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 Post subject: Cigkoftem
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 7:17 am 
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Has anyone else discovered this Turkish fast food chain?

They've got franchises in a number of European countries and now it looks like they've opened in New York and New Jersey. I saw it mentioned on Happy Cow once so when one opened halfway between work and home I had to stop in.

They have one item with meat in it (a side dish) and I think they have baklava with honey, but their main focus - the cig - is completely vegan. From the pictures I saw online, I thought it was going to be felafel-like, but it turns out that it's completely raw and served cold. It's a sort of paste made from soaked bulgur, walnuts, tomato, and spices. They form it into these little cigar-shaped blobs which you eat on wraps with lettuce and fresh herbs (mint and cilantro), a squeeze of lemon juice, and a sweet, tangy pomegranate sauce. They come in mild and spicy. It's really really fresh and yummy, and oddly addictive.

Has anyone else been there? If not, and you live or visit one of the places where they've got a franchise, I can highly recommend it. (Their own website is a bit weirdly focused on selling franchises more than on the product itself, but you can get an idea of all their locations.)

(Mods, I wasn't sure where to put this. It's not about cooking but it is about food. If you think it belongs elsewhere, please move it!)

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 Post subject: Re: Cigkoftem
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:24 am 
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We have a franchise within walking distance now, and have been planning to give it a try. The idea that the stuff is cold puts me off a little though, but now you said that it tastes good, I feel more motivated try it.

Would it make a good dinner, or is it more of a snack/lunch item?

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 Post subject: Re: Cigkoftem
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:42 am 
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Cornelie, I think you were the one who first mentioned to me that it was cold! I had the same reluctance to try it because of that, but it really is yummy.

RE: Dinner vs. lunch/snack, because it's cold and sandwichy/wrappy it might feel more lunch-like, but you do get a lot of food for your money, and it's certainly filling so if the cold thing doesn't bother you, it can make a great dinner (especially on a nice hot day). They only do takeaway starting with one of the package deals (I think with 15 cigs), so I actually had it for dinner one night and had enough leftover for a significant lunch the next day.

It's hard to describe it. It sounds/looks really weird but tastes really fresh!

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 Post subject: Re: Cigkoftem
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:53 am 
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I've been there, and it was good! I had the spicy one, which was SUPER spicy, but I like that. I almost ordered the side-dish with meat in it, but luckily the guy stopped me. I was surprised at the low prices, too.


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 Post subject: Re: Cigkoftem
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:07 am 
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That's cool that he warned you! I was surprised when I saw it on their menu because I think the traditional Turkish Cigkofte is also meat, and since they made this veggie, I assumed they'd make their sides veggie too.

I got the spicy too and was also surprised by how spicy it was! So yeah, if you're not a fan of hot and spicy, the mild would be the way to go.

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 Post subject: Re: Cigkoftem
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:33 am 
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I love çiğ köfte! Spicy, healthy, vegan...

It does traditionally have raw meat in it (çiğ means raw), but due to health regulations, they've been making it without for a while now. It was always one of my favorite vegan meals in Turkey. So excited they're franchising in the states!

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 Post subject: Re: Cigkoftem
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:37 am 
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I would be very interested in trying it- it looks delicious.

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 Post subject: Re: Cigkoftem
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:01 pm 
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It sounds really unappealing, but I do love spicy, and I'm pretty much willing to try anything vegan at least once. It doesn't sound like there are any near me yet, but maybe eventually, and it's something to keep in mind if I'm traveling.

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 Post subject: Re: Cigkoftem
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:49 pm 
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Maybe they went with the vegan version as well since it sounds way more marketable and delicious than the raw meat version?


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 Post subject: Re: Cigkoftem
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 1:32 pm 
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We got the cigkoftem tonight and it was really good! It is cold, but not in a bad way. It came with wraps, nice fresh lettuce (a whole head!), half a lemon, a small container of sauce and herbs.

We had a package of 20 (mild for me and spicy for my partner) and that made a big dinner that we could barely eat.

The guy in the shop was really nice too. We had a little chat and it turned out he didn't know what veganism is and that his products are actually vegan as well as vegetarian! So I explained that vegan means that food doesn't contain any animal products (he confirmed that there were no eggs, dairy or meat in his food) and that he can have a 'vegan friendly' sign from the Dutch vegan society on his shop (he already has a big neon sign from the vegetarian society on his roof).

We'll definitely get food there again!

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 Post subject: Re: Cigkoftem
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 5:52 pm 
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fascinating! i wonder if they're ever going to have an english website (because i couldn't navigate the turkish website, and couldn't find any list of addresses of the current franchises)

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 Post subject: Re: Cigkoftem
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 1:08 am 
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Well, in the top right corner of www.cigkoftem.com you can click a tiny button with the English flag on it, and that will bring you to the English site where you can see the 'branches' (=franchises) per country and city.

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 Post subject: Re: Cigkoftem
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 7:58 am 
Invented Vegan Meringue
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thanks, cornelie! :-)

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