Pidesun is a reference point for pide in Istanbul. Pide, a crispier more elongated version of pizza, is a staple wood-oven baked dish with cheesy and meaty toppings. What it lacks in tomato sauce pide makes up for with dripping, melted kaşar cheese (a cousin of the rudimentary provolone) and different cuts of meat or vegetables.
Context: The -sun suffix in the name comes from Samsun, a city in Northern Turkey. The north is for some reason famous for its thin and crispy pides. Generations of pide masters are operating their small casual shops in the mountainous and rainy region. So much so that pide tastes and styles vary from village to village, a 10-minute drive away. Not too dissimilar to teh Italian countryside, both in its stubborn pickiness and demographic colours.
What to order:
Order what you like, it’s a very self-explanatory menu. I personally enjoy kıymalı-kaşarlı (minced meat with cheese) or the kavurmalı-kaşarlı (braised meat and cheese). An optional little touch would be to have the baker crack an egg on top of the pide, and spread the yolk around when eating.
Pidesun is one of those places where the pides will get you full but won’t make you feel bloated like a big pizza. It’s ideal for lunch. You won’t find alcohol here but their homemade ayran is thick and savory, a perfect pairing for a light pide.
What to know:
A good kavurma-kaşlarlı means slanted thin slices on an elongated eye shaped base with a thin, crispy and never-ever soggy bottom. The cheese id thoroughly melted but is not oozing out of any hole and is a cushioning bed for the cooked meat on top. With kavurma, a pre-braised delicacy, the meat is already cooked, but the fat renders better in a high heat oven. With kıymalı, the minced meat and finely chopped and spiced vegetables usually get cooked easily.
There is no right or wrong way to eat a pide, just take a slice with your hands dip it in your egg yolk and eat it in two bites.
Note: In my humble opinion, the pide outranks the pizza because of the ease of consumption, lighter dough, textural contrast and fattier cheese. If Turkish pide masters crack how to introduce more umami to their pides with more aged cheeses and salça concoctions (Turkish spiced tomato paste), Italy’s reign on the dough will be no mo’.