Talk about boujee.
This savory snack from the central Anatolian province of Kayseri is made from cured meat, a range of delicious spices and covered in gold flakes.
While Turkish cuisine is rich in taste, texture and variety, this pastırma-maker from Kayseri has turned the city’s famed cured meat creation into one of Turkey’s most expensive foods by covering it in edible gold. A kilogram of the golden pastırma currently sells for TL 800 ($98.30) at Kazancılar Bazaar. And if TL 800 seems a bit steep, a slice of the gold-plated pastırma goes for around TL 18.
Edible gold has been a huge food trend in recent years, even though it has been around for many centuries – Elizabethan Britons are known for using gold leaves to decorate their dishes. A Turkish chef, even baked edible 24-karat gold into a pizza, making headlines in 2019.
Pastırma is a traditional Turkish delicacy that has adorned dinner tables since Turks lived in Central Asia, and is often nicknamed Turkish pastrami or halal bacon. Made from meat cured in salt and covered in an aromatic spice paste called “çemen,” pastırma is the dish Turkey’s Kayseri province is best known for, besides perhaps mantı. Pastırma has been the main actor in many innovative dishes lately, most notably with Turkish-style sushi.
Tolga Korkutoğlu, the owner of the shop “Pastırmacı Tolga,” said that the golden twist wasn’t his idea but the result of multiple requests from his customers over the past year.
‘Plating gold with gold’
Pointing out that he was the first in Turkey to create and sell gold-plated pastırma, Korkutoğlu told Demirören News Agency (DHA): “We’ve been in the business for 30 years and have been making online sales through our website these past five years. We received requests for golden pastırma this last year and have been selling this (creation) for about six months now.” The making of this pastırma isn’t easy either as the process takes a whole day.
Korkutoğlu said social media, the emphasis on visuality and trends have forced them to think outside the box and push boundaries in the culinary world.
The pastırma-maker said that at first, many found it very strange but as soon as a few people tried it, they really liked it.
Stating that most of the reactions he has received so far have been positive, Korkutoğlu said the locals tell him that he has “plated (culinary) gold with gold,” referring to the importance of the food in Kayseri and Turkish food culture.
Assuring his customers that the gold he uses is 100% edible and won’t cause any digestive issues, Korkutoğlu said the high-quality gold leaf sheets are imported from a trusted seller abroad.
If you do get the chance to try this delicacy, don’t be alarmed if your toilet bowl seems to glisten more as gold is an inert metal, meaning it won’t be absorbed by the digestive system into your bloodstream, hence it will pass through your digestive tract and be eliminated as waste.