The aim of Topik is to present ‘food without borders’, creating a space to explore and taste the foods of many different minority cultures as well as more well known Turkish dishes.
The name ‘Topik’ comes from an Istanbul Armenian meze dish, traditionally eaten at Easter, Christmas and on New Year’s eve. Unlike other mezes, Topik takes a long time to prepare, so it is rarely found in the meze and Raki taverns (called Meyhane) and lokanta (restaurants) of Istanbul, instead it is normally served at family gatherings. Even though I was born and raised in Turkey, it was not until I was 22 – a decade ago – as a guest at my Armenian friend’s Easter meal, that I came across the meze dish ‘Topik’. I subsequently realised that there is a hidden world of foods, from various minorities living in Istanbul and modern day Turkey, which originate from the old, multi-cultural Anatolia and Istanbul.
As ‘Topik’ was my own personal doorway to the forgotten and displaced foods of Turkey, I thought it apt to name my project after it, hopefully opening this same doorway to others.