When my friend discovered my love for kokoreç, she insisted that I must try uykuluk in Sütlüce.
Before ordering I ask Umut, “It’s like kokoreç, right?” He said yes. “Okay, just don’t tell me what it actually is until after I’m done eating.” That’s when the food was served and I DEVOURED my plate before Umut was even half way through his.
What is Uykuluk?
In English it’s called sweetbreads – made from the thymus and pancreas of a lamb.
If you’ve tried kokoreç, (and are a fan) that you’ll find it just as delicious, a similar taste but a bit greasier since it contains more fat. Every serving is just as fresh and grilled to order.
Why in Sütlüce?
Located at the end of the Golden Horn, across from Eyüp, is Sütlüce. Here once stood Istanbul’s main slaughterhouse, giving nearby restaurants access to the freshest meats and offals. Today the slaughterhouse is no longer in operation, but the area still remains as an authentic backstreet known for uykuluk. A place where the locals go, the uykuluk scene consists of a handful of restaurants serving just that – so there’s no reason to visit to order anything else.
Things to know
- Uykuluk is rare to find in Istanbul, Sütluce may be the only place to find it.
- When butchering a lamb, there may only be 100 grams of this available, so it’s also rare in the sense that there isn’t much of it from the animal.
- Some people call it the ‘King of Kokoreç’ since it’s found right next to the intestines (which is what kokoreç is).
Where to go
Our go-to spot is Vakkas, known for uykuluk. My advice, keep your fingers crossed that you’ll get the only outside table, even though the interior has an eclectic decor and would be a fun experience too. Order raki, uykuluk, cacik and salad – it will be one of the best meal experiences you’ve ever had.
Sütlüce Mah. Karaağaç Cad. Damar Sok. No:2/1