Friday, February 6, 2009


My sister and I were in the Kapalı Çarşı area early this morning and couldn't resist popping into the bazaar for a look around and some tea. I did a quick sketch then we had to get outside to enjoy the unseasonably warm sunny day. My goal was to walk as far as I could get across the Golden Horn and down the Bosporus road, dragging my poor sister and her tiny feet along!

Along the back roads I was overjoyed to find one of the latest additions to the Moleskine City Notebook series— Istanbul! The indispensable little Moly comes with a valuable transport system map, 30 pages of city maps, a measurement conversion chart, tracing paper, oodles of blank pages to jot down information or sketch on, and of course, the pocket. Is this not perfect? This little baby is going to be by my side every day.

Mısr Çarşısı, Spice Bazaar.

On the way to the Galata Bridge in Eminönü, we decided we'd pick up a small box of lokum at the Mısr Çarşısı— the famed Spice Bazaar. During the Ottoman Empire, the Mısr Çarşısı was the centre of the spice trade. With the majority of the spices being imported from Egypt, the bazaar became known as "The Egyptian Bazaar," or Mısr ÇarşısıMısr being Egypt. Nothing in the world smells like this place— dried nuts and meats mix with exotic spices, perfumes, honey and lokum.

Now what is lokum? More commonly known as Turkish Delights, these bite-sized cubes of deliciousness come in a wide variety of flavours and colours. Made of starch and sugar, the soft and chewy delights are generally dusted with confectioner's sugar, coconut flakes or ground nuts. I have yet to come across a lokum I didn't like, though my most favourite of all are the delicate rose flavoured ones.

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After being surrounded by all those tasty little treats, we craved pudding. Pudding is an art here in Turkey— I have no clue how many different kinds of puddings there are, but they are all heavenly. There are rice puddings, chocolate puddings, puddings flavoured with orange blossom water and believe it or not, chicken. Tavuk göğsü is a pudding made with chicken breast— we ordered it along with another pudding, but I'm not sure which one it is in the picture above. I tasted both and neither were chickeny. They were smooth, creamy and subtle in flavour and sweetness— I think I need to really delve into the world of Turkish puddings. Become a connoisseur?

I think it is only fitting to end this sugar-filled post with a photo of today's purchases— my Istanbul City Moleskine and an illustration I bought that warns us of the perils of tooth decay. I found this fantastic beauty in the bazaar, it's a replica of an old medical book illustration. I recommend clicking on the image so you can see it a little better. I can't wait to get it framed and on my wall!


Chris Menice said...

Awesome Samantha. I love reading your posts about Turkey. It seems like a wonderful place. Those spices look amazing. I love spice.

szaza said...

Thanks Chris! It's hard not to buy bags of all the spices— they're so beautiful and smell so good. I love the variety of hot peppers and teas.

Renate said...

Mmmm... how I miss Turkish puddings. My alltime favourite was the sutlac at Saray, right in the middle of Istiklal Caddesi.

Kerstin Klein said...

I just received my Istanbul moleskine last week. And Im browsing through your posts to find good places to visit. :)

szaza said...

I will email you a list too :)