When I first came to Turkey, one dish that I wholeheartedly indulged in was Shish kebabs. It was a safe choice. Large chunks of meat, with peppers and onions, were placed on a skewer and grilled. Simple and not too much of a culture shock for my palate that was so used to British food. Later, while driving through the Aegean town of Soke, my friend recommended Çöp Sis kebab.
The town is famous for it and on the main D525 road, opposite the army base; we drove past a long line of ten or more restaurants, just serving çöp sis kebabs, and nothing else!
But I was confused for two reasons.
1: Why do Turks insist on setting up shops and restaurants, next to numerous other places that sell exactly the same item? Many years later, I was informed that it is a throwback tradition to the Ottoman days. It makes it easier for the shopper. Ok, that makes sense but not for the owner of the business!
2: The second question, was that the Turkish word çöp translated, meant garbage! Therefore, would I be indulging in a garbage kebab?
No, my fear was ungrounded. It was explained that çöp sis kebabs, are the smaller, scrap ends of the meat and also a little bit of fat. There is nothing wrong with them. They just do not fit the typical size required for a Shish kebab.
The Çöp Sis Restaurants of Soke
That was approximately 12 years ago, and repeatedly, I return to those çöp sis restaurants to indulge in one of my favourite Turkish dishes. The small size of them is ample enough for an appetizer or if you can eat loads, order them as a main course. They are mostly accompanied with salad and thin dough bread though, so is it better to order as you eat.
I am slowly trying out each restaurant in an attempt to discover which one is the best. However from time to time, they change chefs and owners, so I have to start again. What an ordeal!
Recommendation: Ilhan Usta Çöp Sis restaurant seems to be popular with locals of Soke. I tried it out and the food was delicious, service was impeccable and the prices were ridiculously cheap.
He also lets you take charge of the grill if you ask politely!
(Readers Note : The spelling of “sis” using the Turkish language is not correct but unfortunately, there is a technical glitch and I can not type some of the Turkish characters in their alphabet)