Read my other Turkey posts exploring Turkish Coffee and Turkish Delight, or Lokum / Loukoum, in Spice / Egyptian Bazaar
The Spice Bazaar, Mısır Çarşısı in Turkish is also called the Egyptian Bazaar because of all the import duties paid by the Egyptians. Its presence goes back as far as 1660 when it was part of the New or Yeni Cami mosque and the rental of bazaar stalls goes to pay for the upkeep of the mosque.
The Spice Bazaar, like many famous attractions around the world, is not really where Turkish locals go to buy their spices, though since it’s in a busy shopping area, it’s not void of Turkish locals. It provided a dry haven while we were walking around in the rain.
True to its name, the Spice Bazaar is the place where you can buy foodstuffs, snacks, nuts, tea, lokum, and of course, spices.
In the Spice Bazaar, you will see tons of ground and whole spices out in the open. Cenk recommends, and rightly so, if you absolutely have to buy spices at the bazaar, you should avoid the ground spices and get whole (unground) spices where possible. The ground spices are already starting to lose their potency being out in the open, and even the whole spices are losing potency. A safer bet might be to get good spices in a local supermarket.
Besides spices, there are stalls dedicated to selling nuts like this snack mix of mixed nuts, Karışık Çerez. The Turkish currency is called lira (similar to the old Italian lira) and was about 2 lire to the euro.
These treats were fascinating to me and I’d love to see how they are made – they seem to be honey or sugar-syrup-based treats that are packed with nuts, and I imagine formed into long ropes and hung or twisted off. Anyone know what they are called?
Dates stuffed with walnuts
Dried figs, suzme incir, and plump dried apricots in the background (one of my favorite things on the earth!) Those stange looking black pods on the right? Carob pods.
A kind of baklava made with pistachios, antep tatli and lots of dates in the background!
A woman stands in front of a stand selling the nazar boncuğu, evil eye stone. I saw a lot of these wards against the evil eye in Greece, too.
While I think the Spice Bazaar is definitely worth a walk-through, you probably won’t want to put all your culinary hopes on finding treats there. I suggest walking in the surrounding streets behind the market as there’s a lively, local market atmosphere there.