The history and cuisine of Istanbul is so much different than anything else I have ever experienced.  Once located at the crossroads of the spice trade between Europe, Asia, and North Africa, Istanbul’s food boasts some of the most diverse flavors and influences in the world.  This, in addition to the insanely low prices (a turkish lire is about 54 cents USD!), created some incredible street food, market shopping, and other culinary experiences.

Since my bank account clearly reflects the fact that I have beed in Europe for almost 4 months now, I ate mostly street food during my time in Istanbul.  Which was just fine by me.  The most popular choices in my group were simit (which was very similar to a very thin sesame bagel with cheese) and lahmacun (or turkish pizza a piece of thin dough topped with minced meat and herbs).

The Spice Market was one of the most amazing markets I have ever seen.  It was so amazing to think that this market has been occurring in the same location for the past 350 years.  Just as it did back then, the market sells a varieties of goods including spices, medicinal herbs, aromatic incenses, essencial oils, dried fruit, nuts, tea….the list goes on.  You can find only the best good imported from around the world: Iranian saffron, Indian curry, Chinese flower teas, Turkish delight, and Russian caviar.  The Spice Market is a place where foreigners come to buy foreign goods.  It is a somewhat backwards, yet very convenient concept.  Its like ten shopping experiences in one.

After about an hour and a half of wandering through the stalls, gawking at the peacocks and leeches for sale, I waled away with a larger than anticipated bag of spices an nuts.  For a fraction of what it would cost in the US, I purchased bags of spicy paprika, oregano, white peppercorns, corn nuts, red pepper flakes, and most delicious of all, lemon and saffron infused salt crystals.  It is beautiful and one of the most flavorful delicious thing I have ever tasted.  Now I just need to think of something worthy of using it with!

2 thoughts on “istanbul

  1. Istanbul looks amazing! It has never really been at the top of my list for travel destinations, but I think this entry is convincing me. The exchange rate is refreshing considering the euro/pound rates. The spice market sounds amazing. Your pictures are fantastic. What kind of camera do you have?

    • Istanbul really is such an amazing city! It is so much different than so many other places I’ve been in Europe and has such a different food culture. I shot all of these photos with a Nikon D3100 which has been such an amazing camera during my time abroad!! Hope you get a chance to check out Turkey.

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