A Cook’s Paradise | Turkish Spice Market

It’s one of those places I would usually see in travel shows, like the segment done by Anthony Bourdain.   Curious and fascinated, I made a mental note and decided it was one place I would really, really, REALLY want to see.

istanbul spice market lowres
Turkey’s Spice Market

Needless to say, I’m the kind of person who, when faced with a multitude of options, will come home empty handed.  Well this time, I did take home a pack or two.  It was a dream come true at Istanbul’s spice market for me and I was like a kid in candy store!!!  The place was literally eye-candy, really! 

I wanted anything and everything!  The entire market was absolutely vibrant, bursting with life, light, colors, voices from all walks of life — and the scent of everything was wafting in the air.

It was overwhelming, as I was jostled and elbowed by the throng of people as they went about their business with tourists and their cameras glued to their faces (I’m hoping I’m not one of those!) and merchants calling out, inviting you in.

It was my first time also to shop for saffron by weight, where every strand was carefully pinched into the bottle on a scale.  I came home with a measly 1gram bottle.  But hey! A LOT goes into 1gram of saffron and no more than 3-4 strands are required for a dish with the kind of saffron I got :D

I didn’t need much convincing.  All Turkey had to do was just be.  And this was just one of the reasons why I fell in love with Turkey — my now new favorite place (next to Japan)!

I cannot wait to go back (but hopefully on a MUCH smoother flight this time, please!)


2 thoughts on “A Cook’s Paradise | Turkish Spice Market

  1. Fascinating and very cool. Can’t even imagine what an amazing experience that must have been. I can only picture scenes from Indian Jones, etc. So glad to be in touch as I will travel to exotic place through you :-)

    Curious: appx how much was that 1 g of saffron? What will you use it for? Oh how heavenly that market must have smelled.

    1. The 1g of high-grade saffron fluffily fits in a tiny jam jar. I use saffron for paella and risotto dishes :) We paid, I think, somewhere between 25-30 Turkish liras? But that 1g is a lot since we only use 3-5 strands at a time.

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