa Buffet, Taqueria La Fogata, the venerable Droubi's (which I have just re-discovered after not having been for several years), Myung Dong (Korean), La Roca (Salvadoran tamaleria), a Honduran mobile unit and this place - a Turkish grocery.

It's a small, very neat and clean, well-stocked store run by two friendly young guys. Despite the size, it would be easy to spend quite a while browsing all the offerings, many of which you likely will not find elsewhere in Houston. There is a large selection of Turkish sweets and snacks, jarred olives and ajvar, stuffed zucchini, eggplant and vine leaf goodies, dried Turkish peppers, utensils for making and serving Turkish coffee, and much more.

In a deli meat case are a half dozen varieties of sujuk plus beef mortadella. The sign indicates Hallal beef and chicken products are also available but they're not on display; there may have been pastirma but I don't remember it. In the coolers is a variety of cheeses from Turkey including Hellim, Peynir and Kasar as I recall, plus yogurt, aryan and other dairy products.

In still another deli case there is a small selection of Turkish olives.

I went in hoping that they would have a ready-to-eat section offering some hot foods as so many Houston ethnic grocery stores do. Of course the olives and cheeses, etc., are 'ready-to-eat' but I was hoping to have found a place right in my neighborhood where I could grab some doner or pide on the run instead of having to drive all the way in to the Village. Alas, no such luck. The only offerings of that sort are in a deli case right inside the door, two pastries, baklava and kadaif burma.

The clerk told me they had just started carrying the kadaif and he preferred it to the baklava. Just looking at it I thought I might agree with him (okay, I botched that piece up a bit getting it out of the tray). It's twisted, shredded wheat (call it vermicelli if you like) with honey and pistachios. However the baklava was just awesome and was my favorite of the two. These are sold by the pound and that was almost 4 dollars worth (that's a dessert plate, not a dinner plate).

They're open 7 days a week.

No comments: