For the amount of time I’ve spent in Istanbul so far, I’ve actually been to surprisingly few touristy places. When I’m not hanging around Boğaziçi University and in the surrounding neighborhoods of Rumeli Hisarustu, Bebek, or Etiler, I like to take the bus to different parts of the city and just walk around – look into shops or markets, try local cafes, or hunt for a good restaurant we read about in IstanbulEats.
Last week though, I split from my friends after an amazing brunch at Namlı Gurme in Karaköy and wandered over the Galata bridge to Eminönü. After meditating for awhile in the courtyard of the New Mosque, I walked through the pet and flower bazaar and finally made my way to the famous Spice Bazaar.
Spices piled up in little mountains fill the booths lined up on either side of the bazaar. Along with the beautiful colors are the wonderful smells, as well as the sounds of the catcalls from the spice vendors. Booths at the rear of the market have a larger variety of goods – heaps of baklava, lokum (Turkish delight), and other traditional Turkish sweets. Best of all though, are the dried fruit vendors.
My choice of purchase at the Spice Bazaar was a small bag of the largest and most beautiful-looking dates I had ever seen. It’s a shame I didn’t catch their name, but they were sitting right next to the Medjoul dates, and they were looking mighty fine. They were selling for 48 lira per kilo – fairly pricey for some dried fruit! They were incredible – soft and sweet and juicy (which sounds like a weird way to describe dried fruit). But they were. Istanbul, you’ve done it again!