Quilts and Other Stuff from Frances

Foodie tour of the spice market

On Monday morning we were met by Kathy again and headed out for our “Foodie tour” where she had promised us that we would “graze” our way thru the Spice Markets…..YUM!!!!

We took the tram to Eminonu station and walked past the “New Mosque” which was where we had gotten lost  several days ago.

There was a huge plaza filled with pigeons and, of course, there were vendors selling trays of bird seed……


I had wondered about the Doner Kabob restaurants that dotted the area.  Did they make their own meat layers or did they buy it pre-made.  This photo seems to answer that question……DSC04684

As we entered the Spice Markets we were greeted by the  cacophony of smells and the usual mixture of shops with each having a specialty…..

……olives  (didn’t know there were so many kinds)…….DSC04686

……sausages…….DSC04687  …not sure what I like best in this photo…..all of the many nuts for sale or this guy checking out his hair in a shop mirror……


….lungs, stomach or feet anyone???………


….spices and grape leaves……DSC04693

…henna for a tattoo party……DSC04694

….special ingredients for teas…….DSC04697

…..or Turkish Delight!!!…….DSC04699

The Spice Market was originally a medicinal market and this was one of the first pharmacies.  This gentleman is qualified to dispense herbs and other medicines…..DSC04701

Not far down the corridor we entered this wonderful shop and spent about 30 minutes buying all sorts of delightful things……DSC04703

He had huge slabs of Turkish Delight….the red one is Pomegranate based….DSC04705

The proprietor carefully bagged up our choices and then vacuumed sealed them so that they could enter the country.  Here he is dishing up a bag of dried figs…..DSC04709 When I pointed to tea leaves and said that I wanted to purchase some, he pointed to a bag and said that it was better quality AND cheaper, and was what the local’s would buy.

This is a shot of one of the corridors of the Spice Market.  Interestingly, we were confronted with hawkers much more here than in the Grand Bazaar…guess we looked hungry!!!!


The next stop was to the shop that, according to Kathy, has the best Baklava in town.  If nothing else, they certainly have the best selection!!!!!DSC04720 

We picked out our choices and headed upstairs to enjoy our treats with some hot drinks.DSC04721 They were all very sweet and very yummy.

I loved this Turkish Coffee container…….DSC04725

We moved out of the Bazaar building and walked along the paths to see the outside stores.  This may look like nuts, but it is actually pet foods…..DSC04733 

…and medicinal leeches of all sizes are available…..


….and this garden shop sells seeds and onion sets……DSC04735

We continued walking and ended up in the fish marketplace which is right on the bay.  I loved the way these fish were artistically displayed…….DSC04743

I was also impressed with the disposal system of water channels that ran from the shops and out to sea…..  DSC04745

At this point it had been about 15 minutes since we had eaten so Kathy proclaimed that it was time for more food.  Fish this time.  She ordered a plate of  Hamsi (Sardines) that were being freshly fried as we watched…….DSC04754

We sat at our table, complete with newsprint placemats and looked at this huge plate of fish.DSC04747

What to do….what to do…… make sardine sandwiches with a leaf of Rocket, a slice of onion and a squeeze of lemon……DSC04750


Here we are before starting the feast…….


As we waddled away  we passed two noteworthy items.   The first is a tea tray that I have described in earlier posts.   These are used to ferry cups of tea to the various shopkeepers……DSC04756

I also liked this well-used scale and weight set……DSC04757

We ambled further along and ended up in a hardware area and found these bags of wonderful colored powder…….DSC04764

Kathy explained that this is how paint is colored.  You buy the base paint and then add your own dye powder.    I’m sure that it makes for some interesting colors……DSC04765

In preparing for our ferry ride to the other side of Istanbul, Kathy suggested that we purchase a Simit to feed the seagulls with.   Knowing how good they are, it was very hard not to eat it myself…..DSC04766 We once again hopped on the Ferry and headed across the  Bosphorous Strait to the Asian side of Istanbul.  Kathy pointed out various landmarks as we sailed, including this hospital where Florence Nightingale served during the Crimean war…… DSC04775

As we were coming into port, I saw a streak of grey moving in the water and realized that there were several dolphins gamboling around the ship.   As they continued to play, more and more people moved to our side of the Ferry and the mood lightened visibly.  Nobody can be mad when dolphins are around!!

Since it had now been over 30 minutes since our last food ingestion, Kathy suggested a fun spot for a touch of something to drink.  She and Michael both had coffee, but I opted for lemonade that had mint in it.  It was cool and very refreshing .  Besides, who can say no to a curly straw!!……DSC04780 We sat in an upstairs room that had interesting, eclectic furniture…..DSC04783 DSC04785 We walked past this tray of stuffed mussels and asked Kathy if we should try one.  She smartly talked us out of this particular tasty treat….. DSC04789

OK, walk for 10 more minutes and then stop at the CIYA Cafe and have another meal.   Kathy ordered mezze (appetizer) size servings of several items …..DSC04792

…..well, TEN items to be exact……


We enjoyed eating out of  metal bowls and trying various Kurdish delicacies such as Meatballs and Cherries, Stewed Artichoke, Yoghurt Soup with Meatballs, Bulghar Balls, Stuffed Grape Leaves, Stewed Spinach, Yoghurt, Celery Root and Stewed Beans.

At the end of the meal we were brought glasses of lemonade and fruit juices to finish off the dining experience. DSC04798

And in case we were still hungry, Kathy took us past the “Roasted Sheep head” stand……. DSC04799 …and thru the pickle shop featuring everything from Oranges to Pine Cones….DSC04800

At this point, we were ready to sit and relax and quickly found a Nargile shop where we could do just that…..and smoke a water pipe at the same time.  Kathy sat with us for a while and, after making sure that we knew our way back to the dock, said goodbye.

As we walked back to the dock, I saw several men selling little slips of paper.  I found out the next day that they were lottery tickets!!!


It was extremely windy and I can’t imagine how he kept them from blowing away!!

As we traveled back to our hotel, we discussed the fact that we really enjoyed the Asian side of Istanbul more than the European side, probably because it is so much less touristy!! 

The day ended with the requisite “Terrace Time”!!  We needed all of the rest time possible because tomorrow WE PACK!!!!

2 thoughts on “Foodie tour of the spice market

  1. What an amazing place. Your photos and information are taking me on a wonderful tour. How lucky you are to have people you know take you through these area. You really get the local feel then. The spice market must be a remarkable place!

  2. What an amazing trip. I love the colours. How thoughtful to package your finds so that you could take them home.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow Me

Share This Page

%d bloggers like this: