Not only are Turkish regions known for particular foods, but in Istanbul different neighborhoods are known for certain dishes – Galata Bridge for fish sandwiches, Sütlüce for uykuluk, Ortaköy for kumpir and Süleymaniye for kuru fasulye.
Kuru fasulye literally translates to dried haricot/navy beans, but this tomato-based white bean stew is the country’s other national dish, next to kebabs. If you’re looking for a hearty, inexpensive meal head to Süleymaniye. The street opposite the mosque is lined with a strip of kuru fasulye restaurants to choose from.
Note: It’s generally a vegetarian dish, but some restaurants do add meat to it.
We headed towards Süleymainye Mosque and sat at Erzincanlı Ali Baba among the handful of restaurants serving the same dish. We each ordered kuru fasulye, and a serving of pickles for the table. The one size fits all portion of kuru fasulye is cooked in a lightly-spiced tomato sauce and is served with a bowl of white rice. Since 1924 Erzincanlı Ali Baba has been serving this signature dish, a local favorite that’s popular with locals and nearby students, but you won’t find many tourists here.
Erzincanlı Ali Baba
Prof. Sıddık Sami Onar Cad. 11, Süleymaniye/Fatih