As you may have already known from past posts, I have this thing for local markets. Forget about shopping malls; it’s the souk, the nearby mini-market, and the town’s wet market that I always look out for whenever I travel especially when I am pressed for time and don’t have the luxury to spare a day or two for shopping. Because it’s only in these places that I get to see what locals eat, what food items are cheap, what local novelty items can make great gifts for the kids.

Hence, the very same morning of our return flight to KL from Istanbul, I made sure that we made a quick visit to the Egyptian Spice Market. From Sultanahmet, it’s just a short tram ride to Eminonu, then a three-minute walk to the market that was opened in 1664 (!) and still in operations today.

EgyptianSpiceMarket_entrance

(I take one shot of the entrance and I mess it up by overexposing it! Grrr!)

The first few stalls predictably sell souvenirs — beautiful yet cheap glass mosaic lamps…

EgyptianSpiceMarket_lamps

…pottery, scarves and prayer carpets…

EgyptianSpiceMarket_rugs

…and some dried spices here and there.

EgyptianSpiceMarket_spices

But walk past these shops and go find your way along the narrow alleys…

EgyptianSpiceMarket_alley

…right into the bustling back roads…

EgyptianSpiceMarket_back_road

…where they sell cheeses…

EgyptianSpiceMarket_cheese

…olives and other pickled fruits and vegetables…

EgyptianSpiceMarket_pickles

…fresh fish and shrimps…

EgyptianSpiceMarket_fish

…assorted meats — all halal, given that some 99% of the Turks are Muslim…

EgyptianSpiceMarket_meat

…dried grapes and more spices, some in paste form, some in powder form…

EgyptianSpiceMarket_grape_leaves

…local fruits bursting with colour…

EgyptianSpiceMarket_fruits

…and even a baklava shop from the city of Gaziantep, which is credited to be the ‘birthplace’ of baklava….

EgyptianSpiceMarket_Gaziantep

…pots, pans, pestle and mortars, and ibrik (teapots)…

EgyptianSpiceMarket_pots

…kitchenware of all sorts…

EgyptianSpiceMarket_kitchenware

…kebab sticks of different lengths and widths [NB: We bought 6 pcs of the mid-sized ones for about RM1 ~ USD0.30 apiece. They work like a dream because the heat goes all throughout the meat, even in the middle.]…

EgyptianSpiceMarket_kebabsticks

…various items made of wood…

EgyptianSpiceMarket_wood

…elaborately decorated wooden chests…

EgyptianSpiceMarket_chests

…and stoves that looked too beautiful to cook on.

EgyptianSpiceMarket_stove

Forget about shopping malls. I’d pick the Mısır Çarşısı anytime!

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