Markets in Ankara

Stuff for sale

Stuff for sale

Markets in Turkey

You may remember our love of Korean markets – the open air, the fresh produce, the friendly people. Well, Turkey is just as enamored of its markets. And, because we’re in a bigger city, the markets are larger, more numerous, and more varied. So we’ve been having a field day heading out to various parts of town and stumbling on the great farmer style markets of Ankara.

We’ve discovered two large markets so far. One was in Ümitköy , the other in the Ulus neighborhood, just below the hilltop of the oldest temple site in Turkey. Both were bustling with activity. The Ümitköy market is in a newer development and next to two grocery stores, making it easy to finish the weekly shopping.  They have a regular market on Saturdays and an organic market on Sundays. The Ulus site, though was far larger and more crowded with multiple shops of every type. There was an area of bakeries, another of butchers, a section of deli meat, spices, clothes, tailors, all surrounding a central island of produce with every kind of fruit and vegetable you could imagine.

There was also a fish market where the merchants pulled out the red gills of the fish so you could see how fresh they were. Even the streets were full of merchants, in this case street vendors selling doners, breads, and desserts. I really wished I was a lot larger, and had nothing better to do all day but eat.

Outside the food market was the spice district – aisle after aisle of open bins filled with powders, leaves, stems, and rinds; anything that can make food taste better, it was here. And after wandering for a few blocks deep into the heart of the district, we found a quiet, peaceful cafe where we could sit in an open courtyard and have a cup of coffee or tea. We hope to go back every Sunday instead of the relatively sterile Real market, whose produce section can be less than thrilling after a day in an ‘real’as in ‘actual’ market.

Kızılcık fruit

Kızılcık fruit

We’re probably not done discovering new fruits and foods and new ways to cook them. There are the bright red kicilcik fruit, whose taste is tart, sweet, and unique, and there’s the green-skinned mandarin orange, with its delicate, almost flavorless taste. We’ve soaked dried peaches with raspberries for our morning oatmeal, and put fresh baby okra into our chicken stew. We also like the folded up pasta dish Manti and the thin walnut noodle known as köy erışteşi.

We could and probably will go on and on. It’s going to take us a while to get through all the new foods. If we have to finish our plates before we come home, we will be a while, folks.