This small place in a quiet corner of the old city is the boza capital of Istanbul. You might be wondering what boza is – it’s a bizarre drink! Made from maize and fermented wheat, it has a thick consistency – so much that you can almost eat it with a spoon. Historically, the season for boza is fall until mid-spring, so if you’re in Istanbul during these times, go for a boza and see if you like it – it’s one of those things that people either love or hate.
The tradition is to put cinnamon on boza and have it with leblebi – roasted chickpeas. I actually enjoy the atmosphere here and leblebi more than the boza! Unfortunately Vefa doesn’t sell it but there is a tiny shop just across that roasts fresh leblebi.
Vefa Bozacısı is quite a big company now, so they also produce boza in bottles that you can enjoy at home (if you’re that in love with it!).
The shop is open year round, and in summer you can try more refreshing alternatives as the old-timer tamarind juice or şıra, another grape drink. Don’t worry if you don’t have an adventurous taste in food, they have lemonade too!
Tip for bookworms: For those who have read Orhan Pamuk’s ”A Strangeness in My Mind”, this is the drink that the main character, Mevlut, sells in the streets!