Price of popular Turkish cured meat skyrockets

The popular Turkish cured beef delicacy of pastirma has proven not to be immune to the effects of Turkey’s troubled economy.

A slice of the delicacy, from which the Italian pastrami originated, now sells for two Lira ($0.38) in the city of Kayseri, which is considered to be the home of pastirma.

Yusuf Tilgen, who sells pastirma and sucuk (a dry spicy beef sausage) in Kayseri, says that consumption of pastırma has fallen sharply in comparison to previous years.

“Pastrami has 11 different varieties. Sirloin pastrami and rib steak pastrami are the luxury ones. As rib streak pastrami price is 144 TL ($28), the price of sirloin pastrami is 156TL. A slice of pastrami is selling at two Lira,” said Tilgen.

He said the majority of the people usually bought pastırma to eat, but now buy it as a gift.

“Pastrami had been bought by one kilo, then it reduced to a half kilo and nowadays people buy in grams. We are not satisfied with pastirma sales.”

According to the Kayseri Chamber of Commerce low-quality pastrami is sold between 75-85 lira, rib streak pastrami between 90-134 lira, and sirloin pastrami is sold between 96-146 lira across Kayseri province. Sirloin pastrami was being sold to 80 TL last year.

Tradition has it that this form of meat arrived in Kayseri in the 11th century, stuffed in the saddlebags of the Seljuk horsemen who were at the time carving up the withering Byzantine Empire.

The Seljuks were the first wave of Turks to settle in Anatolia, though their culture was strongly influenced by Iran.

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