June 2015: Istanbul
I am basing my pazar observations on a different market this month. This is because a) I missed my usual Monday one as we were travelling, and b) some visiting friends from the UK wanted to go to the Friday version of the famous Salı or Tuesday Pazarı which is here on my doorstep in Kadıköy.
I went once before and couldn’t find a parking place so never went again. It was that simple. Ideally you do need your own transport to carry your booty home with you if the market isn’t within walking distance. So, no parking, no Salı Pazarı for me!
But the friends had done their research and were set on going last Friday. Easy, we took a taxi!
The market is renowned for textiles and sure enough, there are enough stalls selling tee shirts, trackies, socks and underwear not to mention metres of curtains, fabric, remnants, ribbons, lacy trims and the like to put a smile on anyone’s face.
There are also some fruit and veg stalls with very attractive prices.
It was immediately obvious that the cherry season is upon us once more as they were everywhere, piles and piles of them. My friend bought a kilo of Napolyon cherries for 7½ TL a kilo. Later we went to Kadıkoy Çarşı and saw that there they were being sold for between 16 and 20 TL per kilo. Apparently in the Balık Pazarı on the other side near the British Consulate, they are selling at an extortionate 40 TL!
Apricots are back too but the ones I tried were a bit tasteless I thought. So I didn’t buy any. Apricots/kayısı are amongst my favourite fruits so they have to be good!
The other popular fruit was dut or mulberries: those funny off-white berries that can either taste fantastic or else totally bland. We have a dut tree in our garden in Assos and I know from experience that some years the fruit is fabulous and others, not worth the trouble. Interesting to see that they sell at 3 TL a punnet. Our tree produces kilos and kilos of them!
There were also dark red karadut or black mulberries. I don’t buy them because they are full of little bits that get stuck in your teeth!
Generally speaking, the markets are now a joy to visit: the colours and the sheer abundance of the produce alone are enough to make you glad you made the effort to go.
I was happy to see that the fresh enginar/artichokes are still around along with the broad beans to cook with them. I bought 6 which were plump and perfect, also very reasonable at 2 TL each, but was disappointed to find that they were not as well peeled as the ones at my regular Selami Çeşme market. Of course I only realized this when we were eating them a day later! So be careful.
But what made me feel that summer really is just around the corner was my first sighting of Çanakkale tomatoes! These are those big fat juicy ones that we get all summer long in Assos. These are the tomatoes that we wait for all year long and the ones that lure you into various bottling projects!
I see that green beans or yeşil fasulye are now back in season too: what to do with them? Cook them in olive oil/zeytinyağlı and have them cold, or with mince meat as a hot family dish. It’ll be a nice change after similar meals with leeks!
Two different types of bean here: çalı and şeker Ayşe, differing in length and shape slightly but both suitable for zeytinyağlı.
I enjoyed this new market – it wasn’t crowded when we went which was late morning. Shopping was easy. The addition of the textiles made it different and also the bric-a-brac stalls! None of that in Selami Çeşme!