Boza which is consumed in a widespread region from Balkans to Asia, has a very important place in Anatolian cuisine culture. It is more consumed in the winter months due to its energy-rich property. According to the different source books, during the Ottoman Empire period there were hundreds of “Bozahane” (name of the place where boza is produced) in Istanbul. Boza, produced in these Bozahane, were either sold in the shops or on the streets by street boza sellers. No need to go back to very old days, even in the winters of my childhood we could see street boza sellers who were screaming “Bozaaaaa”. Although the number of boza sellers are decreased today, there are still good places in Istanbul where we can drink delicious Boza. Among these places, Vefa Bozacısı is the first place that comes to mind.
Let’s first learn what Boza is. Boza is a kind of drink. Even though boza is fermented bulghur refreshment with addition of sugar and water, different ingredients such as corn, barley, wheat and rice, might also be used in different regions. Thanks to having A and B vitamins and different minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, Boza is a very healthy drink. However, if Boza is not preserved in the right storage conditions, then the ingredients used in the production of Boza produce alcohol through fermentation. Because of this property Boza was banned by some of the Sultans during Ottoman Empire period.
When we get to the issue of drinking delicious boza in Istanbul, as I said before, Vefa Bozacısı is on the top of the list. Vefa Bozacısı was opened by Mr. Hacı Sadık in 1876 and now the business is being run by the 4th generation members of the family. Vefa Bozacısı which has been still running its business in its historical place is very crowded especially in the winter months. Boza is preserved in the marble cruses and served in the glasses. You can drink your Boza either in the restaurant or you can buy 0.5 lt., 1 lt. or 2 lt. bottles for taking away. If you would have a chance to visit Istanbul in winter months, you should visit Vefa Bozacısı and experience this traditional drink.
Postscript: As is the custom, Boza is drunk with roasted chickpeas. But Vefa Bozacısı does not sell roasted chickpeas. Then don’t worry about how to find roasted chickpeas. Because, you can buy fresh roasted chickpeas from the shop which is opposite of Vefa Bozacısı.
Address: Katip Çelebi Caddesi No:104/1 34470 Vefa İstanbul
Telephone: + 90 212 519 49 22
This post is also available in: Turkish