Burger lovers are always going on about soggy buns. You can’t blame them, it’s pretty rank to bite into a burger and find the bottom has been soaked in a limp unnecessary tomato making the whole thing wet and claggy. Yuck.
That’s why on a recent trip to Istanbul I was a bit wary of the legendary ‘wet burgers’ that my local friend told me I must try. Wet burgers are all the rage in the city, and local residents are apparently partial to a wet burger or five at the end of a big night out (I can’t argue with that!)
So in the name of research, I took myself off to Taksim Square, which is one of the busiest shopping districts in Istanbul, and where three wet burger shops are located. My friend advised me that the third wet burger shop is the best, Kizilkayalar.
Maybe these burgers look more appealing after a beer or two, but on the grey drizzly day I visited the shop looked pretty dire. My vegetarian friend looked on at me in disgust as I approached it.
|Best Wet Burgers in Istanbul|
First impressions count and all I could think was why would someone deliberately store a burger with loads of other burgers in a hot sweaty glass case. The condensation was dribbling down the side on to the burgers, which was pretty off-putting. Turkey is famous for its hammams and the burgers were enjoying their own little hammam spa treatment.
Fearlessly though, I ordered a burger which cost me 2 Turkish Lira, working out at a little less than a pound. The burger was so hot it warmed my hands, a positive side I’ve never experienced from a burger before.
|Loads of Wet Burgers|
I held it in it’s paper bag and prodded the bun a little bit. It was indeed wet. And greasy. And very orange. Normally if I stood in the rain with a burger I’d try and protect it, but it was strange to not have to do that because it had reached saturation point already.
I took my first bite and was surprised at how the squidgy oily texture didn’t bother me. There’s a huge difference in having a wet bun from a slice of tomato, as opposed to a home made tomato sauce which the bread has absorbed. The bread was a cheap white roll at it’s finest/worst, it had started fluffy before being drenched in the garlicy-tomato sauce, the kind you have with meatballs. Despite what you may think, the sauce was surprisingly rich and tasty.
The main thing that was most questionable about the burger was the meat. I had to forget my usual requirements of quality meat in a thick rare patty, as this patty was smaller than a Maryland chocolate chip cookie and as thin as a pound coin. Apparently, the meat was veal, but I wouldn’t want to confirm this. It tasted a little odd, but I was too busy becoming accustomed to the strange bread texture in my mouth to let it bother me too much. The bread to patty ratio was a bit off…
The wet burgers are fuss free and there’s absolutely no extras in the bun – no cheese, no lettuce, no pickles – absolutely nothing apart from a wet, sauced up garlic-tomato bun. Having said that, there were two bottles of ketchup and mustard on the side, but I really don’t think the flavours would have been good with my wet burger. Maybe those sauces were for the kebabs…
So that was the finest burger in Istanbul, and I couldn’t help but like it. Would I recommend going to Istanbul for that burger? Absolutely! The city is so vibrant and hectic with so much going on that I’m already planning my next trip over (when the weather’s better).
I’ll try wet burgers again, but this time, like the locals, I’ll have a drink or two before hand – it’s open 24-7 after all.
Siraselviler Caddesi 6, Beyoğlu