In the Kitchen With: Food from Around the World (Best of)


For the next five days, my husband and I are in Istanbul exploring new food and a new culture. I love looking for recipes from the locales I’ve visited so that I can make a few dishes at home whenever I’m missing those places. I also like finding recipes of the places I’d like to visit, as a kind of a daydream. In honor of my traveling mind and palate, this week is a round-up of recipes from some of the places I’ve visited, and some of the places I dream of visiting. Be on the lookout for something Turkish soon! Below is a cup of boza, a Turkish drink made of fermented bulgur, water and sugar (topped with cinnamon and toasted chickpeas). — Kristina


Illustrator Yvette van Boven gave us a modern take on the traditional Dutch Bitterballen last year, normally made with shredded beef. While visiting the Netherlands, I had a version made with asparagus! My true longing from that trip, however, is the bossche bollen from Den Bosch. Calling all Dutch pastry-makers . . .

See the links to more recipes after the jump . . .


I envy everyone who has had the opportunity to visit India. I think it must be one of the most beautiful places on earth. Tara O’Brady shared her own take on the Indian vegetable fritter, Pakora. Until I can take the trip, this will appear on my table from time to time.


Vietnam, another dream destination of mine. When I think of food heaven, Vietnam is definitely one of the places that would be there. Food blogger Giao Trac has provided some of the most popular recipes on the column. Her Vietnamese Spring Roll recipe is one of them.


Lebanon was our first-choice destination for this trip, but we put it on hold for now. In the meantime, I continue to take notes and learn as much as I can about the food so that when I go, I can hit the ground running (or eating, as it were). Food writer, journalist and art collector Anissa Helou, born to Syrian and Lebanese parents, gave me the perfect learning opportunity with her recipes for Syrian or Lebanese Muhammarah (pepper spread), Persian Borani-e Bâdenjân (onion and eggplant dip) and Whole-wheat Crackers with Mastic.


Brazil! I should start saving now for the 2016 Olympics so I can visit and have a blast. Brazilian food blogger Patricia Scarpin shared her mother’s Carrot Cake recipe with us. It’s carrot cake with a chocolate twist, and it is very good. A must-make for your next after-tea.


On par with India, I believe Mexico is an incredibly beautiful, diverse country with rich culinary diversity. Those are just three reasons I’d love to visit. I got a head start on my trip when blogger Yvette Marquez Sharpnack shared a recipe for Salpicon, cold shredded beef salad, and when Santa Barbara-based photographer Raya Carlisle shared her recipe for Guacamole.


This particular Falafel recipe, by the food stylist and food photographer team that make up Matkonation, is Israeli; however, I would love to visit any (and every) country where falafel is a regular street-food staple.


Dumplings are one of my favorite foods. When I’m back in the United States, I usually eat them until they come out of my ears, but I’d love to taste the dumplings in China, Korea and Japan. Rasa Malaysia’s Bee Yinn Low’s Pan-Fried Pork, Shrimp and Cabbage Dumplings and Andrea Nguyen’s Vegan Wontons are perfect when you’re in the mood for dumplings.


Who can resist a jelly doughnut?! I used to think it was just an American thing but was thrilled when food blogger Luisa Weiss offered her recipe for Berliner Pfannkuchen, or Berlin jelly doughnuts! The cinnamon sugar on the outside is a great introduction to this tasty sweet made with plum jam.

  1. Marcela says:

    How interesting! In Serbia they have a wheat based drink, generally flavoured with orange juice, called Boza. I wonder if it’s based on the turkish drink made from Bulgur that you mentioned, since they were part of the Ottoman Empire for 500 years, and many of their culinary traditions have that origin…

  2. Ozan Kilic says:

    if you would be able to visit besiktas area, and like spices and alternative medicines, please stop by to my family’s shop, named “kirkambar” located in the same street of BKM (besiktas kultur merkezi).. my father is a really good herbalist and definitely would like to help you on your requests. And maybe they can redirect you for some other locations to visit

    Best regards from Ohio :)

  3. kristina says:

    Hi Ozan! We will be going to Besiktas! If we happen upon the shop I will stop by for sure!!

  4. Merve says:

    Hey Kristina,
    even though there are million places that you should go and eat, I’ll give you two names that you should definitely visit.

    First place is an amazing restaurant that serves authentic dishes from the southern area of Turkey. Kebabs are incredibly good and many absolutely amazing dishes! As desser, ask for “Kunefe” and you’ll thank me later :)
    http://hataysofrasi.com/

    Second one is an old restaurant in Eminonu, close to Spice Bazaar. The roof has the best view in town and their doner(gyros/shawarma as some may call it) is really good. Try to get a reservation for lunch time. It’s quite nice.
    http://www.hamdi.com.tr/sayfa.php?s=urunler&lang=en

    In the Spice Bazaar, there is Malatya Pazari. Get some chocolate covered turkish delights and also there is pomegranate flavoured ones, try them.
    Just across form the exit where Malatya Pazari is located, there is Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi, where they sell ground turkish coffee. There is always a huge line up, but it goes pretty fast. You can get some freshly packaged coffee.

    Also in Besiktas, there is a fish market and many fish restaurants. Try Turgut Vidinli’s place.

    When you go around the city, keep an eye on pickpockets.
    Rushhour traffic is awful, 8-10 am & 6-8 pm.
    Use the train and the metro instead of busses. It’s much more convenient.

    If there is anything else you need, send me an email. I’ll be more than happy to help you.
    Enjoy :)

  5. Magda says:

    Hi Kristina! I’m not Dutch, I’m a Greek girl living in The Netherlands, but I know how to make bossche bollen. They’re delicious aren’t they? And they’re actually easy to make. I think I have to post about them at some point.
    Love your recap of all these wonderful recipes from around the world. No Greek recipe though :(
    Have a great weekend!

  6. Lorie says:

    If you are still in the Netherlands, pannenkoekens are a must and one of the very best spots is in a lovely little village outside of Hilversum, called Lage Vuursche. Our favorite is at the end of the road leading in… on the last corner… on the right (think it’s called Pannenkoekenhuis de Vuursche Boer. It’s a beautiful wooded area… and the pannenkoekens are delicious (ham and cheese or the strawberries and cream)… yum!

  7. Hi there. If you’re in Istanbul don’t miss this restaurant: http://www.dairestaurant.com The owner’s name is Arzu. Her mom was a chef too – but she decided to do other things but did cook all the time for friends. Then, 2-3 years from now, she started over and opened this cute restaurant. We stepped in there by accident and felt in love with her dishes. I did send all my Istanbul-visiting friends there and so far EVERYBODY was just in love with her modern way of cooking traditional turkish food. She even gave us a home cooking lession in our apartment. So please, don’t miss her tiny restaurant and don’t miss to talk with her, she is so inspiring, especially if you love good food. (And please send greetings to her from her Swiss friends.)

  8. Gartenmöbel says:

    Today, I went to the beach front with my children.
    I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said
    “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She placed the shell to her ear and screamed.

    There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is totally off topic but I had
    to tell someone!

  9. Lisa says:

    Have you tried the famous Dutch ”Stroopwafels” while you were in Holland? They’re an absolute classic too.
    If you didn’t.. I absolutely recommend you trying them the next time you’re in Holland or try making them yourself! They’re really thin waffles with a caramel filling.. YUM!

  10. Maya says:

    No recipe for Polish perogies? :-(

  11. Eleonoor says:

    Hi Kristina,

    I happen to be from, and live in the town where Bossche Bollen were invented (Den Bosch).
    I couldn’t find the (super exclusive and probably secret) recipe of the best ones: “Boscche Bollen van Jan de Groot”
    I did find one that I hope will taste the same. If there’s some ridiculous spelling mistakes in the recipe that’s my bad… I only found it in Dutch so I had to translate.
    Anyway, this is the recipe:

    Bossche Bollen

    Ingredients:
    75gr butter
    110 gr flour
    3 eggs
    375 ml whipped cream
    1 bag of vanilla-sugar (smal bag)
    1/2 bag of whipped cream stabilizer
    200 g pure chocolate (as dark as possible)
    Material
    Bakingpaper
    Pastry bag (= piping bag)
    Preparation:
    1.
    Heat the over to 200 OC.
    In a pan bring 150 ml water, with the butter and a pinch of salt to boil. Melt the butter. As soon as the butter is melted add the flour. Stirr with a wooden spoon untill this becomes a ball of dough. Remove pan from fire, let it cool down a bit. Stir in the eggs one by one. Keep stirring untill it is a firm and shiny dough.
    2.
    Put baking paper on a baking tray. Use a wet spoon to scoop 8 balls of dough onto the baking tray. Keep a 5 cm distance between them. Place in the center of the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes. DO NOT open the oven to check it will make the pastries sag. Let the pastries cool off for 10 min.
    3.
    Whisk 300 ml whipped cream, the vanilla sugar and the whipped cream stabilizer untill firm.
    Put the wipped cream in the piping bag. Inject whipped cream into the pasty through a hole (as small as possible) usually this is done on the bottom.
    4.
    Carefully heat the rest of the whipped cream, together with the chocolate untill chocolate is melted. (I like to add a tiny bit of sugar to the chocolate glazing, but that’s a matter of taste.) Cover the pastry in chocolate glazing. Let it turn stiff.

    5.
    Best eaten cold. Very nice with some tea or coffee. Enjoy!

    Hope you like i!

    Lots of love from Den Bosch,
    Eleonoor

  12. Cemile says:

    I advise you to taste our traditional Güllaç dessert also in Istanbul.
    This dessert is commonly consumed during Ramadan month traditionally in Turkiye.
    For details, you should visit http://www.saffetabdullah.com.tr/eng/index.php.

  13. kristina says:

    Gartenmoebel: I appreciate that story. I laughed for quite some time about it, especially that you just had to tell someone!! My husband also thought it was funny!

    For everyone else, I’ve taken note of the Istanbul places, and we are always happy to receive pitches for recipes at our designsponge submissions email address.

  14. Pelin says:

    Hi Kristina!
    Zencefil is a wonderful vegetarian restaurant with an impressive setting and interesting takes on traditional dishes! Enjoy Istanbul!

  15. Wow, everything looks so vibrant and flavorful, I wanna just dig in!

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  17. Tonia says:

    Instanbul is full of fantastic smells from spices. Just for the spices it is worth visiting the city.

  18. jmartahus@gmail.com says:

    My family (and extended family – a group of 8) are traveling to Istanbul in March. We are looking to rent an apartment. I can’t quite get my head around which neighborhood to stay in – we’d like something reasonably central, but don’t want to be in the middle of a crazy tourist area. Any suggestions would be most welcome. We also would love any advice on the better spice /textile, etc. markets, and perhaps some cooking classes. Thanks! Joan from Ohio.

  19. @Jmarthaus: Hi there, we were at this apartment in Instanbul. Look at this great view. It’s in the liberal part of Istanbul – Beyoglu – with a lot of good restaurants. You can reach everything very easy but it’s very quiet during night so you can sleep and recover. It’s german, but the owner is English speaking. He even did organize a van to give us a lift from/to airport. http://www.fewo-direkt.de/ferienwohnung-ferienhaus/p824928

  20. Howdy! I know this is kind of off topic but
    I was wondering if you knew where I could get a captcha plugin for my comment form?
    I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having difficulty finding one?
    Thanks a lot!

  21. designgratis says:

    @Jmarthaus – If it’s your first time in Istanbul I would recommend staying in the Sultanahmet area as its where all the big sights are. I was there in Sept and found a very smart boutique hotel in the heart of Sultanahmet opposite blue mosque, but on a quiet street. The staff were amazing and very helpful and I couldn’t recommend it more, I wrote a post about it here http://designgratislondon.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/contemporary-with-turkish-twist.html
    Also, you may find the post below helpful
    http://designgratislondon.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/istanbul-ultimate-turkish-delight.html

  22. miugette says:

    Hi Kristina!

    In Istanbul you should definitely eat at Çiya Restaurant in Kadikoy.
    http://www.ciya.com.tr/

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