Monday, May 2, 2011

Sultan Tea and Mesir Macunu Paste - Manisa

Another attempt at random travelling was succeeded over the weekend. Upon waking on Sunday afternoon, I was directed by my host mom that we would be travelling for a cup of tea and relaxation, as the entire family needed it. Laying an hour drive from Izmir, Turkey is the ancient city, Manisa. We ate a light lunch of macaroni and kofte (meatballs) and prepared for the short drive.

The moment you arrive in Manisa you can feel the religious and mind-provoking atmosphere. The city itself is home to 5 of the past historical sultans of Ottoman Empire and was the training grounds for many upcoming princes. While the city is quite modern and hosts various options, one can still see or feel the history, Ottoman architecture, and spiritual aura. Manisa is home to many ancient thinkers and philosophers; that of religion, politics, family, and health.

Inside of Ayni Ali

Collection of Nargile/Waterpipes
There is a quaint and popular area, the Sultan Mosque, where there is a cafĂ© named Ayni Ali, where we went to enjoy Sultan Cayi (spiced tea), Nargile (Hookah), and Turkish coffee. Of course I had my fortune read, which seemed to be much more in depth than times before. The quaint, relaxed, peaceful, and spiritual aura seems to permeate one into thinking more profoundly. The other thing that Manisa is highly known for is Manisa Mesir Macunu, an herbal spice paste, which is delicious and very healthy for you.

Another style of preparing Turkish coffee over coals.

The story behind this paste is Ayse Hafsa Sultan, the Sultans wife, being very ill after her husband’s death with no cure found from doctors. After receiving word that the Sultans wife was ill, Merkez Muslihiddin Efendi he mixed 41 different types of plants and spices together to form a medicinal paste and sent it to the palace. When the Sultans wife ate this paste she regained health. After this finding, they decided that this paste should be available to everyone. So they chose March 21st, the start of spring, to make a festival distributing and "tossing" the paste to public.

Below is a list of spices and herbs used in making the Mesir Paste, along with their Turkish and Latin names:
  • Allspice (Yeni bahar)
  • Alpina officinarum root (Havlican koku)
  • Anise (Anason)
  • Black cumin (Corek otu)
  • Black myrobalan (Kara halile)
  • Black pepper (Karabiber)
  • Buckthorn (Topalak or Akdiken)
  • Cardamon (Kakule)
  • Cassia (Hiyarsenbe)
  • Chebulic myrobalan (Kara halile)
  • China root (Cop-i cini)
  • Cinnamon (Tarcin)
  • Cloves (Karanfil)
  • Coconut (Hindistan cevizi)
  • Coriander (Kisnis)
  • Cubeb (Kebabe)
  • Cumin (Kimyon)
  • Dried orange blossom (Portakal cicegi)
  • Fennel (Rezene)
  • Galingale (Havlican)
  • Ginger (Zencefil)
  • Iksir sugar (Iksir sekeri)
  • India blossom (Hindistan cicegi)
  • Java pepper (Kuyruklu biber)
  • Licorice extract (Meyan bali)
  • Licorice root (Meyan koku)
  • Mastic (Cam sakizi)
  • Millet (Hintdarisi)
  • Myrrh (Murrusafi)
  • Muskroot (Sumbul)
  • Mustard seed (Hardal tohumu)
  • Orange peel (Portakal kabugu)
  • Rhubarb (Ravend)
  • Saffron (Safran)
  • Citric acid (Limon tuzu)
  • Senna (Sinameki)
  • Turmeric (Zerdecal)
  • Udulkahr (Udulkahir)
  • Vanilla (Vanilya)
  • Woad (Civit)
  • Yellow myrobalan (Sari halile)
Easiest way for me to eat it: Bite off a small piece, and then suck on it. This will prevent it from being all stuck in your teeth, as it is a very sticky and tacky substance.

If you make a journey to Turkey and see the costumed individuals selling this paste on the street, take a leap and spend the 5TL. It is worth it and highly recommended.

Making the most of every day is what I try to do, and while staying in Turkey, I may not be doing anything extravagant; however, the simple thing, new opinions, and new knowledge are what make my day. When travelling, even your home town, open your eyes and smell your surroundings. It can be very amazing what you might realize and come to find even in your own back yard or a foreign country.


Nadir said...

I have never been to Manisa and you made it sound so exciting :D i just wonder how you ate Mesir Paste :D it's kinda difficult to eat it:s

dilek sayin said...

heyy :) here is my hommetown :)

DustinTv said...

@Nadir Yeh, its really tough to eat, but my method is biting a piece and not chew it! It last longer and doesnt get all stuck in your teeth! ;)

@Dilek Yes I know I think about you everytime I go there! :D

Anonymous said...

A lot of people thinks that this city is really like a heaven.And we planing on going to Manisa with my family this year for a good vacation.