The traveller's table: Turkey's fast-food option: raw meatballs

ISTANBUL - A staple Turkish snack is a meatball called cig kofte. "Cig" means raw, and the meatball is made of raw ground beef and barley groats.

These days, a version using egg instead of meat is popular as a fast food item and is sold even at subway stations.

At the restaurant chain Cigkoftem in Istanbul, the dish is served with lettuce and seasonings such as mint and parsley, priced at 6.5 lira (about S$3.72).

The snack is eaten wrapped in lettuce with some fresh lemon juice squeezed on it. The dish is spicy with lots of hot peppers and a strong taste of tomato paste.

"It is best to eat the freshly made ones," said Ferit Cifci, 27, who works at the restaurant. He quickly rolled the dough into balls. The shapes formed by hand are unique.

As the dish is eaten with your hands, it is suitable for meals with friends and families. Many people ordered it to go.