The Spice Bazaar in Istanbul was a tough one for me. Even though our guide, Tarkan, was fantastic, I was pretty dead on my feet by this point after 8 hours of walking and shooting all day.
Plus, not only did I want to shoot, I was there to shop, too! Because really, you’re not going to find better. Case in point –
No, that’s not sushi rolls! It’s Turkish delight, and believe me when I say, what comes under the same name in the US is emphatically NOT the real thing.
Not even close! But so, so good when you get the real deal. Nom!
And another Istanbul surprise! I knew coffee was a “Thing” (and a glorious, delicious Thing it is), but I had no idea that tea was so big in Turkey. And in particular, apple tea – which tastes like a combination of spices mixed with hot apple cider. Good enough I brought some home, naturally.
At this point you’re probably wondering, for a Spice Bazaar, these don’t really look like spices, right?
Season your heart out. There’s stuff even I’d never seen before (which is saying something) but perhaps even more importantly, there were house blends. Intended for everything from rice to fish to meat to poultry, they tasted divine. And the stall owner was good enough to vacuum-seal everything I got so customs wouldn’t give me trouble on the way home.
Had I been smart I’d have done the same with the 2 kilos of Turkish coffee we got – that ended up having to go in carry-on.
And just for the sake of ostentaciousness:
Yeah, that’s ALL saffron. Could make a lot of paella with that, huh?