It was 1996 when I first came upon a street seller who is completely different than others with his white and clean uniform and white cubical box on his arm selling içli köfte. Ever since then, we met with Ali Amca (Uncle Ali) every time I visited Istiklal street.
He was born in Kahramanmaras in the southeastern part of the country. He later migrated to Istanbul without money and spent many years struggling to establish a stable life. He then started selling homemade içli köfte which his wife made.
Written on a white box, “Sabırtaşı” means patience, and taş means stone or rock. Sabırtaşı is an adjective which describes the person to be as patient as a rock maybe describing a short summary of his life. İçliköfte is a special Turkish cuisine, köfte means meatloaf in Turkish, it also stands for meatballs and word “içli” suggests that there is some sort of stuffing or filling on the inside.
Although he opened a restaurant after 17 years, he was busy with the restaurant for one year only, then once again he could be seen in front of the restaurant building.
Uncle Ali passed in 2010 after spending 20 years of his life on Istiklal street, bearing through the harshest weather conditions without a single complaint every day and every night of the week. Today his family still runs their restaurant and his heritage white stand with his photo on the sides still stands in front of the building. Enjoy an “içliköfte” and remember Ali Amca.
Sabırtaşı | Snacks | One piece TL 3.50
10:00 – 22:00 daily