Monday, July 21, 2008

Chinese Food in Altin Park

Sorry about not updating for a while, but things have been really busy. My advisor visited for about a week, so between meeting with her and arranging experiments it has been nuts here. I have been able to sneak out and see some new things though. Hopefully in an hour, I will be able to write about them all...



Last Wednesday, Mert and I went up to Ulus to get some electronics components that I needed. It was a good thing he came along, because there was no way I was going to get by with hand signals and my phrasebook. Well, Canan and Damla met us at the Kizilay. We caught a bus and headed towards Altinpark, although only Mert knew where we were going. He wanted to take us to one of the very few Chinese restaurants in the city. We got off in the middle of what seemed to be a random neighborhood, so I thought we were going to come hole in the wall. Well upon walking down the street, we came to the entrance to a very large park (Google Map). On the way, he had told me that he hoped this place was still open. When we got there, it looked like it was indeed closed permanently. We arrived at 7pm, and the door was locked. From the photo below, you can also see there was nothing in the display case. Well after trying the door, we started to walk out of the coury yard, and a man appeared in the window. They had apparently closed the door because it was cold. I have never heard of needing to lock a door to keep warm, but to each his own apparently.



We were seated on the back deck which overlooked a large man-made pond. There were several fountains around with an covered roller-skating rink on across the pond. We decided to get the meal for 4, as well as beer.



They first brought out the best Hot and Sour soup I have ever had in my life. One of the reasons it was so good was that it was actually loaded full of the solid ingredients. Because pork is not commonly available in Turkey, lamb was used. It was at this point that Mert explained that a few years ago, Ankara participated in a cultural exchange with a city in China. The arrangement was for a few people from each city to move to the other and setup a restaurants. The purpose of this exchange was to not only broaden the culinary horizons of the city, but to train local cooks in international cuisine. Well, I am very happy they did...





Next, wantons and egg roll were brought out. The wantons were served with a soy sauce infused with garlic. It was really good. Afterward, the main courses were brought out. Everything was so good, that we finished off everything. I really enjoyed the chicken in the chili sauce. The sun was setting by this time, and several of the fountains were lit with colored lights. After the dinner dishes were cleared away, fried banana balls were brought out. Chunks of bananas were dipped in a batter and deep fried. They were then coated with honey mixed with sugar which created a hard sugary shell around each one. To finish off the meal, the best tasting Jasmine tea was brought out. The tea looked almost completely clear, but at the most distinctive Jasmine taste I have ever encountered.







After dinner, we decided to take a stroll through the park. The sun had completely set by this time which caused the coolness of the night set in. Because we were so full, we took out time walking across what turned out to be an enormous park. Halfway through, we came upon a roasted corn and ice cream stand. Damla decided that she wanted some ice cream. So, her and I both got ice cream sandwiches. What seemed to be a father, son, and daughter were delighted to find out I was an American and even happier to find out I was Californian. The father started to make movie-making hand gestures. He told Damla that they should move to California to sell corn and ice cream. I think they would make a killing back home...





Anyways, back to the ice cream sandwiches. The "bread" part was made out of the same stuff that our cheaper ice creams cones are made of. I think everyone knows what I'm talking about. I decided on caramel and chocolate ice cream. Now, Turkish ice cream is made partially from water buffalo milk, so it is very elasticy but really good. We caught a bus heading back to Kizilay, and ended up going to a really awesome bar near Tunali street. There were several very low tables that were surrounded by large fluffy pillows. The red lighting was really low, giving the place a very mellow and romantic feel. It made me wish someone was here....

1 comment:

carol said...

Pining, are we?