Grilled sweetbreads (Tr.: Uykuluk) with oregano and crushed Aleppo peppers

Sütlüce is a district of Istanbul on the Golden Horn that is also referred to as the sweetbreads district. A dozen sweetbread restaurants line the shore over a mile long stretch of the lagoon. 

Uykuluk is an old tradition in Istanbul, especially in this district. While it’s out of the way, it’s worth a visit if you’re an aficionado. Parboiled and finished on the grill, it has a sweet, nutty as well as gamey taste, which comes forward very well with the ubiquitous oregano and Aleppo pepper combination. 

I must say, folks who work with sweetbreads in other parts of Istanbul claim that in this district other glands of the animal are used as sweetbreads, replacing the saught after pancreatic and thymus sweetbreads. I am a big fan, regardless.

Sütlüce, Istanbul

Bangkok, this is no goodbye!

Having been on the move for most of the last 10 years, I always found myself in situations where I had to move on before my feelings for someone were ready to do so. I’ve often revisited relationships on a continuum. I recognize that this can be emotionally taxing sometimes and that it always requires what I call ‘emotional flexibility’.

After a couple cups of chai at the Chennai Airport with fellow travelers, I Armenianed (i.e. ‘Jewed’) down the price of the tuk tuk to the bus terminal. Of course, he took me to a spot a mile away on the same route as the buses to Pondicherry. All the while, I was negotiating the price for a 6 mile distance. After drinking a couple more chais with the tuk tuk driver’s son and friend, I finally got on the bus with the bright moon.

The ECR (East Coast Road) is beautiful — Pondicherry is a straight shot from Chennai, no windy roads. Unlike the mountainous Mumbai - Goa route. 

Everyone was asleep and the windows were open when I got on the bus. The ocean shimmering between the trees, the strong wind, and the moonlight, made me feel as though I was on a late night boat in Istanbul, a sensation that I often try to rejoice whereever I can. That’s why late night commutes in Mumbai from the restaurant were no bother! 

As I was going through all this in my head, I realized my relationship with Bangkok was such a love affair, one that will continue when paths cross again. Great preperations, unique flavors, fresh and fermened ingredients, and people passionate about food… Yes, Bangkok, this is no goodbye. 

While not very commonly used in Thai cuisine, keffir limes have some of the most pungent aroma of all citrus I’ve ever smelled. It’s pungent and floral at the same time. And as an eggplant lover, it’s just tremendous to find tiny marble sized eggplants, oblong young eggplants, round yellow, green and purple eggplants. Khloeng Toey, the largest wet market in Bangkok, is definitely an eye opener. 

Khlong Toey, Bangkok, Thailand