Although she is a ceramics technician, having been attached to cooking passionately since she was twenty, Suzan Soygür listened to her heart’s calling and opened Manca that serves homemade meals in March 2011. Rapidly coming into prominence among the boutique homemade meal restaurants of İstanbul’s Anatolian Side, Manca is very popular especially among the foreign customers who would like to taste the different flavors of the Turkish Cuisine. Whenever you visit Soygür’s place, running into at least a few foreigners who are digging into the cold specialties prepared with olive oil, homemade meatballs, or ravioli is guaranteed.

Everything is fresh
After graduating from Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University’s Department of Ceramics, Suzan Soygür became a part of a special program, which supports mentally disabled children in their literacy process for a while. Later, she stepped into the food industry, of which she has been dreaming for years, with Manca. Manca’s owner and chef Soygür gains credit with her specialties that are prepared with a mother’s touch in her restaurant located in Moda, Kadiköy. The fans of her tasty dishes are an entrenched mass that crowds the restaurant. Soygür has olive oil brought exclusively from Kilis. She opens the restaurant every morning at 08:00, shops from the same butcher for years, and purchases all materials fresh from the marketplace.

Has a boutique concept
Suzan Soygür who says that they are only closed on Sundays states that they offer monthly services covering three daily meals for some customers. Expressing that they also prepare meals for special days such as birthdays, anniversaries, and family reunions, Soygür says, “Our concept is boutique. We take active roles in different organizations to meet our customer’s needs. Nothing is standardized. For example, we ask our guests who come for breakfast what they would like to eat or what they love the most. We prepare everything according to their preferences. You might be a vegan or a vegetarian. Our dishes appeal to everyone’s taste.”

Manca means ‘food’
Suzan Soygür who considers Manca as a food store more than a restaurant prepares twenty specialties on a daily average with the help of her team of four. Suzan Soygür works with weekly charts at Manca that serves until 9 pm. She gave us the following information on their most liked specials: “Manca means food in many languages. Naming this place as Manca sounded so sincere to me. Meatballs with veggies, eggs with potatoes, gözleme, homemade meatballs, çiğ börek, cold dishes with olive oil, and stews are among the most preferred meals. We serve many different kinds of stews. Stuffed grape leaves with meat, Kilis kabob, okra with garbanzo beans and meat, sour meatballs are popular as well as our oven-baked rice pudding. We have customers who would like to come to our restaurant to eat as well as those who prefer purchasing mezzes by the kilo on special days.”

She picks up the flavor and consistency from the smell
Expressing that they use olive oil for every meal that is cooked at Manca, Soygür says, “We are originally Rumelian immigrants. My mother usually did not let us in the kitchen; however, we have learned a lot from watching her. I don’t taste anything when I am cooking. I pick up everything from the smell. I close the place on official holidays, because we don’t have any other time to rest.”

“Cooking is magic.”
Preparing many different specials every week such as beans with meat, falafel, red beans with olive oil, fried veggies, lentil balls, lasagna with meat and eggplant, fried zucchini balls with veggies, chicken with eggplant sauce, sautéed chards, and green lentil stew with noodles, Suzan Soygür has a busy work pace. She begins cooking at 8 am and prepares all specials by 12pm. Expressing the impossibility of running into any problems when one works systematically, Suzan Soygür says, “What makes me upset in the kitchen is chaos and disorder. I don’t like leaving things incomplete. I’d like everything managed with care. Cooking is magic to me. You need to organize everything well. The whole balance of a meal can be spoiled by misusing one ingredient.”

Ingredients: 2 cups of boiled and skinned garbanzo beans, 1 cup of boiled green peas, 1 cup of boiled and cubed potatoes, ½ cup of boiled corn kernels, ½ cup of boiled and cubed carrots, ½ bunch of dill, ½ bunch of parsley, 1 large onion, salt, pepper, cumin, and 2-3 tbsp of flour.
Directions: Puree the beans in a blender. Puree the onion in the blender and add it to the pureed beans. Add the other ingredients and spices. After adding the 3 tbsp of flour, prepare a soft mixture. Take apart small pieces of the mixture and shape them into balls. Deep fry the balls. Bon appétit.
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