Visiting markets has to be one of my passions! This was one of the main reasons I chose a trip to Istanbul, to visit the Grand Bazaar and the Egyptian Spice Market (above). Istanbul is on the ancient Spice Trail, ships would dock here on the Golden Horn and trade in exotic spices.
Quite a spectacle here, every kind of spice, nuts, teas, perfumes, fruits and sweets are here.
Feast your eyes on this Turkish delight.. known here as Lokum. Filled with pistachio nuts, hazelnuts, decorated with rose petals or made with honey and pomegranate. Every delight is here!
Be careful you know what you are getting though. What they call Turkish saffron is actually bits of marigold flowers, turmeric and maybe a few strands of the real saffron. It will probably colour your dishes or spice up your rice.. but it ain't the real thing!
My culinary highlight was outside the spice market on the waters' edge. Balik Ekmek
is basically a freshly caught mackerel fillet, chargrilled served in a big hunk of bread with fresh salad! If you are ever in Istanbul, head for the Galata Bridge and get yourself one of these! Yum!
Outside the spice market is the seed market. Lots and lots of veggie seeds and sets for sale here. It seems the Turkish are keen on growing their own veggies.
One curious thing I spotted were these bunches of onions. It seems as if they start the seeds or sets off then pick them to sell in bunches.. to plant out on your own plot. Rather like buying Wallflowers this time of year. I suppose they must survive this check in growth, you just buy a small spring onion and plant it to grow in your own patch. Interesting.
Also found lurking in a corner of the pet store next to the fish tank were these leeches! Lovely ;-)