Istanbul Street markets: My local pazar

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My local Istanbul street market as night falls

I’d love to start this post by writing that I go to my local Istanbul street market in Göztepe every Monday but I can’t. My husband’s the one who goes. He’s known to the vendors as the Turkish looking foreigner (his mother was Italian) who buys the food for his family, rejects any apples, strawberries or tomatoes that aren’t perfect as expertly as any Turkish housewife, and can’t ever be talked into buying rock hard avocados. I only go when the mood takes me, and usually pay more attention to what I can photograph than what I can eat. Unless of course it’s cherry season.

Bouquets of sarmısak (garlic) Matisse would have been proud to exhibit

Over the years the produce on sale at Goztepe Istanbul street market has remained largely the same, but on my most recent visit I noticed a distinct change in the displays. Oranges have always been stacked in artful pyramids and eggplants piled in glossy castle defence towers, but the bar has definitely been lifted.

Here’s a selection of the edible artwork at my local Istanbul street market.

Monet inspired ponds of enginar (artichokes)
Dali yaprak (vine leaves) unfurled
Rothkoesque squares of zeytin (olives)
Spicy Seurat themed kısır (finely ground bulgur mixed with tomato paste and parsley)
Yumurta (eggs) Mondrian still life
Kuşkonmaz (asparagus) just waiting for Leger to come and cook, sorry, paint them.


Want to see an Istanbul street market for yourself? Here are my helpful tips for planning your trip.

For FLIGHTS I like to use Kiwi.com.

Don’t pay extra for an E-VISA. Here’s my post on everything to know before you take off.

However E-SIM are the way to go to stay connected with a local phone number and mobile data on the go. Airalo is easy to use and affordable.

Even if I never claim on it, I always take out TRAVEL INSURANCE. I recommend Visitors Coverage.

I’m a big advocate of public transport, but know it’s not suitable for everyone all the time. When I need to be picked up from or get to Istanbul Airport or Sabiha Gokcen Airport, I use one of these GetYourGuide website AIRPORT TRANSFERS.

ACCOMMODATION: When I want to find a place to stay I use Booking.com.

CITY TOURS & DAY TRIPS: Let me guide you around Kadikoy with my audio walking tour Stepping back through Chalcedon or venture further afield with my bespoke guidebook Istanbul 50 Unsung Places. I know you’ll love visiting the lesser-known sites I’ve included. It’s based on using public transport as much as possible so you won’t be adding too much to your carbon footprint. Then read about what you’ve seen and experienced in my three essay collections and memoir about moving to Istanbul permanently.

Browse the GetYourGuide website or Viator to find even more ways to experience Istanbul and Turkey with food tours, visits to the old city, evening Bosphorus cruises and more!

However you travel, stay safe and have fun! Iyi yolculuklar.

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