The 19th Istanbul Jazz Festival concludes tonight with its grand finale at the Cemil Topuzlu Open Air Theater with Morrissey, an iconic figure in British alternative music and the lead singer and founder of the influential British rock band The Smiths. As a militant vegetarian and animal rights activist, Morrissey is known for changing the catering options at the festivals he plays and for the provocative messages he often gives from onstage against carnivorous eating habits.
Many will remember Morrissey’s message of greeting when he appeared in Istanbul for the first time on June 10, 2006, as part of the Efes Pilsen One Love Festival, which took place in Parkorman that year. Right after saying hello to the crowd the rock star dropped the name of late classical Turkish musician Zeki Müren before even introducing himself, to show his appreciation and knowledge of the prominent Turkish singer.
But few will remember how he reacted to the smell rising from the barbecue pits. Morrissey said he hoped the smell was coming from human flesh on fire, a phrase he notoriously repeated in 2009 before he walked off stage at the
music festival Coachella. In 2011, Lokerse Feesten, a festival held in Belgium, went meat-free for 24 hours the day Morrissey was scheduled to perform as the headlining act as part of a precondition Morrissey had forced festival organizers to sign before he agreed to play. According to information provided by the festival’s organizer, Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), during Morrissey’s concert no meat products will be served or sold at or around the concert venue. And the
is proud to announce that Istanbul has many, mouth-watering meat-free food options for the long-awaited star to nosh on rather than shish kebabs.
WHO SAYS NO VEGGIES IN ISTANBUL?
Contrary to popular assumptions, Istanbul offers a variety of vegetarian restaurants. Falafel House, near Taksim Square, is the place to enjoy Lebanese treats like falafel, hummus and tabbouleh. Miss Pizza, which has two branches in the same district, one in the Şişhane area and the other in Cihangir, serves delicious Italian pizza and the great majority of the items on the menu are vegetarian.
Fıccın Restaurant, also in Taksim area, is famous for its potato dumplings and other vegetarian delights from Caucasian and Ottoman cuisine. Parsifal Restaurant on İstiklal Avenue (in the Taksim area as well) is best known for its vegetarian hamburgers, in which the meat is replaced with a vegetarian chickpea patty (just like falafel) and its vegetarian version of “stuffed meatball,” a local food made from finely ground bulgur and walnut.
Istanbul also hosts Govinda, a global food chain which serves chiefly Indian food, in the same area. Finally, Turkish bulgur meatballs called “raw meatballs” (çiğköfte) are now completely vegetarian. Originally, the raw meatballs were made from uncooked meat kneaded with spices and finely ground bulgur. Presently, they are prepared without meat to maintain food safety and they are a full-spirited Turkish dish that suits vegetarian tastes.