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.