Turkish Gozleme specialises in gozleme, lahmacun and pide
It all starts at 8am. Everything, except the great slabs of revolving shawarma, are freshly made and prepared in-house and it’s been the same for three years. The sound of Turkish music hums faintly in the background as Serpil, Nevriye and Aisha get to work.
Together, they are Turkish Gozleme and from a small stall in a corner of (the world famous) Bury Market, they make Manchester’s freshest Turkish street food. The headlining dish? Gozleme. A long, thin savoury filled pastry.
They make [the food] here in front of everyone, even the bread’s fresh, and you don’t really get that nowadays
Whilst a few lesser-spotted entries for Gozleme might appear on Turkish restaurant menus across Manchester, here, it’s the headliner. Made fresh in front of you. Dough rolled out with a long thin rolling pin, ingredients delicately sprinkled on. A little cup of Turkish tea or coffee optional.
Fruit, veg, black pudding and a little Turkish food stand
Serpil set up Turkish Gozleme as a stand at Bury Market in November 2019. She previously worked at a vegetarian café in Bolton for 15 years and when that closed she took her food to festivals. The experience was tiring, “Constantly, pans in and out of the car,” she says. With the waiting list too long for a pitch at Piccadilly, she settled on a spot at Bury Market next to Chadwick’s Black Pudding.
The stall opens Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and the team also do catering for small events.
Whilst Turkish Gozleme caters to the gaggles of Bury Market’s perusing masses, in search of a quick sit with a tea or coffee, it also provides a unique proposition. A Turkish street food outpost inside the market’s frenetic hive of stalls, greasy spoon cafes and the odd chippy.
People perch on bar stools for Turkish tea served in traditional small glasses, whilst others stop for Turkish coffee served in decorated espresso cups with a cube of Turkish Delight on the side. Everything steaming as a bracing wind nips away at the exposed corners of the market.
Whilst tea and coffee are welcome, and an orange polenta cake or baklava on the counter appetising, the headliner here is Gozleme.
Filled pastry, full stomach
Pronounced "gerz-leh-meh", Gozleme is a flat, filled pastry, the dough typically unleavened and made with flour, water and salt. Serpil uses a bit of yeast in her dough and fills hers with spinach, mushroom, potato, feta and a choice of chicken or lamb mince. Each side is brushed with oil before being cooked on a grill.
The result is a light, slightly spongy snack with a little spice to the mince and a welcome punch of iron from the spinach. The joys of a Cornish Pasty without the carb overload. Food that's especially good for people who complain about crusts.
“If you want to feed children spinach,” Serpil tells me, “put it in Gozleme.” Serpil tells me it’s also really popular, in of all places, Australia. “It’s like fish and chips out there.”
As well as Gozleme, Serpil and co make shawarma, kofta kebabs and lahmacun, the latter a pizza-like flatbread topped with minced meat, tomato, peppers onion and garlic. Boat-like pide breads come topped with a choice of lamb mince and cheese or feta, cheddar and parsley. Borek, a filled flaky dough pastry is available with either a spinach and feta cheese or lamb and potato centre.
Soup, in lentil or chicken form, sits in a slow cooker waiting to warm the bones of nearby market traders.
Market watching and Turkish husbands
“When it’s warmer you get the big buses coming in,” Serpil tells me when I ask her about what it’s like to trade on the market. “It’s busy but it hasn’t been as busy since before the pandemic.”
It goes without saying that Turkish Gozleme sources many of its ingredients from the market. Whilst grocers I speak to tell me that fruit and veg have roughly stayed the same price, she tells me that many of the other ingredients have gone up.
Turkish Gozleme is popular with visitors and market traders alike. Sit in one of the cafes sprinkled across the market and you’ll see Aisha weaving in between crowds delivering lunches. A man in an electronics shop who hails from Istanbul tells me the food reminds him of home. Another on a phone stall says he only goes to two places and that’s one of them.
A woman paying for her and her husband’s Turkish breakfast (gozleme, egg, sucuk garlic sausage, feta, olives, tomato, cucumber, lettuce and Turkish tea) is also complimentary.
“It’s like being back in Turkey.” She tells me. “My husband doesn’t tend to like going to Turkish places because he says it’s never the same. You go to some places and [the gozleme] it’s frozen.”
“They work hard here. They make it here in front of everyone, even the bread’s fresh, and you don’t really get that nowadays.”
“Homemade, fresh, you can’t get any better than that.”
Turkish Gozleme, Unit 25, Edward Block C, Bury Market, 1 Murray Rd, Bury BL9 0BJ
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