New markets…

August 18, 2010

Wednesday is market day in Turkey, and Istanbul is no exception. So, despite a hot, humid, sleepless night, I managed to drag myself out of bed and get to our local pazar in Sultanahmet early enough to avoid the crowds and the daytime heat.

And what a joy it was. I felt like the proverbial kid in a sweet shop – especially when it came to the many and varied salad leaves at one stall. As well as a bunch of gorgeous crisp rocket and the biggest cos lettuce I’ve ever seen, I got a bunch of something the name of which is a mystery to me, but looks like nettles and tastes like nasturtium leaves.

The other intriguing purchase at the salad stall was a bunch of purple basil (on the left in the photo above), but rather than used as a flavouring in a cooked dish, its subtle flavour means it can be used in great handfuls as an addition to a salad. And, I can tell you, with the current high temperatures in Istanbul, I have appetite for little more than a fresh pile of green stuff!

Although, ironically, something I just couldn’t resist were these tiny round chillies (pictured above left). Apparently they are super-hot, but as Turks generally don’t like spicy food, I’ll take that with a pinch of salt. Süleyman rolled his eyes at them, so I reckon I’ll be the only one eating them.

Food is still very much seasonal and local in Turkey, with very little imported. And, boy, can you tell the difference in the quality of fresh produce. At the moment, at the height of summer, there is an amazing array of fruit and veg available (one of my current faves are the huge, plump purple figs sold on every corner), so, if there’s one thing I won’t be feeling homesick about, it’s clearly the food.


9 Responses to “New markets…”

  1. Oh, Lindsey… what beautiful photographs… what beautiful vegetables! The colours… *jealous, jealous, jealous*
    Can’t wait to hear more about Istanbul!

  2. Christina Says:

    Looks so yummy!! I’m glad you’ve finally “lighted” and can get settled in. Good idea to go before the heat hits.

  3. Gabby Says:

    I just checked your blog after 18 days in China, and I can’t believe you’re in Istanbul! Of course I knew you were going, but now you are actually there. So exciting! I just had a head-spinning holiday myself, and still feel a little dislocated being back home. I hope you settle into things well and really hope to visit you over there some time in the future. x

  4. jasnieres Says:

    Lovely to see the salads when we talked on skype. You’ll have to try and get some seeds to send me to see if they will grow here in France – although with the weather we have been having, I’m sure they will.
    The market looked better than anything here apart from the one near Dominique. Look forward to going round with you one day.

  5. Glad to see that you’ve settled in enough to hit the market 😀 it all looks wonderful, can’t wait to see what kind of dishes you come up with!

  6. Hello all! Thanks for all the lovely comments. Suleyman and I have just finished a lunch of lots of the salad leaves (plus some fantastic börek – savoury pastries – from our local börekçi, which I’m sure I’ll be blogging about soon). And I can assure you, they taste as delicious as they look.
    BTW, as I suspected, those little round chillies are not as fiery as the vendor suggested. But, nonetheless, they are very good. I may even try out a curry on Suleyman with them.

  7. Ravenous Ro Says:

    Great pictures, I bet its all cheaper than Borough Market and puts our local Brighton stalls to shame.

    Looks like your culinary magic will be kept very busy. Hope your keeping cool, do they do iced Turkish coffee near you…

  8. Hi Ro. The food’s pretty cheap, but not as much as you’d expect. Istanbul is actually quite expensive in some respects, especially when you consider that the average wage is so low. But really, I can’t complain.
    Thankfully the weather is cooling down a bit now. Haven’t heard of iced Turkish coffee, but I’m sure somewhere does it. Will investigate.

  9. Choclette Says:

    Wonderful market indeed – reminds me of my days in Egypt where fresh produce abounded everywhere.

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