In recent years, Konya has risen to a more and more important spot not only in terms of faith tourism but also gastronomic tourism. The tomb of Hz. Ateşbazı Veli (the head cook of Mevlana) is located in Konya, and now the cuisine that has taken shape in and around Konya since the 13th century is being carried on at a new place that opened up last year called Somatçı Fihi Ma Fih.
I visited the spot with Nevin Halıcı and Konya Mayor Tahir Akyürek. The truth is, there are really not so many restaurants where you can eat authentic Konya cuisine made true to its origins, especially the very particular style of home cooking for which the region is known. When Mayor Akyürek mentioned his desire to see the Konya mayoral residence turned into a place where, among other things, Konya-style foods could be put on display, Halıcı and I were naturally very excited. I do hope that this happens soon.
In any case, let us talk about the tastes available at the relatively new Somatçı Fihi Ma Fih. First of all, a somat is a dinner table set according to dervish lodge rules and traditions, while a somatçı is the person in charge of setting and clearing this particular kind of table. In fact, of the 18 duties tended to in a Mevlevi dervish lodge, the somatçı comes 10th. As for Mevlana’s words “Fihi Ma Fih,” they mean “whatever is in it is in it.”
As for us, we lifted our spoons to taste these foods, which bring together flavors from the past with a sense of modernity. This boutique spot opened after great efforts made by the very young expert, Ulaş Tekerkaya, and it is located in a restored Konya home that lies very close to the aforementioned tomb. There are international tastes served up here, as well as dishes such as tutmaç soup (made with yoghurt and cut pieces of dough), meat with figs, tava kebab and an incredibly delicious yoghurt and almond helva.
Tekerkaya pays very close and special attention to Mevlevi cuisine here, and this is partially reflected in the wide use of almonds, a reference to the inspiration that Mevlana took from this nut. The generous use of almonds adds an unforgettable taste to many of the dishes available here. Notably, there is no cooking oil used in these dishes! I advise you to taste the walnut pepper soup, the bulgur aşı, the spinach-milk börek, the meat with apricots, the creamed figs and the quince with pekmez. I would also like to take the time to really applaud the effort made at this spot to remain true to the real traditions of this kind of cuisine. I hope that Somatçı Fihi Ma Fih continues to focus on just the food itself, and to manage to bring this cuisine to the attention of the world.
Don’t forget, if your travels bring you to Konya, there is really nowhere else you’ll be able to taste these traditional dishes. And of course, do not neglect to enjoy the taste of vinegar mixed with honey (sirkencübin) on your food while here. [email protected]. İstanbul Today’s Zaman
Somatçı Fihi Ma Fih
Akçeşme Mah. Mengüç Cad. No. 36 Konya Tel.: 0 (332) 351 66 96 www.somatci.com
Somatçı Fihi Ma Fih boasts two rooms and a large salon. It can seat 120 people, and you can sample a wide variety of traditional Mevlevi cuisine here. The rooms are for groups of 10 or 14 people.
You can also avail yourself of the special weekend breakfast buffet for TL 15 per person.
Whatever else you do, please eat here!
Tutmaç soup: TL 6
Karamık soup: TL 5
Fihi Ma Fih soup: TL 6.50
Walnut pepper soup: TL 5.50
Salad: TL 3
Yoghurt and cacık: TL 4
Artichokes with spinach: TL 6.50
Meat sarma: TL 6
Olive oil dishes: TL 6
Bulgur aşı: TL 10
Spinach-milk börek: TL 5
Sirkencübin (vinegar and honey sauce): TL 3
Tava kebab: TL 19
Meat and figs: TL 19
Çömlek kebab: TL 16
Meat and apricots: TL 19
Almond helva: TL 7.50
Figs and cream: TL 5
Quince with almonds: TL 7.50