Rumour had it that a stop at the famed Imam Çağdaş was a must. From my understanding, the restaurant has been around since 1887, and ships about a tonne of its fine baklava to all corners of the globe each year. A tonne. In preparation for the sugar rush, we ordered a mix of kebabs to line our stomachs— some familiar, like the good old Urfa and Patlıcan kebabs, and some I have never before seen and will never remember the name of. For instance:
The combination of spiced meat, butter, garlicky yogurt, and aubergine was simply out of this world (ok, out of curiosity and a slight pang of hunger, I just looked up the kebab on the Imam Çağdaş website)— the Ali Nazik is a perfectly justifiable reason to unbutton the top of your pants or loosen any drawstrings at the waist in public. Really.
Then there was the baklava.
I was instructed by a concerned waiter that the proper way to down this sticky piece of heaven was to first carefully wrap it in a piece of paper, then eat it by hand. I confess that I do not have much of a sweet tooth, nor do I find baklava particularly exciting, but this was fantastic. The syrup balanced perfectly with the pistachios and pastry— and my, oh my... those pistachios were good!
I think I've been converted into a baklava lover, and might have to return to Antep some day to sample more baklava at other sweet shops and restaurants— you know, to see if the city really has the best baklava in Turkey. So far from what I've tasted, Antep's claim to fame seems to hold truth...