Raw meat prepared before your eyes

SANLIURFA, Turkey - At the northern end of the Mesopotamia region, between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, stands Sanliurfa, an ancient city in southeastern Turkey that is known for its rich food culture.

Its most famous dish is chee kufta. "Chee" means raw, and "kufta" is minced meat.

I tried the dish at Sehitlik, a restaurant in the old section of Sanliurfa.

According to owner Ahmet, it is typical for raw dishes to be prepared in front of customers and he demonstrated the process for me.

He put raw lamb meat, hot pepper, bulgur wheat, onion and other ingredients in a bowl, and kneaded them over and over again for about 20 minutes. He was dripping with sweat from his forehead.

I found it best to eat the meat when you can still feel the warmth from the preparer's hands. My mouth was tingling from the spicy taste, but the raw vegetables on the side eased the burning.

The dish cost about 10 Turkish lira (S$6).