clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Meet the Man Behind Secret Kebab: A Q&A with "The Turk"

New, 1 comment

When Alparslan Y?lmaz began Tweeting about an up-and-upcoming kebab delivery service under the handle @SecretKebab earlier this year, some folks wondered aloud whether the irreverent Tweets by the man known as "The Turk" were for real (Example: "I am village man from a farmville so don't poke me for a playpuss egg or milk your cow in the face book.")

As far as we can tell, they are (maybe): Alparslan is set to launch Secret Kebab this Friday, offering lamb kebab delivery (of Adana-style "kiyma kebabs") primarily to Northeast Portland, from 8pm "until sell out or I am tired," Y?lmaz says. (The secret: Ordering is only available via Twitter, Facebook chat, or a telephone number posted during hours of operation, then removed once Y?lmaz closes up for the night.)

We chatted with the secretive Y?lmaz — via email, as he maintains repeatedly that "my English is shit" — about his meaty recipe, the idea behind a delivery-only service, and why sitting in a food cart would make him feel like "a monkey in a box for you to laugh on."

You already have a big following on Twitter, and you haven't even opened yet. Why do you think people find you so engaging?
Maybe it is because my English is shit and I look [like] a fool. But I have a hope that truly they will instead see my love for a people and my culture of Turkey and also Portland. This love I think they will understand when they are eating my kebab.

So tell me about kebabs.
Since I am a boy I worked in my crazy uncle's kebab salon in Adana, which is my hometown in Turkey. Adana kebab are also called on "kiyma kebab", and they are very specific but simple type of classical preparations — lamb meat only in fresh pide bread with some vegetable and spicy yogurt. A meat is little spicy, but my spice is very nice. This tradition, classic kebabs, is in my heart and blood. To say more than this will be too proud and boasting.

What gave you the idea for a kebab delivery place by bike? Why not a more traditional food cart or full-fledged restaurant?
My thought [is to] go for highest public service standard and convenience. If you are one side of a river with desire for kebab, why will I tell you to come to me?! In delivering, way I maintain low business cost, and I make a business opportunity for enterprising bike rider who cannot find a job like everyone else. And you can have Secret Kebab on the ground where you are standing! I am also [working] with car delivering now, so we go around farther. But why am I want to sit in a food cart [like] a monkey in a box for you to laugh on? The Turk is a man of privacy and peace and honor with a little shy[ness]. You do not need my face for enjoy Secret Kebab and I think you will enjoy more without!

So tell us about the ordering process. What's the best way for people to find you?
Delivery is [from] 8pm until sell out or I am tired, beginning this Friday and Saturday March 4 and 5. Maybe I make more daytimes, but now I am only Secret Kebab Friday and Saturday until I change my mind. If someone [pays] attention to the Tweets, I am certain they will learn many secrets and surprises. On present moment I am concentrating [on] Northeast Portland, but if you are on 1.5 miles radius with Burnside Bridge, okay, we bring you kebabs! Just know the delivery has a fee which I am allowing the determination of driver for deciding. Most places $3... but he may request $5 if you are on a pain in the ass place.
· Secret Kebab [Twitter]

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater Portland newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world