Posted by: mollyscafeistanbul | August 18, 2009

people on my street (1)

when i was a kid in canada, the knife sharpener would come around our suburban streets and in the city i could see the roasted chestnut sellers.  those are probably long gone, but in istanbul there are still many people who sell their wares on the street, including the street that molly’s cafe is on..

The salebci stops by molly’s café at least once a day, as more often than not I step outside to buy a plastic cup of salep. This is a hot drink offered only in the winter season. It is made from dried orchid tuber flour, sugar, and milk, with cinnamon sprinkled on the top. It tastes like hot ice cream. The salep seller is a grizzled middle-aged man who comes every winter to Istanbul from Karamanmaras, which is famous for its orchid roots. He pushes a cart with a large brass urn on it, heated by a gas canister. In the old days it was probably heated by a charcoal burner. He makes the salep himself and covers his territory, especially around the mosque next door to molly’s cafe and up into the square. I don’t know what he does the rest of the year, but his hands are thick and look like he has done a lot of

salep seller

salep seller

hard labour with them. He has been selling salep in Istanbul for 30 years and now every winter he comes to molly’s cafe every day.


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