One of the street foods unique to İzmir is lokma. Lokma is a bite-sized pastry made of fried dough soaked in sugar syrup or honey and cinnamon, typically shaped into a ring or ball. It was cooked by palace cooks in the Ottoman Empire for centuries and influenced by other countries cuisines of the former countries of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans, Middle East and the Caucasus. While in the former Ottoman countries such as Iraq and Greece it is an ordinary dessert, it has a ceremonial meaning in Turkey and is generally not consumed as an everyday dessert. Traditionally, forty days after someone passes away, close relatives and friends of the deceased cook Lokma in large quantities and serve to neighbours and passersby. People form queues to get a plate and recite a prayer for the soul of the deceased in return after eating the Lokma.
It is a common treat especially in the west part of the country and there are special companies in this area making lokma for such occasions. They take big cauldrons to the place they are invited and make lokma right there. It’s not surprising to see people in long queues in front of these cauldrons since that they are popular and given away for free!
When we walk into the streets of Izmir; we enter this lokma shop: Lokmella. It is almost impossible to sell the traditional lokma. Because it is distributed free of charge at just about every corner in izmir.
The new trend is the new generation of lokma shops, which are a different example of entrepreneurship.
The difference of new generation lokma from traditional lokma dessert is that no sherbet is poured. Cream, chocolate or different fillings are made into the dough and served with various sauces and decorations. Chocolate is the most preferred but there are almost 40 different varieties such as caramel, tahini, blackberry, ice cream, biscuit!
The modernization in of a traditional flavor with a brand new marketing strategy is very tasty for some. However, some believe that this traditional food, which has not changed for centuries, should not be spoiled. They say it’s not a lokma anymore, it’s name got to be something else.
However, the name continues to be said as the next generation lokma.
If you ask us, it’s not important the name but the taste. Because it really tastes so good.
Alsancak Mahallesi, 1480. Sk. 3 B, 35220 Konak/İzmir