Avanos, Turkey: Search for the Red Clay Turkish Pottery for Pottery Kebabs

by jenjenk on November 28, 2011

Pottery Earthenware“Be sure to have the Pottery Kebabs,” advised a few blogs and guidebooks that I my friend, Carrie, read. When we reached Cappadocia, Dibek was the first restaurant we stumbled into [not because we were drunk...I just stumble a lot] which is known for it’s Pottery Kebabs, very similar to a salty stew cooked in a one time use vase like pottery. The stew had to be pre-ordered when you made your reservation, which we didn’t even bother to make. I watched in envy as all the other tables were presented with piping hot pottery, skillfully cracked in one whack, and carefully poured into a shallow bowl, steaming hot.

The kitchy presentation of the Pottery Kebab was unique enough to make me want to purchase some of my own so that I could try my hand at making it when I got home.  Our hosts at Kelebek Cave Hotel recommended a visit to Avanos which was only about 20 minutes away by car.  Avanos is known for its earthenware pottery that is still the largest industry in that town.  You can still see the women artisans painting beautiful earthenware.

We searched for my pottery up and down the streets of the historic town dating back to the Hittites and came across a potter. Well, not exactly a potter, he was more a shopkeeper.  But for some unfathomable reason, he thought he was a potter.  He wanted to demonstrate his mad skills to us.  The only problem was that I actually knew how to throw a pot.  I know the first thing you need to do is to center the slab of clay, something he apparently was not taught.

As he worked his slab of clay into an unrecognizable mass of clay, we sat there in morbid fascination wondering how he was going to extricate himself from this pile of poo he managed to put himself in.  He offered to allow us to throw, which we declined because we still wanted to see how he would finish off his work – (a) build up his bowl so high that it collapsed on itself, (b) fake a seizure, or (c) throw the bowl at us. He kept looking at the door in hopes that someone would walk in and he’d be forced to stop. Luck was not with him, so he helplessly finished off his work and presented us with this pot that looked like a 3 year old had thrown it. We started laughing because there was really no other graceful way we could get out of it.  We thanked him for the entertainment and made our way back out.

I came across this vision…of…well. I’m not really sure. I saw this sign for a Hair Museum. I had to go in and check it out.  I walked through the caverns of pottery, some very beautiful, others a little more rustic.  When I finally reached the promised land, I couldn’t move I was so horrified by the strands and strands of hair hanging from the walls and the ceilings.  I didn’t want to get too close lest I actually touch any of the strands.

Although I didn’t actually go home with any pottery, I did leave a strand behind at the museum. I couldn’t help myself.

If you’d like to see my Pottery Kebab being served, check it out!

Dibek Restaurant [order 5 hours in advance]
Hakki Paşa Meydanı 1 Town Centre
0384 271 2209
 
Mercan Restaurant [no pre-ordering required, was a bit on the salty side]
Müze Caddesi Town Centre
0384 271 2476
 
Avanos
 
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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Jade November 28, 2011 at 8:58 am

that is awesome- I would have left a little note, too!
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jenjenk November 28, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Yeah, i felt a little weird leaving a hank of my hair though! :)

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Annie - FootTracker November 28, 2011 at 10:44 am

>.< Hair museum huh….it sounds interesting, but honestly I would be scared to touch any hair left there, wayyy to creepy for me XDD haha~

The pottery kebab does look good….(drools)
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jenjenk November 28, 2011 at 4:36 pm

We were so freaked out by all that hair but we just couldn’t walk away. it was like seeing a train wreck!

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Carrie November 28, 2011 at 1:47 pm

I’m still suspicious of Galip and all of that hair.

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jenjenk November 28, 2011 at 4:39 pm

Listen, we never found the dead bodies of the people who might’ve owned the hair so it’s all conjecture on our part… ;-)
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Scott - Quirky Travel Guy November 28, 2011 at 11:44 pm

I’ve never heard of that food, but I would feel special eating anything that must be ordered five hours in advance.
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jenjenk November 30, 2011 at 1:45 am

that’s why i felt so compelled to try it!!! It’d be the perfect winter food! :)

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laurel November 29, 2011 at 11:30 am

Interesting stuff. I love your pottery demonstration, made all the more funny since you actually know how to do pottery and a Hair Museum? I’ve never heard of that before.
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jenjenk November 30, 2011 at 1:46 am

yeaaaaahhh….that hair museum was CRAZY!!!!

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inka November 29, 2011 at 3:22 pm

I admire your pottery skills. But what really was news to me was the hair museum. How freaky can you get?
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jenjenk November 30, 2011 at 1:46 am

right??? you’ll have to visit there the next time you’re in the area!

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Mark Wiens November 29, 2011 at 4:52 pm

That pot stew looks awesome, and that story about the shopkeeper is hilarious! I would have had to laugh too!
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jenjenk November 30, 2011 at 1:47 am

I wasn’t even sure HOW to respond. Thankfully, my friend, carrie started laughing, which had us all laughing!

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Michael Figueiredo November 29, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Very cool! I love the idea of leaving little personalized notes :)
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jenjenk November 30, 2011 at 1:47 am

…and just a little DNA. ;)

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Shani November 29, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Oh that hair museum sounds so disgusting and hilarious all at the same time!

We just went to Cappadocia in October and had our own “adventure” with the clay pots. My husband had been dying to try one out during our entire trip, but we wanted to wait until Cappadocia as it is obviously their special! So we found a restaurant that we didn’t have to pre-order, and with much fanfare we cracked open our pots with a sword and dug in! Unfortunately, Todd got a special surprise in his pottery – no it wasn’t a big bug, but a large chunk of glass right into the roof of his mouth. Ouch!
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jenjenk November 30, 2011 at 1:49 am

Oh, no! That is TERRIBLE!!! that’s not anything I would have expected!!! :(

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Andrea November 30, 2011 at 6:26 am

Wow, delicious – sad we didn’t get to try this!!
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Turkey's For Life November 30, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Errrm, not into that hair museum – although it’s hilarious you left your mark there, too. Might just have had to do the same.
The pottery kebab is called desti kebab. They’re the new tourist fashion in Fethiye so if you don;t need to order in advance. The restaurants are positively begging you to order one because they have so many ready-prepared. ;)
Julia
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jenjenk December 1, 2011 at 11:41 pm

desti kebab…good to know!! It’s just the perfect cold weather food as far as i’m concerned!!

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Red Nomad OZ November 30, 2011 at 10:36 pm

Sensational!! I wonder what the archaologists of the future will make of a HAIR museum? That is SO weird … And the potter? Maybe it was a set up – and he really was the entertainment!!!
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jenjenk December 1, 2011 at 11:41 pm

They will probably think it’s some sort of keepsake museum! or how we disposed of people! ahahah!

yeah, i wish i could say it was a set up…i just suspect that he really thought we’d want to try our hand at throwing a pot!

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Christy @ Technosyncratic December 1, 2011 at 1:37 am

That hair museum is sooooo weird…. so of course I sort of dig it. ;) And this is totally random, but I really want to take a pottery class someday; it seems like it would be fun and therapeutic to mold clay like that.
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jenjenk December 1, 2011 at 11:39 pm

Love it in a weird, freaky kind of way!! The best part of pottery is centering the clay…sooooo zen. I hate everything that comes after because I’m so bad! ;-)

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Christy @ Ordinary Traveler December 1, 2011 at 10:39 pm

Bummer you didn’t get any of that stew. It looks delicious!
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jenjenk December 1, 2011 at 11:37 pm

I did get to another place that had it, though, so we’re all good! ;-)

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Cathy Sweeney December 2, 2011 at 9:29 am

All very cool, but the Hair Museum?? Oh my…. I think I’d have to leave a strand behind, too. Nice pics!
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Natalie December 2, 2011 at 11:07 pm

Ha ha. I loved when reading your story of the potter. That was so funny. I never knew about the hair museum until after I had left. The kebab is called the Testi kebab. One of many if you have a look at this list. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_kebabs
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Shonda @ Abundant Journeys December 9, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Making our rounds from the Carnival of Cities. Pottery kebabs, not that is interesting, and right up my alley. Thank you for making it easy to promote your post… I like to stumble and digg.
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jenjenk December 12, 2011 at 10:35 pm

the pottery kebab was wonderful! :) thanks for visiting!!

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