22 June 2015

Besiktas Saturday Market

I can't believe I've lived here for as long as I have without exploring the various markets around the city. I have recently started to rectify this situation with a visit to the Besiktas Saturday market.

Even though we went fairly early in the day it was a hot walk. The market is only a few kilometers from my apartment and taking a bus along Dolmabahce Caddesi on a Saturday is really a fruitless endeavor. After you get crammed into the unairconditioned bus like the proverbial sardine you're held captive by the traffic and you may as well have just walked anyway. Especially since Dolmabahce Caddesi is probably one of the few streets in the city with proper sidewalks and it's all pretty and shaded by the trees that line it.

I love the way the above picture turned out-a total accident but it gives an idea of the market's pulsing and slightly frenetic energy.

We eventually made our way up Dolmabahce Caddesi to the turn off on Sair Nedim Caddesi. The Guide Istanbul says it's a short walk up this street...which might be true if you're a giant and take strides 3-4 times the size of a normal person. We started to think we might have missed the market. I was just about to stop and ask somewhere when we spotted the market-which is essentially a parking structure that's been covered with white plastic sheeting. I don't really know what exactly I was looking for but it wasn't that. Although if someone had told me to look for that it would have made spotting it a lot easier!

I really had no intention of buying anything. I have a few decent greengrocers (manav) near my place but when we got into the market I couldn't resist the draw of the piles and piles of produce. We bought bunches of herbs (mostly basil and parsley for making pesto), artichokes, cherries, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, tomatoes, and I even gave in and forked over the insane amount for some precious asparagus.

The market isn't only fresh produce. There were numerous stalls with dried herbs, nuts, dried fruits, and something that was pretty similar to a CornNut. Those I managed to say no to, which was pretty hard, but I did get some walnuts and dates.

Corn makes me sad. I miss sweet corn. They eat field corn here. Shudder.

Grape leaves!

Besiktas market also has a few stalls with fish, flowers (for which I'll return when my terrace renovations are complete), and the second floor is largely clothes and household goods.

Besiktas is a little far for me to schlepp every Saturday but I haven't yet visited the Tarlabasa Sunday market and that's much closer to home!


Unknown said...

Tarlabasi has 2 markets that I know of - 1 near the top of Omer Hayyam is small but convenient for you. The other is more Kasimpasa, the far side of Bahriye Cad. also does cheeses etc and has clothes and other stuff. But the one you REALLY want to be going to is Kastamonu Pazar in Kasimpasa. All organic Black Sea stuff, you can buy 20 eggs in a straw-filled basket and it's not for tourist show, it's just how they do it. Unpasteurised milk if you like making your own yogurt (!), interesting breads and cheeses, crazy-looking tomatoes, good butter... Toprak Tabya Sk and I have a feeling they tidy up by mid-afternoon.

Andrea said...

That is awesome advice! Thank you. I am definitely going to find the Kastamonu Pazar!