Monday, March 19, 2012

Turkish Travels, Bab-i Hayat & the Spice Market

For lunch on our second day, we headed to the Spice Market area and decided to eat at the restaurant that was built above the entrance to the market. According to our Lonely Planet guidebook, there was a significant amount of renovation and structuring required to make this restaurant possible. The tiled decor, chandeliers, and windows overlooking the market made this a really beautiful place to eat.

As far as the food, I had meat kebab with yogurt while D had the meat pitta. The kebab was super flavorful and heavily spiced but I didn't care much for the presentation. It was sitting on a huge pile of yogurt covered bulghur, which was a bit too much for me. I would've preferred to portion the yogurt onto my kebab myself. The meat pitta was interesting but not really our cup of tea, as far as the spice palate goes. D didn't really enjoy it all that much. However, the staff were really friendly and happy and the prices were reasonable.
After lunch, we headed downstairs and into the market to peruse the shops. The spice stalls were crazy colorful and really gorgeous. There was a lot to see and take in and pretty much every Turkish Delight stall was giving out free samples.


We didn't leave the market empty-handed though. I bought a box of Turkish Delights (the yummiest pistachio-filled ones and some Turkish coffee. We actually happened upon the stall unexpectedly because we smelled the coffee and just followed our noses. It smelled incredible and we knew it was good because there was a huge line (of actual Turkish people, not tourists) waiting to buy some.
delicious coffee
Turkish Delights! Stall owner vacuum sealed it for me
so it would still be fresh when I returned home
pistachios galore
The Spice Bazaar is a definite must-see/do if you are ever in Istanbul.

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