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|Two Continents, Two Markets, One City: Istanbul|
|Written by Michael Costa|
There’s only one place in the world where you can explore markets on two continents in a single afternoon: Istanbul, Turkey. It’s the only city to call both Europe and Asia home—the Bosphorus Strait and the Sea of Marmara separate the metropolis, with Europe on the left, and Asia to the right. There are approximately 12 million people living in Istanbul and, with a population that large, markets abound in nearly every neighborhood—lucky locals have access to a mind-boggling variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seafood, spices, and more. Turkish tomatoes and potatoes in particular are considered among the finest in the world.
I recently visited Istanbul, and spent a day with local cook and guide Selin Rozanes (pictured with me below) whose company Turkish Flavours specializes in all things culinary for visitors, from cooking classes to market tours. We explored the 350-year-old Spice Market (A.K.A. Spice Bazaar, or Egyptian Bazaar) in Eminönü on the European side, then took a short ferry ride to the Asian side, where we pored over the outdoor market in Kadıköy.
Because Rozanes is a resident, she knows many of the shopkeepers, so I had a chance to taste several items as we nibbled our way from stall to stall, including tiny Turkish green plums, gigantic grape leaves, and even steamed mussels stuffed with rice, known as midye dolma in Turkish. Above is just one of the photos I snapped that day at the market, with more available here on the Share & Learn tab. Maybe they will inspire you to plan a visit yourself -- or, in the meantime, inspire you try some dishes on your own that combine a taste of Europe with a taste of Asia.