Tag Archives: shopping

Breakfast at Istanbul’s Spice Market

If the Grand Bazaar is Istanbul’s haven for shoppers, then the Spice Market is for the foodies. Also called the Egyptian Bazaar (or Mısır Çarşısı in Turkish), it’s the second largest covered market in Istanbul, second only to the Grand Bazaar. Where the Grand Bazaar is filled with stall after stall of jewelry, clothes, carpets, and other myriad souvenirs, the Spice Market – as you might guess from its name – is all about food. While a few shops sell small souvenirs, they’re far outnumbered by their neighbors that purvey all manner of dried fruits, nuts, teas, sweets, and every sort of spice you could wish for.

Dried eggplants, tomatoes, and okra outside the Spice Market.
Dried eggplants, tomatoes, and okra outside the Spice Market.

The Spice Market is located in the Eminönü neighborhood in the Fatih district, only a stone’s throw from the Galata Bridge and directly behind the New Mosque. (Which, incidentally, is four hundred years old. Only in Istanbul would that be considered ‘new.’) Compared to the Grand Bazaar’s maze of corridors, its hundred or so stalls are a dream to navigate.

The New Mosque outside of the Spice Market.
The New Mosque outside of the Spice Market. 

As you walk down the center arcade, vendors plying Turkish delight will offer you tiny cubes of the gummy, pistachio- and hazelnut-laden stuff in flavors as varied as pomegranate, cinnamon, rosewater, mint, or orange. Other sellers will beckon you into their shops to marvel at the dozens of teas that perfume the air. Powdery piles of red pepper, mint, saffron, and sumac tickle your nose with their pungent aromas.

Dried dates, mangos, pineapples, tomatoes, apricots, and figs are only a few of the snacks available at the Spice Market.
Dried dates, mangos, pineapples, tomatoes, apricots, and figs are only a few of the snacks available at the Spice Market.

Continue reading Breakfast at Istanbul’s Spice Market

Shopping Nirvana at Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar

If you’re recovering from a shopping addiction, Istanbul – particularly the older, tourist-packed areas like Sultanahmet and Eminönü – is probably not the place for you. From every shop window, golden and silver jewelry winks, rich carpets beg to be touched, and vibrant piles of spices and teas tickle your nose with their pungent scents. I’d love to meet the person who makes it out of Istanbul without having lightened their wallet at least a little bit; they’d have to have a miserly will as unyielding as the strongest iron.

One of the main corridors of the bazaar.
One of the main corridors of the bazaar.

Of all the places to spend your lira in Istanbul, the most famous is probably the Grand Bazaar, a covered market that collects some four thousand stalls that peddle everything from jewelry to lamps to knock-off designer clothing to belly dancing outfits. Ceramics, embroidery, spices, Turkish delight, carpets…they’re all in the Kapalıçarşı (in Turkish, “covered market). Continue reading Shopping Nirvana at Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar

A Double Dose of Delhi’s Markets

Access Info for Dilli Haat

  • Nearest metro station: INA on the Yellow Line, Gate #1
  • Admission fee: 20 rupees/adult, 10 rupees/child
  • Hours: 10:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
A fabric stall inside INA Market.
A fabric stall inside INA Market.

India is heaven for markets. You can find basically anything you could ever dream of there: spices, food, scarves, saris (both insanely elegant and for everyday), souvenirs, clothes…you name it, you can find it there. And you can probably get it for less than half the original price, if you have good bartering skills. One outdoor market, Dilli Haat, was on my radar before I’d even arrived in Delhi. It’s definitely a tourist attraction rather than a hangout for locals, but that didn’t really lessen the appeal for me. Dilli Haat’s claim to fame is its food court, which gathers specialties from all over India into one place. You can eat your way around the country without ever leaving Delhi. What’s not to love about that? So I set off from Humayun’s Tomb with a growling stomach, set on wolfing down as much food as I could.

The narrow aisles between the stalls of INA Market.
The narrow aisles between the stalls of INA Market.

Continue reading A Double Dose of Delhi’s Markets