Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Europe >
Mar 13, 2009 02:23 PM

Turkey / Istanbul / Kokorec

I looked at Kokorec today, I saw it raw on a few markets and I could actually see the center of one of these skewers on the grill.

It seems the intestines is around something that looks like pure fat. Is it correct that its just intestine wrapped around animal fat or is the center something else?

Haven't yet eaten it, still debating. It doesn't smell too nice.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. It is probably lamb suet. Well it is intestines, so it wouldn't smell like apricots and honey; but I kind of like that smell (only once in a while though). Imho an extra spicy sandwich at Sampiyon is something I wouldn't have missed. But hey, I am an offal freak.

    If it still smells nasty, you can also try the fried mussels served with walnut sauce (usually very light on walnuts these days but oh well). This is another highlight of Istanbul street food scene. Wherever there is kokorec, there is chance that you'll find mussels. It's been a while but I think Sampiyon's was pretty decent. Mercan's as well.

    You can order both in "ceyrek ekmek" (chey-reak ek-mek), literally translated as "quarter bread", served in a quarter (duh!) of a typical Turkish bread. Basically, it is a half portion (regular is served in half bread). Good for mix and matching and also if you're sure that you can't eat that much intestine.

    2 Replies
    1. re: emerilcantcook

      I skipped, is my last night. I was torn but had too little time and this is certainly not a mid morning snack. I found it all over the place actually, the most appealing at least to me was at the docks close to the Bosphorus Bridge, it was sold from tiny charcoal grills where the ferries leave.

      Next time maybe.

      For the suet, if I understand right what that is I don't think a lamb has that much of it. If you look at it, I would say 70 or more % are the white gobbly fatty stuff .... I say intestine on markets all over the place, I didn't see suet so but it looks like the majority on that skewer.

      Oh, and Emeril can cook. I ate at his place in Miami. It was pretty decent. It is one thing doing it on TV for your average walmart customer, it's another doing it in his restaurant. Only portion sizes were the same I guess.

      1. re: jk1002

        Suet is the fatty stuff that you were asking about. It is what the intestines are wrapped around. At least that is what I used to taste, and what my Turkish cookbook resources suggest.

    2. It might be a little late to be useful, but I make it every year for Greek Easter. The inside is made of offal - usually liver, spleen, lung and sweet breads. We do add a bit of fat, skewer everthing and then wrap it in intestine.
      The thing to be careful is how the intestines are cleaned. I would hesitate to eat from a questionable establishment.

      But you do get addicted once you start!

      4 Replies
      1. re: peter2

        Hi Peter,
        The Greek version is a little different than the Turkish ones in that that it has more offal in it. Turkish version is just intestines, spices, suet, and maybe some tomatoes. Both yummy, and hard to say no :)

        1. re: emerilcantcook

          I stand corrected.

          Now I wanna go back to Istanbul and try it.

          I was unwilling from the street vendors because I was afraid of the sanitary conditions.

          1. re: emerilcantcook

            Is in the greek version the intestine used like we use it here in US as a natural sausage casing? So it's merely a layer?


            I wonder how many people really know what goes into their bun? I remember when I found out as a kid I used to peel my hot dog sausages for a few years ......

            1. re: jk1002

              It is not a sausage type casing where it is stuffed, rather they wrap it around other ingredients as an outer layer. Just like a yarn. Here is a demo: