Boza ‘Bee’ with Toasted Chickpeas


Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in


By David Dale and Somer Sivrioglu

Published 2015

  • About

Boza is a sweet slightly fermented drink that originated in the Balkans in the ninth century and is now associated with the suburbs of Istanbul. When I was a kid, I would look forward to hearing the cries of the food sellers who would pass by our house in the afternoon. The one I enjoyed the most came past at the end of a winter’s day as the sky was darkening. He would stretch out the cry as long as he could: ‘Bohhhhh-zaaaaa’. You would bring him a bottle, and the boza man would fill it by turning a tap in a big tank he carried on his back.

The street sellers are gone now. If you want to drink boza in Istanbul, you must go to the shop known as Vefa, which opened in 1876 in a suburb called Vefa. Between October and April they sell boza (and pickles). The rest of the year they sell grape sherbet, lemonade and ice cream. If it’s a quiet day, they’ll show you the glass from which Kemal Atatürk drank Vefa boza the year before he died (1937). Presumably he couldn’t hear the cry of the street seller from inside his palace.