“Do you know what you want?” Ercan, one of the six brothers running Van Kahvalti Evi, Istanbul’s best breakfast spot, asks me. “Istanbul’s best breakfast” is a hard claim to defend in a sprawling city with more than 15 million people, but the queue outside the restaurant seems to confirm that this place is brunch royalty.

“Um, not really,” I answer. “Perfect… so everything,” he says with the smile of someone who has reused this joke multiple times over. “We’ll have the full kahvalti,” he tells the waiter.

Twenty two little white plates full of unknown goodies are in our future.

Chai-Turkish-tea-at-Van-Kahvalti

Breakfast in Turkey is a serious deal. The minimum is ten servings. Anything less doesn’t count as proper by Turkish traditional standards. Each dish is served on a tiny white plate making kahvalti (the Turkish word for this traditional breakfast, pronounced with a strong “t” at the end).

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The Kebab and Camel
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