Artichoke, photo by Merve Göral

Your ultimate guide to finding and tasting the flavors of Istanbul & Turkey. Learn more about seasonal and local food.

Artichokes (Cynara scolymus in Latin) are a heavenly green that even have a place among the stars of Greek mythology. A story goes that Zeus fell in love with Cynara, a mortal, and took her to Olympos. However, the beauty missed her life on earth, and one night Cynara snuck back to her hometown....

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Eşşekhelvası, photo by Merve Göral

Your ultimate guide to finding and tasting the flavors of Istanbul & Turkey. Learn more about seasonal and local food.

Foraging and eating wild greens has long played a part in Mediterranean culture and cuisine. It’s said that in the Turkish Aegean region though, the use of ege otlari (Aegean wild greens) was massively influenced by the Cretan Turks who returned to Turkey in 1923 with such a strong love of these...

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Turkish tea

Your ultimate guide to finding and tasting the flavors of Istanbul & Turkey. Learn more about seasonal and local food.

After a meal in Turkey, there is always one more course: tea. Served in a slim-waisted, elegantly curved glass, the piping-hot liquid is inevitably whisked to the table right after your meal, amber-colored and deeply bitter. This is true whether you are at the local dürüm shack with three low-rise...

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Meze, photo by Merve Göral

Your ultimate guide to finding and tasting the flavors of Istanbul & Turkey. Learn more about seasonal and local food.

A beginner’s guide to meyhane: meze By now, you know a meyhane is a crucial part of Turkish nightlife and you want to try one out. But what to do about that glass display counter filled with a kaleidoscope of dishes that the waiters keep pointing you towards? They’re sure to be packed with meze –...

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Quince season

Your ultimate guide to finding and tasting the flavors of Istanbul & Turkey. Learn more about seasonal and local food.

When discussing winter fruits in Turkey, quince is one of the first that come to mind. Now, it’s quince’s time to shine in all the local markets. The fruit has a unique, perfumy taste unlike any other. It is also a great immune system booster, providing you with more than 20 percent of your daily...

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Your ultimate guide to finding and tasting the flavors of Istanbul & Turkey. Learn more about seasonal and local food.

At this time of year, the sun-reliant vegetables of summer seem almost whimsical and underdressed. Now is the time for the hardy winter vegetable to shine. Out step the root vegetables (carrots, celeriac, Jerusalem artichoke), out too come the brassicas (cabbage, cauliflower, Brussel sprout,...

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Your ultimate guide to finding and tasting the flavors of Istanbul & Turkey. Learn more about seasonal and local food.

Wandering the thoroughfares of Istanbul, it is hard not to notice how much emphasis there is on food. Wherever you may be, there will be a bakkal - a small corner shop which offers the basics, often including a sandwich using the bread baked daily throughout the city. Then there is the büfe , with...

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Kardeşim Mantı, Emirgan - photo by Merve Göral

Your ultimate guide to finding and tasting the flavors of Istanbul & Turkey. Learn more about seasonal and local food.

Dating back to the time Turks lived mostly in Central Asia, mantı has long been a staple food in Turkish cuisine. It’s the dish that makes the family gather around the dining table. It’s the dish that you order in when you get midnight food cravings. To a non-Turkish person, mantı can be defined as...

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Olive oil, photo by Merve Göral

Your ultimate guide to finding and tasting the flavors of Istanbul & Turkey. Learn more about seasonal and local food.

There are only three seasons on the Aegean coast of Turkey: spring, summer and a very long fall. The beginning of the third season is marked by the first olive harvest, when the residents of nearby villages head to local olive gardens to work. They tend to describe their lifestyle through the term...

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Your ultimate guide to finding and tasting the flavors of Istanbul & Turkey. Learn more about seasonal and local food.

Let’s be honest: the pomegranate is one of the best-looking fruits out there. And now that its season is here, you won’t be able to walk a block in Istanbul without seeing it on display somewhere. Not only loved for its good looks, the pomegranate is also associated with a great deal of symbolism....

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Tahini, photo by Merve Göral

Your ultimate guide to finding and tasting the flavors of Istanbul & Turkey. Learn more about seasonal and local food.

Tahini has developed a reputation for making an appearance in savory dishes. This sesame paste is not only a main ingredient in the world-famous hummus, but shows up in various dishes around the world, from being drizzled on Middle Eastern falafel sandwiches to being used as a base in salad...

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Persimmons

Your ultimate guide to finding and tasting the flavors of Istanbul & Turkey. Learn more about seasonal and local food.

Bright orange persimmons hanging from leafless branches mark the coming of winter in Turkey. Originally from China, persimmons are deeply fragrant and sweetly mellow, with some renditions often offering a tart bite. They are most often called hurma in Turkish or (as hurma is also the name for dried...

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Tomato sauce and tomato paste

Your ultimate guide to finding and tasting the flavors of Istanbul & Turkey. Learn more about seasonal and local food.

Come the last days of summer, mothers in Turkey spend a lot of time in the kitchen trying to preserve those sunny, sultry flavors to last through the impending winter. Some make jams out of succulent summer fruit and others go for canning tomatoes, which are currently at their peak. While you can...

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Figs

Your ultimate guide to finding and tasting the flavors of Istanbul & Turkey. Learn more about seasonal and local food.

Walk down nearly any small street in Istanbul, and a distinct sweet and heady perfume wafts through the late summer afternoons. Hooray! Figs have arrived. Though the dried renditions are available year-round, there’s nothing quite like biting into a fresh, perfectly ripe fig. It’s honeyed fragrance...

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Aubergines eggplant season in Istanbul

Your ultimate guide to finding and tasting the flavors of Istanbul & Turkey. Learn more about seasonal and local food.

The family name of the eggplant species bodes ominously for a fruit that much of the nation chows down on weekly. Part of the nightshades family, also referred to as deadly nightshades, the plant was shunned when it arrived in Europe from Asia, thought to be poisonous due to its bright colors. In...

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Features

CLOSED FOR RENOVATION UNTIL SEPTEMBER 2016. Laleli Olive Oil is a family company that, as its name suggests specializes in olives and oil. Their groves as well as their production center are located in the Edremit region of Balıkesir (between İzmir and Çanakkale). Over the years, their olive oil...

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One of Istanbul’s most colorful markets is located in an equally colorful neighborhood, Tarlabaşı. Indeed, like many areas of Istanbul, Tarlabaşı while once feared is now embraced by locals and visitors alike. Its winding streets are romanticized and its colorful buildings are revered. Whatever the...

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Balıkev, located in the İstinyePark Shopping Mall and opened in 2007, is a fish market that doubles as a restaurant. Customers at Balıkev can buy fresh seasonal fish by the kilo to cook at home, have it cooked on the premises to take away, or dine in the onsite restaurant. Besides this branch in...

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Nearly every morning there is a line of people stringing out of the bakery. Join them because they know what is good. You may not be able to see what you are waiting for, but are certain to smell it. After a couple of more customers have been served (don't worry, the line moves fast), you'll be...

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Meşhur Sarıyer Börekçisi offers not-so-healthy but oh-so-good breakfast-brunch options. Original owner Mehmet Ali Bey began making and selling börek here in 1895, and it is a symbol of authentic Istanbul cuisine. You might see many shops calling themselves "Tarihi Sarıyer Böreği" in the city, but...

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Lemon or vinegar, that has become the question. Over the years, the debate has grown heated among the pickle-makers in this city whether or not to use lemon or vinegar when pickling. Many in Istanbul are use vinegar and salt as a preservative. While some are fervent lemon-ers or vinegar users, here...

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Rani Farm was established in 1994 in Antalya, primarily serving hotels and other service sectors. The farm was set to grow a multitude of produce as well as raising livestock for dairy and meat products. Since 2001, Rani converted their farming production to abide completely by organic standards....

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Every neighborhood in Istanbul has a go-to fish monger, whether they are in a larger market or not. For years Üsküdar locals have favored Kardesler in Üsküdar Balık Pazarı for their fish mongering needs. Some merchants and mongers had noted a decrease in circulation and business, after the...

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Like most bazaars in the city, the Fatih Çarşamba Pazar (Wednesday Market) offers a huge variety of goods at very low prices. This bazaar has everything from clothing (infants to adults) and textiles to bathroom accessories and kitchenware. Of course, like most other markets there is an array of...

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Honey with no additives s the secret behind the success of Etebal. The shopw has mastered the art of honey making and is doing so in the Kadıköy market. The team brings in honey from regions through Turkey from Rize, Erzerum, Sivas as well as Darıca (NorthEast coast of the Marmara Sea). Not only do...

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The Yeşilköy Çarşamba Pazar (Wednesday Market) located in the Bakırköy district of Istanbul, sets up shops spanning over 7 or 8 streets. Like other markets, it is not easy to miss it; vendors are shouting amidst of a traffic jam of people and cars are beeping within an actual traffic jam. If you...

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The reason why the kuru baklava here is absolutely heavenly is because clarified butter is used in its preparation (the butter is also on sale in case you want to use it at home). Make sure to eat the pistachio baklava—on display in the window—with your fingers followed by a glass of tea to enjoy...

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Though one of Istanbul’s smaller weekend markets, the Beşiktaş Cumartesi Pazarı (Saturday Market) draws bargain hunters from all over the city with its good deals and congenial atmosphere. Walk up Şair Nedim Caddesi to the Evlendirme Dairesi (civil marriage hall) and you will surely not miss the...

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One of the oldest shops at Mısır Çarşısı , Ucuzcular have been manning this branch since 1886. Initially, the shop only sold herbs, spices as well as their own combinations for various ailments. Like many others in the neighborhood, their trade has been handed down from one generation to the next,...

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A massive market on the Asian side of the city, the Salı Pazarı (Tuesday Market) is walking distance from the Söğütlüçeşme metrobus stop and is easily recognizable with its large stretch of white canopies above. Vendors sing about their vibrantly yellow-to-green spectrum of goods, while...

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With its story starting in Al Ghat, a town in Central Arabia, favored by rich soil and ideal climate, Bateel, is a fine sample of eclectic culinary art. By combining dates with gourmet chocolate and fusing them with other delicacies, Bateel excelled its art and moved beyond its motherland. The only...

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