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ISO Armenian "pastrami", aka Basturma...

arisp Feb 15, 2011 04:54 PM

Any place in the city that sells this, preferably fresh and not vacuum packed? Having moved here from LA recently, I find there is a dearth of decent middle eastern deli choices in this city, not to mention a complete absence of a real middle eastern market (which is a whole other debate)... Anyway, any help would be appreciated.

  1. t
    tjdnewyork Feb 15, 2011 04:57 PM

    Welcome to New York. You'll find that we have very little in the way of Armenian food, especially compared to LA. The one place I can think of that probably sells basturma, though, is Kalustyan's over in Curry Hill in Manhattan.

    123 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

    1 Reply
    1. re: tjdnewyork
      tex.s.toast Feb 16, 2011 12:40 PM

      kalustyan's definitely carries this, though im not sure how they would sell it if you were looking to prepare it at home - ive had it on a sandwich there, and i believe they sliced it to order, so perhaps they could sell you a whole piece?

      edited to add: try going upstairs and asking about it at the deli counter, though every employee there seems to have a magically impressive knowledge of their ridiculously expansive offerings.

    2. MVNYC Feb 15, 2011 07:30 PM

      You can check for specific items on menupages. I have not tried any of these but hopefully this helps. Seems like a lot of the places are in Brooklyn so you might want to ask on the Outer Boroughs Board


      Checkout Lau's Blog on Kaluystyan's


      I have not had the basturma but everything else I have tried is good there.

      3 Replies
      1. re: MVNYC
        Lau Feb 16, 2011 06:12 PM

        haha i just saw you already got me

        1. re: Lau
          MVNYC Feb 17, 2011 11:12 AM

          Your blog is on my read rotation as you have turned me on to some good places (and also sealed up Singapore as a destination this year). I hit up the Kalustyans Cafe 3-5 times a year but have never gotten the Basturma. I didn't even know the guy who ran it was Armenian. Everything else there is good though.

          123 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

          1. re: MVNYC
            Lau Feb 17, 2011 11:22 AM

            haha glad you like the blog....if you go to singapore def ask the guys on the china & southeast asia blog for singapore recs as they are very helpful and i have a few recs on my blog

            also ieatishootipost.sg is a great blog i found about hawker food. its definitely very chinese-centric and specifically the guy has very teochew tastes (singapore's population consistes of chinese mainly hokkien, teochew and to a lesser degree cantonese, hainanese and hakka + malay and south indian), but its very comprehensive and there are some great places on it. singapore has great food you will really enjoy the food there, besides the fact that i did study abroad there and have some emotional ties to the place, the food is the main reason i go

            yah that place has a huge amt of stuff in it, so easy to get lost, but i believe he is armenian

      2. m
        Mr Porkchop Feb 16, 2011 04:21 PM

        As a former Angelino of Armenian descent, LA certainly wins in this area. As others have mentioned, Kalustyan's might be a good place to start. In the Outer Boroughs Sunnyside used to have an Armenian community, but it doesn't show itself in storefronts much anymore. A lot fo the markets there are Turkish now, funny enough. Most Armenians I meet are from the Former Soviet Republic and tend to suggest markets and restaurants way out in Brighton, so maybe someplace out there will have some pan-FSU goods to fit your needs. I know there's some Georgian food you can find out there, but not sure how Georgian basturma compares, or if it'd be worth the hike.

        123 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

        2 Replies
        1. re: Mr Porkchop
          Lau Feb 16, 2011 06:13 PM

          LA definitely wins in Armenian, there isn't a concentrated population like there in LA (glendale etc)

          i really like armenian food so its ashame they dont have it here

          1. re: Mr Porkchop
            JFores Feb 17, 2011 11:38 AM

            There's loads of Armenian stuff in Brighton now. I could name four or so restaurants, a bakery and a couple of markets just off the top of my head. That's undoubtedly the epicenter of the community and it's overwhelmingly former Soviet rather than former Ottoman.

            Also, Astoria and Bay Ridge would both have a bunch of markets that would carry a lot of what you're looking for. Complaining that the city doesn't have any good Arab markets when those two areas contain probably 95% of NYC's Arabic speakers seems a little irrelevant.

          2. l
            Lau Feb 16, 2011 06:12 PM

            i just did a review on this actually, you can get it at kalustyan's: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/765746

            1. a
              Ann900 Feb 17, 2011 12:23 PM

              Garden of Eden stores carry it. I buy it at their store on Broadway and 107 - but most of their stores carry it all the time Not prepackaged - they slice it to order.

              Garden of Eden
              7 E 14th St, New York, NY 10003

              1. d
                doubledoc Feb 17, 2011 12:55 PM

                Didn't Dickson's farmhouse meats in Chelsea Market have something similar to this?

                1 Reply
                1. re: doubledoc
                  rose water Feb 17, 2011 04:50 PM

                  They have both beef and lamb pastrami at dickson's, but from my limited basturma experience, I think it's drier, leaner and funkier than the (delicious) pastrami at dickson's

                2. E Eto Feb 17, 2011 07:32 PM

                  True, not much of an Armenian community in NYC. Instead, try going for Turkish, which is nonexistent in LA, and find a place that offers pastirmali pide (Turkish pastrami pizza), like Ali Baba, or Mangal Kabab in Sunnyside. Can't find this stuff in LA.

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