Market Madness

The local food markets here in Türkiye have made shopping for food exciting again. After years of feeding my family, I began to dread trips to the supermarket—been there, done that, and now most days I’m over it. But these Turkish food markets have put a fresh spin on shopping days.


Unlike Instanbul’s famous spice market with dazzling piles of colors and textures laid out in fastidious compartmentalized rows, these local markets are built on folding tables, where blue plastic tablecloths are hastily spread across and fresh produce is piled up in giant heaps. These markets and bazaars aren’t set up to lure in tourists, this is where the locals shop. It’s the heart of real Turkish shopping.


My first taste of these awesome local markets was just a couple weeks ago when Karen and I lugged our shopping trolleys two miles through Didim’s bustling streets to haggle over the produce there. Once we reached the market, we were surrounded by the cacophony of vendors shouting out their goods and prices and locals haggling for the best deals. We wandered past mountains of artichokes, tables turned into fields of fresh strawberries, mounds of onions, chartreuse piles of oranges, jars of golden honey, tubs of olives, fresh pressed olive oils, and fragile eggs nestled precariously in baggies. 


Without speaking the language, somehow we bargained for this, haggled over that, got some great deals on some things and bought way too much of other things because we didn’t know the Turkish word for “stop!” One woman kept throwing more oranges onto the scale for Karen to buy—we didn’t know how to stop her. At another stall we got completely ignored amidst the throng of shopping women. Didim’s market was abuzz and felt like the floor of the stock exchange. It was mayhem and I was intoxicated by it all.


A week later, anchored off Bodrum, we headed over to their Thursday market, but this time we were a little more savvy. We got there early before the crowds descended into a thick mass. The sellers are proud of their offerings and often let you taste everything. We grunt about this, point at that, hold up fingers to gesture numbers, and taste everything we’ve never seen before.


And some of the time they’ll throw in a small handful of something extra for you to try.


We came away with a bounty; fresh baked bread, giant artichokes, local churned butter made in the vendor’s village, a giant sack of strange beans I’ve never seen before called “Tongues of Fire,” huge lemons, dirt crusted mushrooms, spicy olives, and a free handful of hot peppers. 


Back home grocery shopping was often a chore, but here in Türkiye, market days have become my new jam. 

Didim's Market

Bodrum's Market

A happy galley full of fresh bounty

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *